Addressing climate-related displacement

Posted on 12 September 2022

Disasters now cause almost three times as much internal displacement as conflict, with climate change amplifying the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, particularly in the Pacific. Pacific leaders continue to call on Australia to support their communities in their response to climate change.

Professor Jane McAdam, international expert on refugee law and Scientia Professor of Law at University of NSW says there are four ways that Australia can support our Pacific neighbours to address the impacts of climate change:

  1. Support for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation to build resilience in at-risk communities;
  2. Uphold legal obligations not to send people back to countries where they face a real risk to their life, or a real risk of inhuman or degrading treatment, including from impacts of disasters or climate change;
  3. Enhance voluntary migration opportunities so that people can move on their own terms rather than waiting for disaster to strike;
  4. Plan the relocations of communities so that people are supported to move out of danger zones before disaster strikes, or to move to safer areas immediately after a disaster.