22 Jul Fiji wraps up national consultations on climate related mobility
Suva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) co-hosted a virtual national consultation on climate related mobility in Fiji in coordination with the Climate Change and International Cooperation Division of the Ministry of Economy on 20 and 21 July. The consultation, held under the Pacific Climate Change Migration and Human Security (PCCM-HS) programme, brought together 40 government officials, civil society organizations and NGO’s to review the human security implications of climate change related migration, displacement and planned relocation, share experiences about how climate related mobility is impacting communities and talk towards the development of a regional based solution.
The consultations gathered participants from across Fiji in a multitude of various sectors to continue discussions that would support with the identification of Fiji’s position on climate related mobility, including exploring potential options at the national and regional level to ensure the protection of climate migrants.
Through this, the PCCMHS programme aims to ensure that Fiji’s national perspectives and experiences build towards and informs the development of a regional framework on climate change related migration, displacement and planned relocation. Moreover, the national consultations aim to cultivate a shared understanding and common approach to climate related mobility within Fiji and across the Pacific.
In opening, H.E Hon. Voreqe Bainimarma, Prime Minister of Fiji emphasized that the “Pacific Islands face the unique challenge of having to protect the lives, livelihood and dignity of people who are forced from their traditional homes by climate change. Whether it be internal movement or movement across borders, we need to consider the trauma of people leaving their homes, their source of livelihoods, their cultural heritage and more”. In addition, the Honourable Prime Minister, went further to add that “whilst we in Fiji have options available to us to relocate our affected communities internally, some of our low-lying neighbours do not have the same luxury. At the current rate of emission, the displacement of their people won’t be internal but external, across borders. I now see it as our moral imperative to support our blue Pacific family as they begin the necessary discussions on this sensitive matter.”
Day one of the consultations laid out the scientific projections on the impacts of climate change by the Fiji Meteorological Service and was followed by a comprehensive presentation by Fiji’s National Disaster Management Office on the impacts of climate related mobility on rural communities and lessons learnt from previous experiences pertaining to community relocations. Interestingly, participants also got the opportunity to receive informative data relating to internal migration and emigration that was captured in Fiji’s migration profile.
Day two of the consultations provided participants with a comprehensive overview of national level policy and legislation that is a starting point to address and support communities adversely impacted by climate related mobility. Participants also reviewed the regional policies and discussions, identifying existing opportunities for collective action towards a secure, peaceful, prosperous region.
During group exercise, participants spoke of the cascading issues that would arise in the context of climate change in the year 2050. Participants stressed on the need to better inform at risk communities and plan methodically for an increase in the number of community relocations driven by climate change and disasters. Moreover, attendees also spoke of the necessity to improve social structures that would seek to inform and support both displaced and host communities. Mr. Shivanal Kumar from the Climate Change and International Cooperation Division, Ministry of Economy, highlighted that the “Government of Fiji has developed Planned Relocation Guidelines to reduce the vulnerabilities of the most at risk communities. Planned relocation is one adaptation technique to be considered by the affected communities, only when all adaptation options have been exhausted.”
In his closing address, Mr. Solomon Kantha, IOM Chief of Mission in Fiji spoke of the “visionary plan towards developing a regional framework that addresses the issues of climate related mobility in the Pacific region by creating safe migration pathways for migrating communities, upholds the human rights of migrant communities in the Pacific and recognizes the need to preserve and respect cultural identity”.
Fiji is the second country under the PCCMHS programme after Nauru to complete its national consultations on climate related mobility as the programme continues to make progress towards concluding similar style dialogues in Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, Tonga, Kiribati, FSM, RMI, Vanuatu, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Palau. In a similar note, the PCCMHS programme seeks to capture the national perspectives in all 13 Pacific Island Countries to ensure that any regional response to climate mobility is grounded in the voices of the community and respects national interests.
The programme is led by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) alongside the International Labour Organization (ILO), Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD) and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS). The joint agency PCCMHS programme is funded by the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security and the New Zealand Foreign Aid Programme.For more information contact
Sabira Coelho, Programme Manager, PCCMHS at IOM Fiji. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Christopher Yee, Programme Specialist, PCCMHS at IOM Fiji. Email: email@example.com