Presentation on theme: "Migration and Climate Change in the Pacific Richard Bedford and Jenine Cooper Population Studies Centre University of Waikato, Hamilton UNESCO/APMRN/USP."— Presentation transcript:
Migration and Climate Change in the Pacific Richard Bedford and Jenine Cooper Population Studies Centre University of Waikato, Hamilton UNESCO/APMRN/USP Workshop on Climate Change Related Migration, 14-15 May, USP, Suva, Fiji
A point of departure In a recent report, Richard Black at al. (2008: 61) observed: “It is unclear how far climate change will emerge as a significant or predominant factor in influencing human migration distinct from other economic, social or political factors, and/or overriding their effect”. Black, R. Kniveton, D., Skeldon, R., Coppard, D., Murata, A. and Schmidt-Verkerk, K. (2008) Demographics and Climate Change: Future Trends and their Policy Implications for Migration. Working Paper T-27, Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty, Sussex.
A point of departure cont. They went on to observe: “This is perhaps reflected in the fact that the most widely-cited figure for climate change migrants over the coming years [150-200 million] is itself not greatly different from the net increase in migration that might be estimated simply be extrapolating existing futures holding migration as a constant percentage of population growth.” (Black et al. 2008: 61).
International vs internal flows Black et al. referring to international flows Estimates as high as 1 billion but these are wild guesses In Pacific most pop movement is internal Climate change induced migration will remain mainly internal except for countries with no high islands Less than 3 percent of region’s population living in atolls/reef island countries with no high islands The biggest driver of movement will remain search for work in towns
The real demographic challenge
13 Pacific mobility worlds Skills of out-migrants by out-migration rate
Six Pacifics in context of CCIM PNG, Solomons, Vanuatu Fiji, New Caledonia Tuvalu, Tokelau Other Polynesia Kiribati, Nauru, Marshalls Other Micronesia
Uncertain futures? Two extremes, a legacy and some options Western Melanesia: adjusting to climate change in rural settings. Dealing with changing temperatures, rainfall and incidence of severe storms Central Pacific: finding higher ground in and outside the region. Dealing with dying reefs, rising sea levels, drought, and more severe storms Legacies of past resettlement schemes: Tokelauans in New Zealand; I-Kiribati in Solomons and Fiji; Tuvaluans in Fiji. Learning from the past; anticipating the future
Our real challenge … Arguably the most contentious demographic issue confronting Australia and NZ in the Pacific during the next half century will be how to cope with pressure for an emigration outlet from Melanesia -- not dealing with the issue of resettlement of I-Kiribati and Tuvaluans in the face of global warming. Sustainable development in Melanesia will depend heavily on opportunities for young people to travel overseas for training and employment, just as development in Australia and New Zealand has depended heavily on the opportunities for their young people to travel and and gain skills, experience, qualifications and work overseas.