14 Nov 2013

New project launched to help small countries handle rising sea levels

4:21 pm on 14 November 2013

Small Pacific nations facing rising sea levels are set to benefit from a new project launched today.

The project is funded by the European Union to the order of 2.3 million US dollars as an initial commitment.

The project director and head of the Pacific office of the UN's Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Iosefa Maiava, says climate change threats are not well known, and the project is about listening and learning.

He says the three-year project will support all countries in the Pacific, but has a particular focus on Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu as the countries most vulnerable to climate change displacement.

"Countries are more interested in enhancing or making better use of their labour mobility schemes, getting better their skills and enabling them to move. Other countries are exploring, as you know in the case of Kiribati, are looking at the possibility of people having to be relocated, including overseas."

Iosefa Maiava says the International Labour Organisation and the United Nations are other partners in the project.