Australia offers climate asylum to residents of the Tuvalu archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. The Prime Ministers of the two countries have reached an agreement on this.
11,200 people live in Tuvalu. The archipelago, which is only a few meters above sea level, is in danger of disappearing if sea levels continue to rise due to climate change.
Australia will issue special visas to up to 280 Tuvaluans each year. Australia has also agreed with Tuvalu that it will provide assistance in the event of “a major natural disaster, pandemics and military aggression”. China’s influence in the Pacific is getting bigger and bigger. Another agreement in the agreement – which is probably related to this – is that Australia will monitor if Tuvalu concludes security or defense agreements with other countries. This also concerns police, port, energy and telecom contracts, reports Reuters news agency.
Correspondent Meike Wijers visited Tuvaluan climate refugees in New Zealand last year:
Tuvalu slowly disappears into the sea, ‘as if you lose a part of yourself’
Australian Prime Minister Albanese says Australia and Tuvalu “are family”. With the agreement, the countries have taken that relationship to a higher level, according to Albanese. They now together form the so-called Falepili Union.
The agreement will “protect Tuvalu’s future while respecting its sovereignty,” Albanese said.
Half of the world’s population lives in places that are vulnerable to climate change, it was reported in March this year a report of the IPCC. According to that climate panel, certain regions are already being affected much more severely by climate change than others.
In Africa, Asia and the Americas, weather extremes lead to migration, or ‘climate migration’. For example, residents of the African Sahel are moving to the coast and cities to escape the drought.
If nothing changes about global warming – the worst-case scenario imaginable – then by 2050 some 216 million people will be forced to move to another place in their country, the World Bank noted in 2021.
The post first appeared on nos.nl