Safe Havens: Relocating SIDS Communities Threatened by Climate Change

Project objective
This project will investigate factors that affect outcomes for government- and NGO-sponsored relocation of communities deemed vulnerable to climate change impacts in Fiji. Two major outputs of this project will be creation of an online resource kit of materials, slides and websites to assist university faculty seeking to prepare classroom curricula on climate change-induced mobility, and a policy brief containing recommendations on community relocation.

Background
Migration and displacement around the world are on the rise, and one of the engines of this mobility is climate change, which contributes to rapid-onset natural disasters as well as slow-onset impacts such as chronic drought and desertification. Researchers have predicted that the number of climate-forced migrants worldwide may reach up to 200 million by 2050, while prolonged drought has already been implicated as a factor in recent migration crises in Africa, Western Europe and the US. Nowhere is climate change impacting households and communities more than in small island developing states (SIDS), where a rise in the frequency and magnitude of ocean storms, rising sea levels, salinity, erosion and other impacts are increasingly endangering the physical and economic security of coastal communities. Fiji is a leader in climate change adaptation in the South Pacific and is one of the first governments to systematically relocate vulnerable communities. This research will seek to identify challenges and considerations for successful relocation and share recommendations with SIDS governments by holding workshops in Fiji and disseminating an online policy brief. It will also provide university lecturers with online tertiary-level learning content on the emerging issue of climate change-induced mobility.

Project leader
Kyoto University

Project members
Hosei University
University of the South Pacific