International Business Times: Kiribati Climate Change Relocation Refugee Crisis?Posted on Nov 5, 2015 in Featured, slider
Kiribati Climate Change Relocation Refugee Crisis? Sinking Low-Lying Island Nations In Pacific, Indian Oceans Seeking Solutions Before It’s Too Late
October 11 2015 8:10 AM EDT
Even though battling climate change was added as one of the new sustainable-development goals during the recent session of the United Nations General Assembly, the organization’s definition of a refugee has remained focused on people escaping persecution, excluding climate change as a factor. But sea levels have continued to rise around the globe — a phenomenon scientists have attributed in part to climate change — and representatives of several low-lying island countries in the Pacific and Indian oceans, including Kiribati, have been meeting this weekend to discuss options for relocating their populations and finding the financial resources to do it.
While conflict and wars in the Middle East and North Africa have largely driven the current refugee crisis in Europe, experts have indicated a burgeoning global migration movement could be in play with coastal cities and countries especially susceptible to the effects of climate change.
“It’s only set to get worse,” said Maxine Burkett, an associate professor of law who focuses on climate change at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s William S. Richardson School of Law. She said the compounded effect of all factors were important. “In the next generation or two, it’s possible the majority of the island [of Kiribati] will have to be evacuated.”