“Prejudice and Conflict in Force-migration Issues: a Contest” (PACIFIC) is a research project that investigates key human security and conflict issues associated with forced migration due to climate change or other factors. It also aims at developing strategies for preventing conflict and minimizing human insecurity in the Pacific and, mainly, in the Fiji Islands.
In order to develop this research project, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat has requested the support of the UNU Migration Network, which has expertise on both prejudice, conflict and inter-ethnic relations and on climate-induced migration.
The Pacific is on the front line of climate change and the impact is potentially massive with its low lying atolls, cultural affinity with the land, high dependence on agriculture (in Melanesia especially), and the importance of fisheries for livelihoods and revenues.
Migration has been part of Pacific life for thousands of years and led to the population of this vast ocean area. It has enabled people to move from overcrowded islands, seek refuge from conflicts and find new sources of sustenance. However, climate change is already causing sea level rise, ocean acidification, more extreme weather events, and salt-intrusion in to limited freshwater sources. Add to these existing human insecurities issues such as social and economic inequities and land tenure insecurity, as well as ongoing resource constraints faced by Pacific Islands Country (PICs) and there is a possibility for conflict.
The current activity aims to develop case studies of previous examples of forced migration and its impacts on human security and conflict. The case studies will be from the Pacific, and elsewhere if relevant. The outcomes of the research will provide policy recommendations that will enable Pacific Island Forum Members to formulate national policies and advocate positions for promoting human security and preventing conflict linked to forced migration.
The research project will develop a series of between seven and ten case studies in a common format on forced migration in the Pacific and possibly other regions and a policy brief and discussion paper based on the lessons learnt from the case studies that outlines recommendations for policy development.
The policy brief is available here.