Future migrations from Tuvalu and Kiribati: exploring government, civil society and donor perceptions

Roy Smitha, Karen E. McNamarab
Taylor & Francis
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Across the world, different communities will be more or less able to adapt to the impacts of climate change based on their levels of exposure, access to a diversity of livelihood assets and adaptive capacity. Pacific communities are highly exposed to many of the projected impacts of climate change, which has garnered much media and government attention over the last decade. This article investigates how the government and non-government actors in Tuvalu and Kiribati, two low-lying Pacific nation-states, are responding to the challenges of climate change, particularly in relation to how they view migration as an adaptation ‘solution’. A brief contextual overview of terms such as ‘migration’ and ‘relocation’ indicates how they have only been used more recently at the multilateral level, most notably by the President of Kiribati. Building on a historical overview, interviews (n = 10) with government officials, and representatives from non-governmental organizations and donor agencies revealed that although each group had a sense of migration as a possible future scenario there were critical differences in how this issue was understood and represented.