Accepted Paper:

Voices from small island developing states (SIDS) on decision-making processes for migration linked to climate change  
Ilan Kelman (UCL and UiA)

Paper short abstract:

In discussions regarding migration from small island developing states (SIDS) linked to climate change, the voices from ordinary islanders are often absent. This paper provides scenarios, dilemmas, and mechanisms for considering the voices of ordinary islanders.

Paper long abstract:

Small island developing states (SIDS) are said to be amongst the regions most needing to prepare for migration linked to climate change, with many initiatives currently ongoing. Often, the voices of ordinary islanders are absent from these discussions while empirical evidence indicates that they are not overly concerned about moving due to climate change or even climate change impacts. Meanwhile, few resources have been provided to SIDS communities to consider and enact migration-related options. This paper indicates decisions which need to made, bases for making those decisions, and possibilities for bringing together different parties as part of the decision-making processes. The key is to ensure that voices from the communities are heard, drawing on the people's knowledge and wisdom, rather than decisions being imposed on them. Decision-making dilemmas emerge in scenarios when it appears as if an island community would be expected to need to migrate due to climate change--less likely due to inundation than due to limited freshwater, decreasing food security, and changing island morphology. Those scenarios include (i) community members do not wish to leave or are not concerned about climate change; (ii) adequate financing is not available to support the community; and (iii) different community sectors desire different actions. These dilemmas converge towards suggesting that options for remaining in place, often the islanders' preferred pathway, ought to be given more attention.

Panel P30
Understanding everyday perceptions: a new wave of climate change and migration research.