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Environmentally Forced Migration
From PICS.
How many, where from, where too?
John Campbell
Department of Geography, Tourism and Environmental Planning
UNESCO/APMRN/School of Governance and Development Studies/FBE
Workshop on Climate Change Related Migration
24 May 2017
Global Context
Range of estimates
As RDB mentioned yesterday this is similar order of
magnitude to likely projected migrants. This
suggests CC will cause a doubling of migrant flows.
 Norman Myers (2002):
 50 million by 2010
 200 million ‘when global warming takes hold’
 Brown (2008)
 Good (B1 scenario) : increased migration of between 5 and 10 per cent
along existing routes
 Bad (A1B): dramatic increases in internal migration and international
migration
 Ugly (A1F1): predictions of 200 million people displaced by climate change
might easily be exceeded.
 IPCC doesn’t predict
 Under the SRES scenarios, the coastal population could grow from 1.2
billion people (in 1990) to 1.8 to 5.2 billion people by the 2080s, depending
on assumptions about migration (AR4, p. 317)
© THE UNIVERSITY OF WAIKATO • TE WHARE WANANGA O WAIKATO
24 May 2017
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How many and where from?
 Atolls
 Populations easiest to determine
 Not all atolls are the same
 Many ‘atolls’ are raised limestone islands of varying elevation
 Coasts
 Much more difficult to determine which coastal areas may be
impacted on higher islands
 Riverine areas
 River flooding most likely to be an issue in larger islands,
especially, but not confined to, the plate boundary islands
 Delta communities affected from both directions
 Drought prone areas
© THE UNIVERSITY OF WAIKATO • TE WHARE WANANGA O WAIKATO
24 May 2017
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Atolls
 204 atolls in the region (Pernetta, 1990)
 Total population 250-300,000
 4 political units entirely
comprised of atolls
(and in some cases
low-lying raised
limestone islands):




Marshall Islands
Kiribati
Tuvalu
Tokelau
While there is considerable
risk associated with atolls
their fate is not known with
absolute certainty.
© THE UNIVERSITY OF WAIKATO • TE WHARE WANANGA O WAIKATO
 8 others have atolls as
well as high islands:









24 May 2017
Papua New Guinea
Solomon Islands
New Caledonia
Federated States of
Micronesia
Palau
American Samoa
Cook Islands
French Polynesia
Tonga
4
Population Projections: Atoll Countries
2009: 165,313
2050: 240,000
180000
160000
140000
Projected Population
120000
100000
80000
RMI
60000
40000
Tuvalu
20000
0
2010
2015
2020
2025
2030
Year
2035
2040
2045
2050
Source of Data: SPC (2009)
© THE UNIVERSITY OF WAIKATO • TE WHARE WANANGA O WAIKATO
24 May 2017
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Coastal Communities
 Tendency toward coastal settlement patterns in
most PICs
 Exception: PNG high population densities in highland
interior
 Many (but not all) coastal communities on high
islands have rights to elevated land and can
relocate within customary territories
 Numerous delta communities especially in
Melanesia
© THE UNIVERSITY OF WAIKATO • TE WHARE WANANGA O WAIKATO
24 May 2017
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Non coastal communities: PNG
Highlands:
higher CPD
Lowlands:
low CPD
Outer Islands: moderate CPD
But … Highlands more prone to frosts/drought
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Where too?
 Internally
 Atolls → Capitals or High islands
 Coasts → Inland and up
 River flood plains → Up
 International
 Atoll countries → Pacific high island countries (3 precendents)
 Atoll countries and territory → (previous) Colonial countries and
freely associated ones*
 Australia, France, NZ*, UK, USA*
 Atoll countries → Pacific rim countries
 New Zealand, Australia, USA, others?
 Atoll countries → Any other takers
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International Relocation
 Only instances have been in the colonial era
 Gilbert and Ellis Islands to:
 Solomon Islands
 Kioa (Fiji)
 Rabi (Fiji)
 At the destination communities had to be:
 displaced (or had been previously displaced), or
 lose land to make way for relocatees.
➨ unresolved grievances
 Likely to be extremely difficult in the
independence era
© THE UNIVERSITY OF WAIKATO • TE WHARE WANANGA O WAIKATO
24 May, 2017
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Banaba to Rabi
 Banaba devastated
by phosphate
minning
 1945
 Post-war
 Southwest Pacific
High Commission
© THE UNIVERSITY OF WAIKATO • TE WHARE WANANGA O WAIKATO
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What
happened to
the original
people of
Rabi?
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In the news 2007 …
Relocated Fiji Villagers Want Rabi Island
Back
PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT
Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center, With Support From Center for
Pacific Islands Studies/University of Hawai‘i
SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, June 5 [2007]) – The traditional inhabitants of Rabi
Island who were relocated to Fiji’s third largest island of Taveuni after
World War II now want to reclaim Rabi.
The villagers, now living in Lovonivonu, have asked the Interim
Government to help them in their fight to get their island back.
Village spokesman Viliame Seru said the villagers have wanted to
return to Rabi for a long time and have gone as far Sydney, Australia
in search of evidence and legal advice on the matter.
Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com
RELOCATION OFTEN CREATES FESTERING WOUNDS
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For environmentally forced migrants
 There is no home to which to be repatriated.
 Though may be other places in the home country.
