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Trade agreements, labour mobility and climate change in the Pacific Islands

Weber, Eberhard (2016) Trade agreements, labour mobility and climate change in the Pacific Islands. Regional Environmental Change, online . pp. 1-16. ISSN 1436-3798

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The risks, pressures and threats on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the Pacific from climate change are often perceived by outsiders as overwhelming, both what is visible already now and what is predicted for the future. Particularly low-lying atoll countries are at risk of becoming uninhabitable. People in these islands may have to prepare for a life away from their homes and migrate to places where survival is feasible and where life in dignity is possible. The removal of obstacles to the mobility of people has been seen as an important step to economic and social development. Mobility helps to balance labour shortages, transfer skills and generate remittances. Successful mobility helps also to adapt to climate risks. Moving away means much more than just finding a country and a piece of land where one can settle. Livelihood, legal and social recognition and integration relate to dignity. From the perspective of receiving countries greater acceptance depends on migrants’ skills and how easy they can integrate in labour markets and society. To facilitate this institutional changes as well as bi- and multilateral agreements are needed to enable concrete measures, but also to show political will and generate trust among the weakest in this challenge—the migrants. Recent negotiations concerning labour mobility, unskilled and skilled, temporary and permanent, do not relate directly to climate change adaptation. Favourable outcomes, however, can provide opportunities to SIDS in the Pacific that strengthen adaptive capacities.

Item Type: Journal Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Climate change, Pacific Islands, Labour migration
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Geography, Earth Science and Environment
Depositing User: Eberhard Weber
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2016 22:48
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2016 22:48

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