22 Jul 2013

Vanuatu climate minister says unique islands need special attention

5:00 am on 22 July 2013

The minister of Vanuatu's new climate change ministry says his country is unique and is leading the way on handling climate change risks.

Thomas Laken says climate change is not just about people, but animals and every living thing.

After forming its new ministry, Vanuatu has decided to take the island of Epi as a model island and monitor changes there as an indicator of what could happen on other islands.

Mr Laken says communties on Epi are relocating inland, and there are plans to relocate airstrips as well, with water already washing up on them.

"Vanuatu is quite a lot unique for some of its islands. Talking about some other parts of the island the other part of it is already sinking and we have to get in. As the new ministry has just been created, we have been working very hard to look at all those issues."

Thomas Laken says his ministry has a draft policy to plan and budget for impacts such as broken communication networks from increased rainfall and floods.