Small islands and coastal cities in Asia-Pacific need more funds to assist vulnerable communities and help them decide whether to relocate or stay and defend against rising sea levels and extreme weather, climate experts said on Thursday.
Indonesia last month said it would relocate its capital from the sinking city of Jakarta, while Fiji plans to move dozens of coastal villages inland, and the Marshall Islands is building sea walls to protect coastal communities.
“As much as possible, we must try to adapt and mitigate in situ because that’s where people have their homes, land and livelihoods,” said Harjeet Singh, global climate change lead at charity ActionAid.
“But more places are becoming uninhabitable because of land degradation, rising sea levels or other weather impacts, and there is no choice but to relocate,” he said at the sidelines of a United Nations climate event in Bangkok.
“Where possible, cities should be investing to adapt, with infrastructure such as seawalls, as well as nature-based solutions.”
— Diane Archer, SEI Research Fellow, interviewed by place
More than 20 million people are uprooted every year by floods, storms, landslides and other extreme winter conditions, with the vast majority of such displacement occurring in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.