The French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, says there is a need to get the concept of climate refugees internationally recognised.
Mr Kouchner says in the face of climate change and rising sea levels, urgent action is needed that will require everybody to make changes.
Speaking on New Caledonian television after meeting Pacific island leaders, Mr Kouchner pointed to new challenges.
"Climate refugee is a notion that doesn't exist yet. One has to first accept this and that is the subject of a meeting organised by the former UN secretary general Kofi Annan in Geneva. In international documents climate refugees don't exist and there is a need for preventative action."