Nansen Initiative
Status of initiative: Completed
Description/achievement of initiative

It aims to set in place back-stopping measures that address the needs of people and communities who are displaced from the impacts of natural hazards and the adverse effects of climate change within, and across borders.To reach this goal technical assistance and capacity building can provide the basis to increase the required awareness from the community to the political level and complement and strengthen national adaptation policy. In the event that displacement occurs, government will have institutionalised safe-guard measures that protect people who are displaced and the receiving community, in addition to the realities of limiting the emotional and financial burden on redevelopment and economic growth.

Implementation methodologies

The partnership assistance is provided through the secondment of a Pacific islander employed as a SPREP staff based at the SPREP compound within the Climate Change Division to carry-out the work developed by SPREP and the Nansen Initiative.The position utilizes half its time to coordinate Nansen Initiative responsibilities with the remaining time dedicated to the climate change adaptation team to assist with implementation of activities within the region. The partnership provides the financial and technical support required to achieve deliverables.

Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer

Human Mobility, Natural Disasters and Climate Change in the Pacific Regional Consultation

Coordination mechanisms/governance structure

SPREP and the government of Norway have a formal understanding through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) executed by the Norwegian Refugee Council's (NRC) to provide support to the Nansen Initiative and further assistances to SPREP member countries on work related to climate change adaptation.


The Nansen Initiative: The Steering Group is composed of national governments who initiates, hosts, oversees and steers the Nansen Initiative process and is co-chaired by the Governments of Norway and Switzerland. Member states to the group include Australia, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Germany, Kenya, Mexico, and the Philippines in addition to the co-chair countries, Norway and Switzerland. Envoy of the Chairmanship of the Nansen Initiative is Professor Walter Kaelin who is the official representative throughout the process, and provides strategic guidance and input. The Secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland. Atle Solberg is the Head of the Nansen Initiative Secretariat Consultative Committee is represented by experts from international organisations, research institutions, academia, and non-governmental organisations. These representatives provide specialised advice in the areas of displacement and migration, humanitarian affairs, disaster risk reduction and management, climate change, and development. Group of Friends consists of countries and regional organisations interested in active partnerships with the Nansen Initiative within the area of disaster-induced cross-border displacement. It is an open group to countries and regional organisation that: - Have a proactive interest in the issue of external displacement due to natural hazards and/or climate change, - Are supportive of the Nansen Initiative, - Would like to follow the Initiative's work closely, and - Would like to make comments, proposals, and contributions to the work of the Initiative. Members of the Group of Friends of Nansen Initiative will: - Receive information on the activities of the Nansen Initiative on a regular basis. - Receive relevant Nansen Initiative documentation (reports, studies, etc.). - Be invited to meetings, including the regional consultations. - Be called upon, where appropriate, to cooperate with the Nansen Initiative on specific issues. - Be able to make submissions to the Nansen Initiative. The Group of Friends is autonomous in nature with an internally selected coordinator. The coordinator is supported by the Nansen Initiative Secretariat.
Conduct and publish a series of regional studies based on existing policies to inform potential recommendations to strengthen gaps on displacement in the context of environment disasters and climate change
To complete regional consultations like the Pacific meeting hosted by the Government of the Cook Islands, in Rarotonga, for Central America (completed), the Horn of Africa, South East Asia, and South Asia.
To host a global governmental conference with the aim to build consensus that forges a global agreement to address the protection and needs of people displaced across borders within the contexts of natural hazards and the adverse effects of climate change.
Resources devoted to implementation
Staff / Technical expertise
Currently the Nansen Initiative, with the support of SPREP has a seconded staff member based at SPREP who coordinates Nansen Initiative activities within the Pacific Region and provides assistance with the implementation of SPREP climate change adaptation
Progress reports
Cut off date each year: 1 July
This initiative fulfils the SMART criteria.
Date of completion: 24 May, 2014
Operating in countries
Contact information/focal point(s)
Ewan Cameron, ewanc@sprep.org

Copyright 2017 United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs