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Assessing the evidence: Migration, environment and climate change in Papua New Guinea
This national assessment report brings together available evidence on the climate change, environment and migration nexus in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The aim of the report is twofold, such that: (a) it maps the relationship between migration, environment and climate change by looking at human mobility due to environmental change; and (b) it examines the existing policy framework and offers guidance to include environmental migration in PNG’s national planning.
Case studies of Carteret and Manam islanders reflect government responses to human mobility induced by natural disasters, such as sea-level rise and volcanic eruption. The case studies reveal the sociopolitical dynamics of resettlement: (a) the interaction between traditional and formal authorities in preparing for and responding to disasters; (b) the relocation measures initiated by the national and local authorities of PNG and community organizations for protection of people displaced for environmental reasons; and (c) the local undercurrents between resettled and host communities.
While PNG experiences a significant number of displacements triggered by the changing environment and climate, there is no existing policy framework that specifically deals with people displaced by environmental conditions. As of 2015, human mobility due to environmental change is only addressed under the disaster risk reduction evacuation schemes. Based on the review of current policy framework, disaster-induced displacement should be incorporated into policies on disaster risk management, development and climate change adaptation in a holistic way. As potential environmental migrants will likely put additional pressure on urban services and urban management, a link between internal migration and urbanization should be established to mitigate adverse effects of rural-to-urban migration. The report offers a “policy toolkit” with suggestions of policy options and identified priorities.
This publication is one of six national assessments to be published under the MECLEP project.