Today’s truths: What decision-makers need to know about human mobility and climate change

19 October 2021, 9:30-10:30am AEDT

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Climate change is already a driver of human displacement, all over the world. What are we doing about it - in international and local contexts? What should we be doing? With politics at play, does US President Biden’s focus on the issue change the state of play globally? In this panel, experts set out the critical questions and the principles that should guide the answers. Join them in the lead up to the global climate change talks in Glasgow to consider how environmental displacement is challenging us individually, nationally and internationally.


Ambassador Rabab Fatima

Bangladesh Ambassador & Permanent Representative to the United Nations, New York


Ambassador Rabab Fatima, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations, presented her credentials to the UN Secretary-General on 6 December 2019. Ambassador Fatima is a career diplomat and joined the Bangladesh Foreign Service in 1989. She has served in various Bangladesh missions including in Kolkata, Geneva and Beijing. She served in lien with the Commonwealth Secretariat, London, as Head of Human Rights; and with the International Organization for Migration as the Regional Representative for South Asia; and as the Regional Adviser for South and Southwest Asia & Regional Adviser for Climate Change and Migration in IOM’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. She served as the President of the UNICEF Executive Board in 2020. She is currently serving as the Vice President of the UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board. She is co-chairing the Intergovernmental Preparatory Committee for the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries to be held in January 2022 in Doha, Qatar. She received her MA in International Relations and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, and BA in Social Science from the University of Canberra.

Andrew Harper

Special Advisor on Climate Action to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees

@And_Harper @Refugees

Andrew Harper is the Special Advisor on Climate Action to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva. He is responsible for providing strategic guidance, oversight and expertise to shape UNHCR's response to the climate emergency. Previously, he was the Director of UNHCR’s Division of Programme Support & Management, where he oversaw programme policy, planning and management, as well as technical support to field operations. Andrew has led the UNHCR Innovation Service and was responsible for leading and coordinating the international response to the Syrian Crisis in Jordan. Some of the main achievements included responding to, at the time, the largest refugee crisis in the world, the establishment of the Zaatari and Azraq refugee camps, introducing biometric registration and linking that to the world’s largest biometric based refugee cash assistance programme. Andrew also served as the UNHCR Head of Desk covering the Iraq Situation, as well as the Emergency Focal Point for the Middle East and North Africa region for the Libyan Crisis. He has previously worked for the Australian Embassy in Turkey and UNOCHA, and in various field locations with UNHCR, including Central and Southeast Asia, the Western Balkans, Islamic Republic of Iran and Ukraine.

Frances Namoumou

Pacific Conference of Churches


Frances Namoumou is the Ecumenical Animator for the Ecological Stewardship and Climate Justice Program, Pacific Conference of Churches. Since 2016, most of her work has been around the accompaniment the churches provide to communities  relocated due to climate change. Prior to this, she was involved in projects with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency Fiji in Disaster Management. She has a keen interest in climate justice and disaster management in the context of Pacific resilience. 

Nicole Shepardson

Policy Team Leader, U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration


Nicole Shepardson serves as Policy Team Leader and senior protection policy officer in the Office of Policy and Resource Planning in the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM).  Her team formulates U.S. humanitarian policy on cross-cutting issues affecting refugees, internally displaced persons, stateless persons, and vulnerable migrants, including protection, health, relief and development coherence, and civil-military coordination, among other issues.  In 2020, she worked as a legislative fellow on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  She has worked on U.S. emergency responses to humanitarian crises in Haiti, Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, and Libya, including temporary deployments to Jordan and Tunisia.  Prior to joining the State Department, Nicole worked on strategic planning at the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, on refugee livelihoods with the Trickle Up Program in Rwanda, and on international migration policy research at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.  She holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University.

Chair: Jane McAdam

Director, Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law

@profjmcadam @kaldorcentre

Jane McAdam is Scientia Professor of Law and Director of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW Sydney. She is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law. She publishes widely in international refugee law and forced migration, with a particular focus on climate change, disasters and displacement. She is joint Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Refugee Law, the leading journal in the field. She serves on a number of international committees, including the International Law Association’s Committee on International Law and Sea-Level Rise (as Co-Rapporteur until 2018); the Advisory Committee of the Platform on Disaster Displacement; the Technical Advisory Group for the Pacific Climate Change Migration and Human Security Programme; and the Advisory Council of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion. In 2017, she received the Calouste Gulbenkian Prize for Human Rights for her work on refugees and forced migration. In 2021, she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) 'for distinguished service to international refugee law, particularly to climate change and the displacement of people'.

Panel sponsor: Slater & Gordon

Image credit: IOM/Muse Mohammed