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Climate Change and Conflict Policy Brief  No.33 - February, 2019

Climate Change-Induced Relocation: Problems and Achievements—the Carterets Case

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. The paper focuses on the Carterets Integrated Relocation Programme and Tulele Peisa (‘Sailing the waves on our own’), the NGO implementing the programme. This case encompasses a broad range of issues that will be of relevance for future relocation endeavours elsewhere in the region, for example: relations between settlers and host communities, relations between state institutions and civil society, the complexities of the land issue, and the link between local agency and external support. Communities, practitioners, policymakers, civil society organisations and international stakeholders will be well advised to heed the lessons learned from the Carterets case.