Download the full workshop report here.
Countries of the Great Lakes Region and East Africa are susceptible to both sudden and slow-onset natural disasters. Moreover, projections of the effects of climate change predict an increase in both the frequency and intensity of natural disasters in the region. Past disasters have demonstrated that the most successful disaster responses, from both governments and humanitarian actors, are based on a rights-based approach. In an effort to raise awareness and generate recommendations for this issue, the ‘Workshop on Protecting and Promoting Rights in Natural Disasters in the Great Lakes Region and East Africa’ was jointly organized by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement in Kampala, Uganda, from June 16-17, 2011.
Over the course of two days, key players in the field of humanitarian assistance and protection, including government representatives responsible for disaster relief and disaster risk reduction, key UN actors and international NGOs, Red Cross/Red Crescent society representatives and other officials from the Great Lakes Region and East Africa, came together to discuss increasing the capacity of actors to incorporate human rights issues and protection in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from natural disasters. Chaloka Beyani (UN Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons and co-director of the Brookings-LSE Project on IDPs) participated in the conference as did Elizabeth Ferris (co-director of the Brookings-LSE Project on IDPs) and Daniel Petz (Senior Research Assistant on Natural Disasters, Brookings-LSE Project on IDPs).
The workshop focused on the following specific objectives:
Increasing awareness of the protection challenges that exist in natural disasters and of activities that promote the rights of disaster-affected people;
- Clarifying the role of governments and humanitarian actors in protection when natural disasters occur;
- Increasing awareness of the IASC Operational Guidelines on the Protection of Persons in Situations of Natural Disasters and the IASC Framework on Durable Solutions and how they can be applied in the Great Lakes Region and East Africa;
Increasing awareness of good practices for monitoring humanitarian responses in natural disasters at the regional, national and local levels; and
Generating specific recommendations to strengthen policy and action for rights protection at the local, national and regional levels.