Lessons From Contemporary Resettlement in the South Pacific
Columbia Journal of International Affairs, Spring/Summer 2015, Vol. 68, No. 2
18 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2019
Date Written: 2015
Depending on the scale and distance of migration, a variety of challenges face both those moving because of climate impacts and the communities receiving these migrants. The lessons drawn from resettlements and planned relocations thus far — most notably in the Carteret Islands of Papua New Guinea — underscore the importance of adequate funding, careful planning, restoring traditional livelihoods, and ensuring voluntary community participation throughout the entire process. Critical hurdles persist, however, particularly for the most vulnerable communities within nation-states. This article explores the importance of adequate funding and identifies the dangerous and nagging impediments present, even as climate-induced migration advances in the adaptation discourse. With a focus on the Carteret Islanders’ ongoing relocation and resettlement to the island of Bougainville, this article argues that communities may face economic development and political gaps. Economic development gaps inhibit communities’ abilities to address redevelopment needs that elude appropriate classification for funding because they are neither strictly “climate” nor “development” categories. Additionally, political gaps exacerbate the challenges of accessing existing funding for local communities that are at odds with the national governments that purportedly represent their interests. These gaps compound the general lack of adequate funding for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Considering models for a new framework, this article explores the applicability of existing community-oriented funding regimes to address the political and economic development challenges that climate migrants face.
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