Communities on the islands in Australasia are severely affected by the impact of climate change. In particular, the rising sea levels pose major problems, such as the erosion of coastal lines, salination of ground/drinking water, and in some cases to the loss of the complete islands. Even if global efforts to reduce CO2 emissions will eventually succeed, it will be too late for many small island states. For example, the Cartaret Islands (Papua New Guinea / autonomous region of Bougainville), was world wide the first region that was forced to start the evacuation of their citizens in 2009 and it was expected that by 2015 all islands would be inhabitable. Here local communities have tried without success to fight against the impacts of raising sea levels for the past 10 years, however, now without financial support they have to find a new place to live and to finance their exodus.
Julia Gottwald – Fellowship Awardee 2009
As part of the Arkleton Trust’s theme of ‘Rural Community Adaption to Climate Change’ existing initiatives and projects related to adaptation to climate change in rural areas in Australasia, with specific focus on the small pacific islands states, have been identified and analysed. This issue paper provides a short overview on the impact of climate change in Australasian island states and the international, regional, national and local response to it. Mover, this report analyses the different categoriesof adaption initiatives and illustrates them with some examples. Also this report highlights specific themes that seem to be most relevant for the context of communities in Australasia and suggests some lesson learnt that might also be relevant for implementing climate change initiatives in rural communities in other regions of the world.
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