12 Apr 2019

Pacific climate migration project underway

3:45 pm on 12 April 2019

The International Organisation for Migration in Fiji has begun a project to help Pacific governments strengthen human responses to climate related migration.

Programme Manager Sabira Coelho said the three year project will encourage regional dialogues on how to support displaced people.

Atoll nations are seeing an increased frequency in ocean inundations during high tides and storms. In this 2016 file photo of Majuro Atoll, a photographer stands ankle deep in water as ocean water floods over the island and onto the main road in the foreground.

Atoll nations are seeing an increased frequency in ocean inundations during high tides and storms. In this 2016 file photo of Majuro Atoll, a photographer stands ankle deep in water as ocean water floods over the island and onto the main road in the foreground. Photo: Hilary Hosia

She said the project will also impart skills to those people who are already chosing to move, so both they and their families at home can benefit.

"Looking at legal migration as a climate change adaptation and sustainable strategy. And that basically means that there are already a number of people within the Pacific who are using seasonal worker schemes or who are already using migration as the way to sort of offset loss in livelihoods at the household level," said Sabira Coelho.

Sabira Coelho said the project will also try to improve research to fill policy gaps for countries.

She said the trends show more people in the region are trying to cope with disaster related displacement and climate change issues such as sea level rise, salt water contamination and coastal erosion.

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