Displacement Solutions (DS) is a not-for-profit international initiative, registered in Geneva, Switzerland, that has spearheaded global efforts to protect the housing, land and property rights of people and communities everywhere who face the reality or prospect of climate displacement.
The highly innovative and solution-oriented work by DS on displacement caused by natural disasters and climate change is designed to build resilience and bolster the implementation of the five areas for priority action within the Hyogo Framework for Action, and is carried out by the DS Climate Change Displacement Initiative (CCDI).
DS has a highly distinguished track record and has been actively involved in addressing the displacement consequences of climate change since 2007, and is now recognised as a vanguard and important voice in this field. DS is led by leading international human rights advocate, Scott Leckie.
The DS CCDI is guided by the visionary perspective that climate displaced persons everywhere are citizens and rights-holders and that they must, therefore, also be beneficiaries of the international human rights legal regime.
This is what motivates and drives the team at Displacement Solutions (DS) to seek concrete solutions to climate displacement wherever it may occur.
Over the past eight years, the CCDI has achieved numerous results:
Landmark Initiatives to Solve Climate Displacement:
DS has worked with a wide variety of civil society groups and governments on the issue of climate displacement, in countries including Australia, Bangladesh, Fiji, Kiribati, the Maldives, Myanmar, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Tuvalu and others, and maintains extensive governmental and grassroots contacts within each of these nations. DS has carried out field research on housing, land and property rights, issues of relocation and/or resettlement and on various themes linked to the displacement caused by the effects of climate change.
Preventative Land Acquisition:
DS was the first organisation to identify the fundamental importance of land to resolving climate displacement. The CCDI has engaged in advocacy efforts to identify land parcels for possible allocation to climate displaced communities and has commissioned research and formulated precise plans for land acquisition in many countries. For instance, in Bangladesh, together with our partners at the leading local NGO Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), the CCDI has identified ten land parcels which are suitable for hosting climate displaced communities in Chittagong district. In Papua New Guinea, the CCDI worked with local groups to attempt to secure land resources for climate-affected communities from the Cartertet Islands, including an effort to procure more than 7500 acres of prime land on Bougainville for these purposes. In Panama, the CCDI has worked with the Gunayala indigenous group to assist them in their efforts to relocate from islands that are increasing unable to sustain human settlements. In Fiji, the CCDI examined both villages under threat of coastal inundation and land sites purchased by the government of Kiribati as a possible long-term resettlement site.
Land Requirements to Fix Climate Displacement:
Highly original global research by the CCDI resulted in the first-ever global estimate of the total amount of land resources that may be required to sustainably repair climate displacement by ensuring access to new land resources by families and communities forced from their places of habitual residence. Depending on the ultimate scale of climate displacement and the size of land to be allocated to each household, the CCDI estimates that a low-level estimate of 1000sq m/household would require globally require 12.5m acres of land to repair climate displacement (equivalent in size to the territory of Costa Rica), while one acre/household would require 50m acres of land, which is equivalent to land territory the size of Uganda.
New Legal Standards Protecting Climate Displaced Persons:
As a central element of the CCDI, it guided a multi-year consultative global process that ultimately culminated in the approval by a group of eminent legal scholars in August 2013 of the Peninsula Principles on Climate Displacement Within States, which provides the world’s first consolidated normative framework on how governments can best assist climate affected communities in a manner consistent with human rights law and best practice.
Climate Change, Human Rights and the Law:
The DS Director and CCDI Coordinator, Scott Leckie, teaches the world’s first law school course on climate change and human rights at two of the world’s Top 50 Universities, the Australian National University and Melbourne University schools of law.
DS has produced more than one dozen landmark publications on various aspects of climate displacement, including a recent book on Land Solutions to Climate Displacement and a comprehensive mapping study on all government competencies in Bangladesh to address climate displacement.