Relocation

The science is clear - climate change threatens the long-term survival of Kiribati. As such, the Kiribati Government acknowledges that relocation of our people may be inevitable. It would be irresponsible to acknowledge this reality and not do anything to prepare our community for eventual migration in circumstances that permit them to migrate with dignity. That said, relocation will always be viewed as an option of last resort. We will do all that we can to preserve Kiribati as a sovereign and habitable entity. At the same time, if relocation becomes necessary and nothing has been done to ready people for the move, it will not be possible to rapidly relocate over 100,000 people in a way that preserves the dignity of those being relocated and minimises the burden on the receiving countries.

The relocation strategy of the Kiribati Government has two key components. Firstly, opportunities must be created to enable the migration of those who wish to do so now and in the coming years. This will assist in establishing expatriate communities of I-Kiribati, who will be able to absorb and support greater numbers of migrants in the longer term. It will also benefit those who remain by lifting the levels of remittances. Secondly, the levels of qualifications able to be obtained in Kiribati will be raised to those available in countries such as Australia and New Zealand. This will make qualified I-Kiribati more attractive as migrants, but will also improve the standards of services available locally.

The concept of 'migration with dignity' is crucial to the effectiveness of the Government's relocation policy. I-Kiribati migrants should be sought after by the countries to which they wish to relocate. For this to happen our people must be in a position to provide the skills that are needed in the receiving countries. This creates a 'win-win' situation, where both Kiribati and the receiving country benefit.

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