Peninsula Principles highlighted in Bangladesh’s national strategy for disaster and climate induced internal displacement

2 December 2015

The Peninsula Principles have been instrumental in defining the scope and direction of Bangladesh’s National Strategy for Disaster and Climate Induced Internal Displacement. Their importance to high level policies such as these demonstrates their growing global influence and relevance.

Recent estimates cited in this Strategy suggest that, by 2050, one in every seven people in Bangladesh will be displaced by climate change. The estimates of Bangladesh’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centres show that 4.7 million people were displaced due to disaster between 2008 and 2014. By 2080, it is likely that 13 percent of Bangadesh’s coast will have been swallowed by rising sea levels. The potentially positive impact the Peninsula Principles can have on millions of lives is only growing as those displaced by climate change face multiple human rights challenges. A Displacement Solutions study used in this strategic document found that the primary reason for displacement in Bangladesh was the increasing tidal water height, with cyclones and storm surges being secondary. 

Click here to read the Strategy. 

French version of Peninsula Principles available in time for Paris talks

13 November 2015

With the world’s attention focused on upcoming climate talks in Paris, the influential Peninsula Principles drafted by DS Director Scott Leckie and others are now available in French. Click here to read them!

Peninsula Principles - French- Cover

DS Press Conference

14 October 2015

Press Conference hosted by Director Scott Leckie in Geneva, speaking about the application of the Peninsula Principles, the Paris climate negotiations and more.

Report released on DS mission to examine a relocation project in Gramalote, Colombia.

24 August 2015

In March 2015, a fact-finding mission from Displacement Solutions visited Colombia to examine a recent situation of climate change displacement and relocation.

Climate Displacement and Planned Relocation in Colombia: The Case of Gramalote details the tragedy of the people of Gramalote, a town in northeastern Colombia, which was completely destroyed by extreme flooding and landslides during “La Niña” in December 2010, leaving thousands homeless. Some 3,300 people were evacuated after the disaster and to this day are living as displaced people in temporary accommodation nearby.

Following the disaster, the government of Colombia commenced a far-reaching process to relocate and rebuild the town of Gramalote, in the words of the President “better than ever before”. The report examines the status of the relocation process almost five years later. It also explores the application of the 2013 Peninsula Principles on Climate Displacement Within States to the situation in Colombia. The document is available in English and Spanish and can be accessed here.

Cover - Climate Displacement and Planned Relocation in Colombia


24 August 2015

Our book Repairing Domestic Climate Displacement: The Peninsula Principles is now available from Routledge. Edited by DS Director Scott Leckie and long-time DS associate Chris Huggins, the ten chapter edited volume brings together chapters by many leading experts on the question of climate displacement. The book analyses in detail each of the 18 principles comprising the Peninsula Principles, and explores how the perspectives taken within this normative framework can be used as a basis for repairing climate displacement within States. An order form and further description of the book are available here.


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New Report on the Planned Relocation of the Gardi Sugdub community in Gunayala, Panama

31 July 2015

In April 2015, Displacement Solutions conducted a second mission to the Gunayala region of Panama to follow-up on its previous visit to the region in March 2014 to investigate how sea level rise was affecting Guna communities on islands off the Caribbean coast. As a result of lack of space, coupled with the impact of sea level rise caused by climate change, many of these island communities wish to relocate to the mainland. In the case of the 1000-strong island community of Gardi Sugdub, the relocation process was initiated in 2010. DS is working closely with the Gunayala people to ensure the best possible outcome emerges from their unfortunate need to relocate to safer land. 

The purpose of this second visit was threefold. First, to monitor progress in the relocation of the Gardi Sugdub islanders to the mainland, and the latest action that the Panamanian government is planning for the site where the community plans to relocate. Second, to continue assisting the Guna people in their advocacy with government officials and international financial institutions to encourage greater support and involvement in the relocation process. Third, to organize two workshops on planned relocations, one on the island of Gardi Sugdub for community members, and the second one in Panama City for government officials.

Following the mission, DS has compiled a report entitled One Step at a Time: The Relocation Process of the Gardi Sugdub Community in Gunayala, Panama. The report examines the current state of the Gunayala planned relocation process, and explains DS’s involvement in liaising between the Gunayala community and the Panamanian government. Furthermore, the report explores the application of the Peninsula Principles in this case. The document can be accessed in English and Spanish.

