17 Aug 2008

Australia, NZ urged to cater for climate change refugees

12:00 pm on 17 August 2008

There has been an urgent call for Australia and New Zealand to tailor their immigration programs to help Pacific Islanders displaced by climate change.

The ABC reports over 100 Non Government Organisations from the Asia-Pacific region have sent a letter to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark ahead of this week's Pacific Islands Leadership Forum.

The leaders will discuss climate change at a meeting in New Zealand on Monday before the Forum on Tuesday.

The letter calls for reduced carbon emissions, resources for resettlement and increased permanent migration.

Damien Lawson from Friends of the Earth Australia says Australia needs to introduce a new category of migration to deal with those who are forced to resettle.

Mr Lawson says both countries need concrete plans for resettlement and migration.