Climate-induced relocation: a first for Fiji

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Julia Edwards, mission partner in Fiji serving the Pacific Conference of Churches and the Methodist Church in Fiji on climate change and land issues, writes to us about the Fiji relocation policy:

"The final deal announced at the recent Conference of the Parties (COP 18) climate talks in Doha, called the 'Doha Climate Gateway', has received mixed responses.   Many have criticised yet another UN climate negotiations that has ended with only limited progress and no urgency to its timeframes. 

Somewhat unexpectedly, however, a new issue of compensation for future climate-change impacts in developing countries emerged during the second week of negotiations.  Discussions on the highly-sensitive topic, termed "loss and damage", resulted in agreement for a programme of further work and resolution at the next Conference of the Parties (COP 19).  Welcome news indeed, especially as 'patterns of migration, displacement and human mobility from climate change' were among the issues highlighted for upcoming investigation (7 vi).

But climate change is already having profound and direct impacts on people's lives, livelihoods and health and climate-induced relocation is happening today.  Two villages in Fiji are relocating currently because of climate change, and many more Pacific communities are looking to move in the near future.  While politicians, their representatives and other special negotiators have the luxury of time, few people in countries particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change can wait for a conclusion to the international debate..."

Read the rest of the Julia's letter here.

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