Front Cover. One Step at a Time- the Relocation Process of the Gardi Sugdub Community In Gunayala, Panama

Report on Building Climate Resilience following Side Event at UN Human Rights Council

13 July 2015

On 18 March 2015, Displacement Solutions (DS) co-hosted a Side Event at the UN Human Rights Counsel on the application of the Peninsula Principles on Climate Displacement Within States to the issue of climate displacement and the associated human rights issues. Special thanks to long-time DS associate Khaled Hassine for organising this important meeting.

Following the event, DS has compiled a collection of statements from some of those involved, accessible here

Building Climate Resilience Front Cover

The event, which took place in the Palais des Nations at Geneva, was attended by some 60 participants, including three UN Human Rights Special Rapporteurs (the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons; the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities; staff to the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons) and State representatives from Bangladesh, Ecuador, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Panama, Philippines, Qatar and Sweden. The event was moderated by Tom Corsellis of the Shelter Centre. UNHCR, OCHA, the South Centre and other organisations also attended the gathering.

DS also launched an Easy to Read Version of the Peninsula Principles at the Side Event, which can be accessed here.


DS to Document Climate Displacement in Ontong Java, Solomon Islands

24 April 2015

Ontong Java, one of the world’s largest atolls, is located in the northern part of the Solomon Islands. Due to the affects of climate change and rising sea levels, it appears increasingly certain that the 2000 residents of Ontong Java face the very real prospect of leaving their beloved island home and moving to safer land on the larger island of Malaita which is over a 100km to the south.

DS will send a photographer to Ontong Java in June and July 2015 to document a portion of the last months or years that the people from the atoll will be able to call it their home. The mission’s aim is to meet with the residents, photograph aspects of their local culture and gauge the community’s opinions about possibly relocating to other parts of the Solomon Islands. Understanding the local culture is a vital prerequisite to formulating any planned relocation process. This is particularly true in this case of climate displacement, given the fact that the Polynesian residents of Ontong Java are most likely to move to relocation sites already identified on the Melanesian island of Malaita. DS will also aim to visit planned relocation sites on Malaita and examine their viability for hosting communities from Ontong Java.

In October 2015, DS plans to carry out a more comprehensinve research mission to the Solomon Islands looking at past cases of climate displacement in areas such as Lau Lagoon, visit areas likely to be relocated in coming years, and will work with communities and government to apply the Peninsula Principles on Climate Displacement Within States to the large-scale climate displacement relocation processes that are already underway in the country.

Ontong java

NASA picture of Ontong Java atoll, Solomon Islands [image via Wikimedia Commons]

Ontong java 1934

Map of Ontong Java [image via Wikimedia Commons]

DS completes successful mission to Gunayala Territories in Panama

24 April 2015

DS has just completed its latest mission to Panama where, due to the consequences of climate change and rising sea levels, more than 30,000 Gunayala people face displacement from their Caribbean island homes to the safer mainland. The two-person mission was carried out by internationally renowned resettlement expert Professor Anthony Oliver-Smith and Colombian human rights lawyer Carlos Arenas, working together with the Gunayala people in identifying ways in which the planned relocation process can protect their human rights and other interests in full.

During the mission, the DS team comprised of Anthony and Carlos met with key participants involved in the resettlement of the Gunayala community of Gardi Sugdub, including the Deputy Minister of Housing and the three Caciques of the Guna General Congress. DS ran a workshop in Panama City, as well as a workshop in Gardi Sugdub, discussing the application of the Peninsula Principles, the current relocation prospects of the Gunayala people, and the prevailing government views on the matter. DS continues to refine the application of the Peninsula Principles, and continues to encourage the government and the communities themselves to further expand their use of the Principles in identifying viable solutions to the plight of the Gunayala people.

A Spanish article which appeared in Mi Diario on 22 April 2015 which highlights DS’s work with the Gunayala people can be accessed here in Spanish.

Based on the findings of the mission, a new DS report will be released later in 2015, which will aim to identify particular policy and legal measures that could be undertaken to best ensure that the traditional mistakes often associated with relocation are avoided, and that best-case resettlement options are followed.

DS has been active in Panama for over a year now, and last year released The Peninsula Principles in Action: Climate Change and Displacement in the Autonomous Region of Gunayala, Panama, which presents the results of the initial fact-finding mission to assess the situation in the Gunayala indigenous community which was already experiencing the affects of climate change. The report is available here in English and here in Spanish.


Anthony Oliver-Smith with participants in the Gardi Sugdub workshop


Anthony Oliver-Smith speaking at the Panama City workshop


Three Caciques at the Guna General Congress


Traditional Guna women looking at a DS report after DS met with Gardi Sugdub’s diaspora in Panama City