Policy Brief No 46 - September, 2019
The growth of urban populations in Pacific Island Countries is reflected in growing numbers of informal settlements with high levels of exposure and vulnerability to natural disasters. As urban populations grow and become increasingly dense, with large numbers living in informal settlements, the potential for major catastrophes is increasing. Despite this, most disaster risk management throughout the region still focuses on rural areas, reflecting historical practices and experience and some political preference for rural areas. There is a greater need in the region to develop measures that reduce people’s exposure to hazardous events in towns and cities, mostly by incorporating urban planning measures that discourage settlement in marginal and hazard-prone areas. This will be challenging given the complexity of land tenure arrangements throughout the region. It is also important that the root causes of people’s vulnerabilities are addressed, so that the processes by which they come to live in unsafe conditions can be understood and measures introduced to reduce people’s risks and losses. This policy brief focuses discussion on urban communities and concludes by outlining a number of activities which would contribute to reducing people’s exposure to hazardous events in Pacific Island towns and cities.
Declaration No 41 - May, 2019
In September 2018, the Toda Peace Institute and the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (University of Otago, New Zealand) conducted a workshop on “Climate Change and Conflict in the Pacific: Prevention, Management and the Enhancement of Community Resilience” in Auckland, New Zealand. Flowing from the debates and findings of that workshop, a draft of the ‘Toda Pacific Declaration on Climate Change, Conflict and Peace’ was elaborated and opened for comment. After an extensive and comprehensive process of discussion and several iterations of the draft, the Declaration was launched on 26 July 2019. The Declaration has been contributed to by many academics, policymakers, peacebuilding practitioners and civil society actors concerned about the challenges and potential conflict linkages posed by climatic uncertainty in the Pacific. In particular, Toda is grateful to the lead authors Volker Boege, John Campbell, Kevin Clements, Kirsten Davies and Upolo Luma Vaai.
Policy Brief No 37 - April, 2019
Over 90 per cent of land in Pacific Islands is held in a range of customary forms of communal ownership, belonging as much to past and future generations as it does to the present. In most cases it cannot be bought or sold although some countries have provisions for longterm leases. Land is a critical component of Pacific Island societies and in most places the people and their land are mutually constituted. One cannot be considered complete without the other. Climate change poses two broad problems in relation to this union. First, it may damage the land so that its ability to support its people is curtailed or even destroyed. This will not only have serious implications for the material security of the affected communities but may also affect their emotional and spiritual wellbeing. It is likely that many people will be induced or forced to leave their ancestral lands and find new homes. Second, relocation and resettlement of individual families, and in some cases whole communities, will require new land to be found, a task that will be made difficult because other communities are unable to sell or give their land away. Where there has been significant in-migration to areas in the region, tensions and conflict have often arisen, frequently with land as a significant underlying issue. Finding durable solutions for climate change migrants is likely to be a critical issue in the future.
Policy Brief No 36 - March, 2019
This paper considers the conflict impacts of climate change and outlines potential opportunities for peacebuilding in Solomon Islands, a small independent state in the region of Oceania. Climate change is not viewed here as a standalone issue but as an embedded dimension of contemporary environmental, political, social, economic, and cosmological/spiritual settings.
Policy Brief No 35 - March, 2019
The ‘perfect storm’ is brewing as Vanuatu’s population grows and its exposure to climate risks escalates as the planet continues to warm. It is widely accepted that the consequences of climate change are disproportionately burdening vulnerable, developing states, such as those across the South Pacific region.