 But, how likely will third countries to be queuing
up as destinations:
 In 2007 according to UNHCR there were:
 11.39 million refugees*
 14 third countries accepted refugees for resettlement
 A total of 75,300
 0.66 per cent
* This figure includes Palestinian refugees that do not fall under the
auspices of UNHCR but excludes internally displaced people, asylum
seekers, etc., the number swells to little less than 30 million
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Reasons for environmentally forced
migration from PICs
 Loss of habitability
 Loss of land
 Loss of water security
 Loss of food security
 Loss of settlement security
 Repeated floods, storms and or droughts
}
or any
combination
thereof
 Possible scenarios
 Atolls become uninhabitable (erosion, water shortages, food shortages)
 Coastal locations become uninhabitable (erosion, increased
freq/magnitude of inundations)
 Riverine locations (especially deltas) become uninhabitable (increased
frequency / magnitude of floods)
 Inland areas become subjected to successive droughts of high magnitude
© THE UNIVERSITY OF WAIKATO • TE WHARE WANANGA O WAIKATO
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But … is migration good enough
 Individuals, families and groups migrate
 What happens when whole community is forced to
leave?
 Can it retain:
 Social cohesion
 Kinship relations
 Moral economy
 Visceral link to the land (land, which in the extreme case,
may no longer exist)
 My concern is: Can communities be relocated?
© THE UNIVERSITY OF WAIKATO • TE WHARE WANANGA O WAIKATO
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What is community relocation?
 Important to distinguish community relocation
from other concepts such as evacuation,
displacement, migration and environmental
refugee, although there is often some overlap in
the meanings of these notions.
 The definition adopted is ‘a process by which a
number of … people from one locale come to live
together in a different locale.’ (After Lieber, 1977:
343).
 Key element: community integrity maintained.
© THE UNIVERSITY OF WAIKATO • TE WHARE WANANGA O WAIKATO
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Key issues in community relocation in
PICs
 Importance of land
 At origin
 And destination (if in PICs)
 The role of colonial governments
 Enabled ‘international’ relocation
 Often decisions were made to suit colonial government rather
than the relocatees
 Ambrym to Epi (New Hebrides Condominium)
 Sense of loss
© THE UNIVERSITY OF WAIKATO • TE WHARE WANANGA O WAIKATO
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A note on land
 Just because a country has elevated land doesn’t
mean that land is freely available to those who
have no customary rights.
 Overlooked by many external observers concerned with
environmentally forced migration.
 May lead to increases in the numbers of internally
displaced persons (IDPs) in PICs.
 May lead to tensions among different groups
within PICs.
 May result in increased demand for international
migration / resettlement options.
© THE UNIVERSITY OF WAIKATO • TE WHARE WANANGA O WAIKATO
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Difficulty of relocation
Costs of Community Relocation
Unsuccessful Adaptation?
Beyond international border
Within nation but beyond island or province
Proximate beyond land boundaries
Proximate within customary lands
Distance from origin
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An atoll somewhere in Oceania
What’s left?
What community?
What culture?
What land/society relationship?
National
capital
ACCELERATED climate change may
present us with NEW problems that
Maybe even Australia
existing and historical experience simply
can’t explain
Suva
Auckland / Wellington
© THE UNIVERSITY OF WAIKATO • TE WHARE WANANGA O WAIKATO
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Conclusions
• Community relocation is extremely difficult
• Community relocation is extremely costly
 There are long term costs
Increase
with
distance
 Tensions over land do not recede
 Getting water up hill … forever
 Sense of loss
 International relocation will be extremely difficult if not
impossible
 Community disintegration
 Loss of culture
The idea that communities will be able to successfully adapt by
relocating cannot be used to allow countries to abrogate their
responsibilities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
© THE UNIVERSITY OF WAIKATO • TE WHARE WANANGA O WAIKATO
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Final Note
 A discourse of vulnerability has emerged about
islands and island countries.
 Natural hazards
 Climate change
 Economies
 But, at the community level there are tremendous
levels of resilience that have been evidenced over
centuries of radical change, although some may
be eroding.
 Nevertheless, it is critical that these resiliences
are not overlooked in planning for climate change.
© THE UNIVERSITY OF WAIKATO • TE WHARE WANANGA O WAIKATO
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Vinaka Vakalevu
WWW.WAIKATO.AC.NZ
© THE UNIVERSITY OF WAIKATO • TE WHARE WANANGA O WAIKATO
0800 WAIKATO
24 May 2017
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In our neighbourhood
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Current response to refugees
 UNHCR protects, assists and seeks durable
solutions for refugees. The three main solutions are
(i) voluntary repatriation to the home country;
(ii) local integration in the country of asylum; and
(iii) resettlement in a third country.
 Voluntary repatriation is generally considered as the
preferred option of the three.
Source UNHCR (2007)
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Category of forced displacement Total (millions)
Refugees under UNHCR mandate
Refugees under UNRWA mandate
Total number of refugees
Conflict-generated IDPs
Natural disaster IDPs
Total number of IDPs
Total number of refugees and IDPs
11.4
4.6
16.0
26.0
25.0
51.0
67.0
Refugees today
 Estimated Number of Asylum Seekers, Refugees and
Other of Concern to UNHCR, 1st Jan 2007
Asia
14,910,900
Africa
9,752,600
Europe
3,426,700
Latin America & Caribbean
1,143,100
Northern America
3,542,500
Oceania
TOTAL
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85,700
32,861,500
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The IPCC View:
Source: IPCC, AR4, p. 368
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‘International Migration’
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The only other comparison: Maldives
600,000
Projected population
500,000
400,000
300,000
200,000
100,000
0
2010
2015
2020
2025
2030
2035
2040
2045
Year
DataSource:http://www.maldivespartnershipforum.gov.mv/pdf/Population%20Projections.pdf
Crude Population Densities
2000
1500
1000
500
0
Kiribati
Marshall Islands
Tuvalu
Tokelau
Maldives