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UNHCR Reports on the Impact of Climate Change on Pacific Islanders

Unhcr14 December 2009: The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has reported on how environmental, climatic, geological and demographic factors are affecting the ability of Pacific Islanders to remain in their homelands.

Richard Towle, UNHCR Regional Representative in the Pacific, stressed the need for coping and adaptation mechanisms to include a human rights-focused response to human security to ensure socioeconomic development. For many islanders, relocation is the only option because of the climate-induced degradation of their food supplies and livelihoods.

UNHCR notes that disaster preparedness, mitigation and adaptation should be combined in order to adequately protect people who face risks of being displaced by climate change and environmental degradation. UNHCR has partnered with other agencies to form a Pacific Humanitarian Protection Group, which will help map and analyze the protection needs of people in the region.[UNHCR Press Release]