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.
Policy Brief No 33 - February, 2019
In Pacific Island Countries, the planned relocation of island communities affected by climate change is increasingly being discussed as an adaptation measure of last resort. While some planning is proceeding, there is as yet little actual resettlement activity. However, this is set to change in the not-too-distant future. This Policy Brief presents one prominent case of resettlement – relocation from the Carterets atoll, part of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, to the main island of Bougainville.
Policy Brief No 29 - November, 2018
“Climate-induced migration” is often perceived as potentially leading to political instability and violence, and thus, as critical. Oceania is considered a prime example for this assumed linear causality, since sea level rise and other effects of anthropogenic climate change are threatening to displace large numbers of people in the region. The policy brief scrutinises this perception by critically engaging with the securitization of climate-induced migration in the Pacific region, with a particular interest in who defines what a crisis is, when and where. Its central claim is that without contextualised knowledge of the relevant power structures which determine a) who defines what can be considered a (migration) crisis, b) how human mobility challenges pre-established ideas of citizenship, belonging and national identity, and c) how climate change figures in these topical fields and political processes, we cannot fully understand the potential effects of climate-induced migration.