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The Peninsula Principles in Action – Updates and Developments

The Peninsula Principles were adopted just over seven months ago. Since the 18th of August 2013, DS and many of its partners in states struggling against climate change and climate displacement have been actively pursuing a range of initiatives to transform the words of the Peninsula Principles into concrete actions on the ground.

Some of the highlights of the past 200 days of activity on the Peninsula Principles are listed below:

Applying the Peninsula Principles in Bangladesh

DS and its local partner YPSA, through the Bangladesh HLP Initiative, have been engaged in a range of activities in the country to promote the Peninsula Principles. YPSA recently translated the Peninsula Principles into Bengali and will be producing a publication to this effect in April 2014; the Principles have been widely discussed on national television, radio and printed media in Bangladesh; and copies of the Principles have been officially provided to the entire political leadership of the country. In addition, the joint DS-YPSA 142-page mapping study entitled Climate Displacement in Bangladesh: Stakeholders, Laws and Policies – Mapping the Existing Institutional Framework was recently completed. This innovative report is the first in Bangladesh to outline in detail every official institution in the Bangladeshi government structure that has responsibilities and competencies to grapple with the climate displacement challenges facing the country. DS will be carrying out a high-level mission to Bangladesh in late 2014 to further promote the application of the Peninsula Principles as a tool to help resolve climate displacement in the country.

DS Mission to Panama to Apply the Peninsula Principles on the Ground

DS will shortly be carrying out an in-depth mission in the Gunayala territory in eastern Panama to look into how the Peninsula Principles can assist in improving the planned relocation of several thousand Gunayala Indians from islands in the Caribbean to the mainland. Several training sessions on the application of the Peninsula Principles will be provided to Gunayala communities during the mission. During these training sessions, participants will be provided with the new Spanish translation made of the Peninsula Principles. DS plans to continue to build its relationships with the Gunayala people to ensure that their rights are respected throughout the entire planned relocation process.

New Research on Judicial Approaches to Climate Displacement

Using the Peninsula Principles as a normative framework, DS has recently commenced research into the question of how judges and lawyers throughout the world have already begun to address the issue of climate displacement within courtrooms. DS experts and a leading Supreme Court Justice from Australia are working to analyse all existing jurisprudence at the local, national, regional and international levels, that have addressed in any way the rights of those affected by climate displacement. A report and detailed recommendations on these questions will be released in early 2015.

The DS Where Will They Go? Exhibition

Building on the key theme of the Peninsula Principles – that of new land for lost land and new homes for lost homes – DS and World Press Photo Award-winning international photo journalist Kadir van Lohuizen will be assembling a traveling exhibition of photos, films and other multimedia presentations depicting a series of locations throughout the world to which climate-displaced persons are already beginning to move. The exhibition will be modeled on van Lohuizen’s Via-Panam exhibition, and will provide visitors with graphic evidence of the scale and ferocity of climate displacement throughout the world.

New Book Entitled Land Solutions to Climate Displacement to be Published in May 2014

DS Director Scott Leckie’s next book will be published by Routeledge in May 2014. Land Solutions to Climate Displacement contains 13 original chapters written by Leckie and a series of other leading climate displacement experts from a range of different countries, and explores not only the phenomenon of climate displacement but more importantly how this global crisis can be practically resolved. The book provides a series of detailed recommendations on how to address climate displacement, and contains an annex wherein the Peninsula Principles are outlined in full.

New Edited Volume on the Peninsula Principles Planned

DS has commissioned 10 expert papers that will each constitute chapters in a forthcoming volume on the Peninsula Principles. The book will examine in detail the history of the Peninsula Principles, each of the provisions of the document, and provide a one-stop-shop for all information one might wish to access about how the Peninsula Principles can be used in a practical way. DS is currently in negotiation with several publishers and hopes to have the book available to the public by mid-2015.

Planned Peninsula Principles Country Missions

Human rights texts – both those classified as hard law and soft law – can only ever be as effective as their contents if they are actually used in real life situations. The same applies with the Peninsula Principles On Climate Displacement Within StatesWith a view to operationalising the Peninsula Principles, DS is planning a series of field missions to particularly heavily affected areas to determine the extent to which the sentiments of the Principles are already in place, and to assist in making the Principles official policy where that is not yet the case. As a result, DS will coordinate and host field missions to the Solomon Islands, The Torres Strait Islands, Tuvalu, and the U.S. state of Alaska later in 2014.

Peninsula Principles for all – now available in English, Spanish and Bengali

DS is very grateful to YPSA for its professional translation of the Peninsula Principles into Bengali, and to Columbian human rights lawyer Carlos Arenas for his excellent translation of the Principles into Spanish. Both of these translations will be available shortly on the DS website. DS hopes to have translations available by the end of 2014 in French, Chinese and Pidgin. If you can assist DS in translating the Principles into additional languages, we would appreciate your assistance in this regard.

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