Aid needed as Pacific coastlines vanish

The Green Party is calling on the Government to target aid towards Pacific Island communities forced to migrate because of rising seas, after a new study revealed that the Solomon Islands are already being significantly affected by climate-related sea-level rise. 

The Green Party is calling on the Government to target aid towards Pacific Island communities forced to migrate because of rising seas, after a new study revealed that the Solomon Islands are already being significantly affected by climate-related sea-level rise.

 

The new study, published in the Environmental Research Letters journal, shows that rising seas caused by climate change have claimed five islands in the Solomon Islands, as well as destroying several villages. The analysis of 33 islands is based on time-series aerial and satellite imagery from 1947 to 2014.

 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (MFAT) aid programme in the Solomon Islands currently does not mention climate change or appear to provide any support for adapting to rising seas.

 

“It’s clear climate change is still not on this Government’s radar, despite rising seas flooding the homes of people in the Pacific,” said Green Party Pacific affairs spokesperson Marama Davidson.

 

“The Government needs to ring-fence funding to assist the migration of communities at risk of rising seas and coastal erosion. Even internal relocations are likely to be expensive and challenging exercises.

 

“People in the Solomon Islands are the least responsible for rising seas or for climate change. As a responsible global citizen, New Zealand should not leave them to bear the cost of resettlement on their own.

 

“The National Government has said that rising seas and forced migration is not a problem for today. But, when whole islands and villages are disappearing it’s clear National needs to wake up to the reality of climate change.

 

“New Zealand has an international responsibility under the Paris Climate agreement, which it just signed up to, to support developing countries adapt to the effects of climate change. We need to start living up to this responsibility,” said Ms Davidson.

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