22 Sep 2016

Tongan noble calls for clearer laws on climate migration

3:42 pm on 22 September 2016

A Tongan noble representative says there is a real need to clarify the legal framework surrounding climate change-induced migration.

Lord Fusitu'a was a panellist at an international meeting on migration in New York this week.

He said his main message was to implement ratifications on global climate agreements as soon as possible.

Lord Fusitu'a also said the Pacific needed to work on adaptability and climate policy to give people as much information and as many options as possible.

The MP said legal definitions around 'climate refugees' needed to be developed as well.

Lord Fusitu'a said the people of his Niua constituency were vulnerable to climate change and if they had to move there could be other challenges.

"It would not only have an effect on the people who had to migrate but the legal ramifications of Tonga no longer having a populous on that island or in that area would mean questions would be raised about our claim to that particular island and the borders of our EEZ or economic zone, because of that migration." he said.