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Land ownership affects climate change relocations

Director of the Climate Change Division Hudson Kauhiona

The country’s plan to relocate communities threatened by sea level rise may face opposition from the very people who are being affected.
People’s attachment to their homeland may see the older generation not likely to relocate despite the threat to their community.

Director of Climate Change Division in the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, Hudson Kauhiona told SIBC News in an exclusive interview.

He said, we need to be very careful in addressing the relocation issue as eighty-five percent of the lands in the country are customary and fifteen percent are government owned.

He added, few relocation events that took pace so far are voluntary.

“The community of Walande shifted to the mainland after communication between the two sides despite this it is to be said that people have connections to their homeland, many of the older generations are not willing to leave despite the raising sea level,” Mr Kauhiona said.

He said, the ministry is presented with the challenge of working towards safe guarding the people’s connections to their homeland and their safety in the long term.

A committee led by the ministry of lands and climate change has been set up to look and deal with the relocation issues.

“Identification of who should be in the committee was done for now ministry of lands, climate change office and PMO’s office have taken the lead in developing a framework for the country’s relocation issue,” Mr Kauhiona said.

Climate Change remains a top priority for the government despite the country’s covid-19 situation, Mr Kauhiona said.

By Sharon Nanau

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