Climate change-induced migration in the Pacific region: sudden crisis and long-term developments

Justin T Locke, United Nations Development Programme

With so many other social, economic and environmental factors at work establishing linear, causative relationships between anthropogenic climate change and population dynamics it has been difficult to pinpoint the specific human consequences of climate change on respective populations. Through qualitative information based on personal testimonies and a descriptive analysis of (1) population records, (2) climate-change related impacts, and (3) consequences of uneven development in the Republic of Kiribati and Tuvalu, two low-lying atoll nations in the Pacific region taken as examples to illustrate the issues involved, there is strong evidence that the recent influx in population movements to urban central islands from rural outer-islands experienced in these countries is climate change-induced. Contributing to the crisis, internal migrants cannot be accommodated in their states of origin - putting pressure on local infrastructure and services. This has led to (1) a decline in Human Development Indicators and (2) a general livelihood decline.

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Presented in Session 224: Environment-induced migrants (2)