The Government of Kiribati wants to purchase about 6000 acres of land on Fiji’s Vanua Levu island to address the country’s food security.
The Republic of Kiribati consists of 32 low-lying atolls (no more than 2 metres above sea level) and only 1 raised coral island. As a result the nation is at high risk for experiencing negative impacts of climate change, particularly the rising sea level. It is said that Kiribati’s citizens may become the world’s first climate refugees, forced to leave their homes and start a new life elsewhere.
The Government tries to prepare people for eventual migration. It offers education and vocational trainings to improve citizens’ language and qualifications so they can easily find employment abroad. President Anote Tong often says that he wants his people to be seen as migrants, not refugees. He wants them to be highly-skilled, competitive workers who can contribute to their new society.
As for now there are no plans for relocating the whole I-Kiribati community. The land in Fiji is considered an investment for the future and is supposed to provide the much-needed food security for the citizens of Kiribati. One can only hope that they will never have to see their land being swamped by the ocean…