Regional Labour Migration as Adaptation to Climate Change: Options in the Pacific

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapterpeer-review


Challenges to the Pacific Islands’ long-term sustainability as habitable places under climatic changes are manifold, and the portrayal of some of them as ‘sinking islands’ has stimulated debate about the worst implications of climate change. In particular, climate change is now increasingly recognized as contributing to vulnerabilities that could generate migration and displacement in the region. This paper seeks to contribute to the emerging discourse on migration as adaptation to climate change by analysing opportunities for both temporary and permanent labour migration within the South Pacific region in this context. The paper will briefly outline both the particular climate change induced vulnerabilities faced by many of the region’s island nations, and the islands’ history of voluntary as well as forced migration, especially in relation to livelihood and resource threats. It will then give an outline of current labour migration arrangements with metropolitan neighbours, New Zealand and Australia, and analyse how these may or may not be relevant in the regional climate change context. Although acknowledging that labour migration as a response to climate change threats is not a panacea, the paper concludes by recommending frameworks that will enhance such migration in the region for the benefit of all stakeholders.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClimate Change and Migration: Rethinking Policies for Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction
EditorsMichelle Leighton, Xiaomeng Shen, Koko Warner
Place of PublicationBonn
PublisherThe United Nations University Press
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9783939923510
ISBN (Print)9783939923503
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

Name‘Studies of the University: Research, Counsel, Education’
PublisherUnited Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS)
ISSN (Print)1816-1154


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