Preparing Pacific Islands for Climate Change Refugees


Flashfloods in Samoa in 2012

By Julie Simati Fiu.

APIA, SAMOA – TUESDAY 17 OCTOBER 2017: Delegates from the Pacific islands are in Samoa this week sharing how each country can work together on protecting refugees in the Pacific due to climate change.

The Learning Integration Workshop is conducted by Rico Salcedo, the Regional Protection Officer for the United Nations Agency for Refugees and is the second of its kind for the Pacific island representatives.

The purpose of this programme is to be able to support island states in developing their own policies that relate to the protection of refugees and displaced peoples as a result of climate change.

“It is to support them develop their primacies and have them in place and response to them,” said Salcedo.

He also said that the policies they are working on in this programme involve having countries work together so they understand and learn what others needed.

Salcedo said this is the second group of participants they have from the Pacific countries but it is a first that Samoa has hosted.

“There are six Pacific countries and 17 participants who were in the first protection learning program and we have expanded into ten countries and there are twenty participants in the in the Samoa programme.”

“We bring everyone to share the experiences of what and each country can do,” he says.

Some of the Pacific islands delegates attending the Learning Integration Workshop on protecting refugees

Climate change refugees is a real issue for the Pacific islands such as Kiribati and Tuvalu that are in serious danger of being submerged and the impact on food and water security for their populations as sea level rise is already affecting them.