Saturday, December 09, 2017

Civil Society Summit Calls for International Action on Climate Migration

Campaign groups meeting in Suva, Fiji, urged recognition of climate change in the global compact for migration due to be negotiated in 2018.

The riverfront in Suva, Fiji (Picture Credit: Flickr/Michael Coghlan) Click to Enlarge.
Civil society leaders from more than 100 countries called for action on climate-induced displacement at a summit in Suva, Fiji, this week.

Their declaration urges the international community to uphold the human rights of people compelled to move as a result of global warming impacts.

Climate change should be recognised as a driver of migration in the global compact due to be negotiated by countries in 2018, say the campaign groups, which include Oxfam Pacific, and Act Alliance.

Danny Sriskandarajah, head of Civicus, the network convening the meeting, talked to Climate Home News by Skype from Suva.  Climate-related displacement is “marginal both to the climate change negotiations and to the human rights negotiations,” he said.

“We think there is a real gap here.  We know already there are people being displaced as a result of climate change and it is only going to get worse.”
In the Pacific sea level rise is already making some island communities unviable.  In 2014, Vunidogoloa in Fiji moved 2 kilometers inland, the first of 30 villages earmarked for relocation. Around 1,000 residents of Taro, in the Solomon Islands, are preparing to move.

Brianna Fruean, climate campaigner from Samoa, told Climate Home News even moving short distances was a wrench for islanders. “In the western world, it doesn’t seem like such a bad thing – you are moving from one neighborhood to another – but in a Pacific context it can be heartbreaking, because we are very tied to our land, to where our ancestors are buried,” she said.

That is partly why island campaigners have pushed strongly for a global warming limit of 1.5C: beyond that, low-lying coral atolls are set to be swallowed by rising seas.

Despite the adoption of 1.5C as an aspirational target in the Paris climate agreement, islanders are reluctantly preparing for the possibility of leaving their countries altogether.

Read more at Civil Society Summit Calls for International Action on Climate Migration

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