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flooding of island home

Flooding in the Marshall Islands, March 2016.

Residents in Hawaiʻi, Alaska and the Pacific Islands are on the front lines of the impacts of climate change, and moving to a safer location is one of many adaptation responses that communities are considering. A symposium in Honolulu this December aims to address legal and policy challenges and questions surrounding climate displacement and relocation.

The effects of climate change, especially storms and sea-level rise, pose a grave and immediate threat to many communities in the Pacific. For some, relocation will ultimately be the only sustainable choice. The Symposium on Climate Displacement, Migration and Relocation, hosted by the White House Council on Environmental Quality, NOAA Office for Coastal Management, the Environmental Law Program of the University of Hawaiʻi William S. Richardson School of Law, the Alaska and Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Programs and the Pacific Islands Climate Science Center will address questions about migration and relocation for communities in the continental U.S. and Pacific Islands.

The symposium, to be held December 13–14, in Honolulu, is one component of major new funding and programs announced in early September by the U.S. Administration to address the critical need to build climate resilience.

The symposium will provide a platform for stakeholders, researchers, policy experts, indigenous leaders and local, state and federal government officials to explore legal and policy opportunities and challenges. It will address questions about how to plan for and implement voluntary migration and community-led relocation as adaptation strategies, both domestically and in the context of the Pacific Islands.

Call for papers

A call for papers has been issued for abstracts on international and domestic law and policy and crosscutting questions. The symposium committee welcomes work from legal scholars and practitioners from around the world.

The deadline for submission is October 10.

For more information, please visit the Symposium on Climate Displacement, Migration and Relocation website.

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