13 Apr 2011

Church calls for climate migrant convention

3:13 pm on 13 April 2011

The Pacific Conference of Churches wants the establishment of an international convention to address the plight of Pacific peoples forced to resettle in other places by climate change.

It says its responsibility is to comprehensively address issues around resettlement.

The general secretary, Fe'iloakitau Tevi, says an international convention would address the unique situation these people face, embody a spirit of accountability and ensure that fair and equitable funding is made available for the resettlement process.

And he says one of the first changes they want is for people affected to be called forced climate migrants because the current terminology - environment refugees -- holds no water as a legal definition.

"And so for that matter what we have come up with is the term forced climate migrants. That's a term that we feel encompasses the very essence of those having to be relocated as a result of climate change."