Historical archive

The Nansen principles on climate change and displacement

Historical archive

Published under: Stoltenberg's 2nd Government

Publisher Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Nansenconference in June gave some recommendations- the Nansen Principles - for the comming work at the climate summit in Durban and Rio + 20 in 2012.

The Nansenconference in June gave some recommendations - the Nansen Principles - for the comming work at the climate summit in Durban and Rio + 20 in 2012.

In connection with the Nansen–Amundsen Year in 2011, Foreign Minister Støre and Environment and Development Minister Solheim hosted an international high-level conference on climate change and displacement. The Nansen Conference on Climate Change and Displacement in the 21st Century was held in Oslo 6–7 June 2011 (http://www.nansenconference.no/).

More than 220 researchers, academics, politicians and representatives of the authorities, the UN and civil society organisations attended the conference. It brought together disciplines and groups of expertise that do not normally meet, namely experts on climate change, adaptation and mitigation, migration, humanitarian issues and international law. Among the most prominent participants were the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, the chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, and European Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva, who is responsible for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.

The main topic was the humanitarian consequences of climate change in the form of forced migration. An important goal was to establish a common understanding of the challenges related to climate displacement. It is important to distinguish between sudden and slow onset crises, and between internal and external displacement. The participants discussed how legal protection could be given to environmentally displaced persons today and in the future without undermining the institution of asylum that is enshrined in the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. They also discussed what states and organisations can do to prevent displacement, for example through climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction and early warning, and how the humanitarian response system can better meet these challenges.

The conference was chaired by Margareta Wahlström, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction. She was assisted by Harald Dovland, former climate negotiator for Norway. A chair’s summary has been produced with recommendations in the form of “Nansen principles” for follow up in various forums such as UNHCR, the climate summit in Durban and Rio + 20 in 2012 (lenke til dokumentet).

A summary has also been written by the International Institute for Sustainable Development and all the statements and presentations have been recorded.

The conference was the Government’s most important contribution to the commemoration of Nansen the humanist in connection with the Nansen–Amundsen Year. It also formed part of the 60th and 50th anniversary of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness respectively. These anniversaries will be commemorated by UNHCR, for example with a ministerial meeting on new trends and protection gaps.

The Norwegian Refugee Council and the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO) provided assistance and advice in connection with the conference.

See the conference programme and background information.

In parallel with the Nansen Conference, another conference on the same theme was held for Norwegian young people. This took place at the Development House in Oslo, and was organised by the Norwegian Refugee Council, Nature & Youth and Norwegian Red Cross Youth.

Read the statement from the youth conference.