Pacific Media Watch

27 May 2016

GLOBAL: Pacific 'climate migration' and 'adaptation' plea at world summit

Climate migration was discussed earlier this year by Auckland-based international refugee lawyer Michael Timmins who said "we need to be engaging and listening to people in the Pacific". Video: Radio Waatea/ TDB/ PMC

ISTANBUL (Reuters/PACNEWS/Pacific Media Watch): Tuvalu's Prime Minister has called for a United Nations resolution to create a legal and international framework to protect people who are displaced from impacts of climate change.

This was a theme of his address at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul this week.

Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga said 62,000 people everyday are displaced by the impacts of climate change, as reported by Reuters.

In an interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Sopoaga said it was time to start working out how to deal with communities that might have to be moved due to rising seas, water shortages and other threats to their homes.
“Under current international law, we don't have any framework to work from,” he told Reuters.
Currently the Refugee Convention does not cover people displaced across borders by environmental degradation or climate-related disasters, and more recent initiatives to address the problem are non-binding.

Adaptation a priority
Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama also made an address at the summit stressing the need for climate change adaptation funding in the Pacific.

According to PACNEWS, Bainimarama appealed to global leaders to give climate adaptation funding the overriding priority it deserves at the summit and in all the great forums of the world.

“Fiji comes to the World Humanitarian Summit with a plea to the global community to strengthen its response to the great humanitarian challenge of our age – the threat to hundreds of millions of people the world over from the rising sea levels and extreme weather events caused by climate change.
“We in the Pacific are among the most vulnerable – the looming prospect of vast tracts of arable land being lost to the seas and three entire countries sinking beneath the waves altogether.”

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