USP Theses Collection


close this section of the library Environmental refugees -- Fiji

View the PDF document Assessing the socio-cultural impacts of climate change in Kiribati and exploring the relocation strategy with reference to Fiji and its socio-cultural implications
Author: Gagaeolo, Fetalai
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Award: M.Sc.
Subject: Climatic changes -- Social aspects -- Kiribati, Environmental refugees -- Fiji, Forced migration -- Kiribati
Date: 2014
Call No.: Pac QC 903 .2 .K5 G34 2014
BRN: 1200948
Copyright:20-40% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission

Abstract: This thesis presents numerous emerging direct and indirect socio-cultural challenges amplified by climate change, experienced and perceived by the vulnerable communities of South Tarawa and Abaiang in Kiribati. Findings indicate that limited resources which sustain lives and livelihoods, and are significant socially and culturally are being physically threatened by climate change. Such physical threats have led to losses, changes, and transformations in people’s perceptions, traditional knowledge and skills, behaviours, lifestyles, feelings, relationship status, welfare, security and community cohesion practices. Socio-cultural practices are perceived as one of the strongest pillars that support local communities of Kiribati in building momentum and resilience to endure the adverse impacts of climate change, and keys which unlock solutions that steer individuals and communities towards sustainable living and development. In this regard, the socio-cultural consequences of climate change should not be undermined but should be highly valued and highlighted in climate change policy making at all levels. Additionally, this study features the perceived socio-cultural impacts of relocation with reference to Fiji and its different dimensions through the lens of the target communities. It is evident that Kiribati communities are zealous in the celebration of their cultures, identities, socio-cultural and spiritual values. Findings based on the perceptions of local communities and experiences of those residing in Fiji, reveal that relocation is perceived as the last ‘adaptation resort’ to escape and offset individual losses caused by climate change but is also an option that will compromise their socio-cultural practices and values in the long term. This study indicates that attention shouldn’t be focused only on factors that drive human relocation but should also prioritize justifications of those who choose not to relocate. This approach will better serve community expectations for incountry climate change adaptation and help shape future strategies and/or policies on climate change driven relocation. Finally, policies and adaptation initiatives should be holistically framed; integrating values that are important to grassroots level such as socio-cultural values, spiritual and mobility concerns for informed decision making at all levels
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