2 Oct 2015

Kiribati meeting to make plan for climate migrants

11:15 am on 2 October 2015

The small atoll countries in the Pacific and around the world are aiming to develop a plan on how to cope with people forced to move by climate change.

A high tide across Ejit Island in Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands on March 3, 2014, causing widespread flooding. Officials in the Marshall Islands blamed climate change for severe flooding in the Pacific nation's capital Majuro.

Flooding caused by huge spring tides which Marshall Islands officials have blamed on climate change. Photo: AFP

Kiribati will next week host a summit that will also involve the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, the Maldives, Tokelau and others, brought together under the aegis of the Prince Albert of Monaco Foundation.

The Kiribati Government says the 'High Level Meeting on Climate Induced Migration' is about the countries affected taking action.

The Kiribati Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Akka Rimon, says sea level rise is happening and becoming more severe, and the atoll states want to ensure climate induced migrants are catered for in a dignified way.

"And this is one of them, just getting together, getting the help of UN agencies who have also done some messages on this topic and then for them to say this is what is possible. This is how we can help and this is how you can help yourself."

Ms Rimon says citizens in the frontline climate change states are demanding to know how their governments will look after them.

"Because it concerns not only the integrity of our islands but the future of our people, and our children and how do we go about this if we are to inform our people of the future that we want to create for them. What do we do from now and I guess this is part of the gradual process of preparation."

High tides in Kili Island, Marshall Islands, February 2015.

High tides in Kili Island, Marshall Islands, February 2015. Photo: Kili/Bikini/Ejit Local Government Marshall Islands

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