Monday 16 Jul 2018 | 20:40 | SYDNEY
Monday 16 Jul 2018 | 20:40 | SYDNEY

Climate refugees


Fergus Hanson


3 February 2009 09:05

CNN carries a photo essay from the Tuvalu Overview project. The project, run with Japanese assistance, aims to highlight the plight of the tiny island and the impact of climate change by photographing and documenting the stories of all 10,000 inhabitants. It raises the wider question about what will happen to the people of low lying Pacific countries situated to the east of Australia. New Zealand has begun accepting a small number of Tuvaluans; Australia's contingency planning seems to be at a very early stage.

There are other islands in the Pacific that face similar problems — Kiribati is also low lying and the micro state of Nauru faces serious issues of long term viability. Someone is probably going to have to accept the Kiribati and Tuvaluan climate refugees at some point. The real question is what is the best way to go about this? In a submission to a Senate Committee looking at Pacific issues, Jenny and I suggest a way to manage this process that minimises costs to Australia. A managed migration program through a mix of educational and employment opportunities is a good place to start.