Migration and Conflict in Solomon Islands
Like other Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Solomon Islands has been identified as being particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events. Climate related challenges in Solomon Islands include sea level rises, salt intrusion, costal erosion, flash floods, landslides, cyclones and storm surges, and food insecurity. These challenges not only affect the majority of the population living in costal rural villages, but also those in rapidly expanding urban and peri-urban areas.
As part of a project for Conciliation Resources on Climate Change and Conflict in the Pacific funded by The European Union and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Square Circle prepared a discussion paper on migration and conflict in Solomon Islands. Our paper helped inform the design of an emerging program to support locally-led peacebuilding strategies around potential climate mobility conflict in Solomon Islands. Informing this design was a preliminary conflict analysis and the identification of potential pathways for community engagement, especially in urban settlements. The background paper and program support locally-led peacebuilding initiatives that draw on local knowledge and indigenous governance mechanisms in climate-affected communities, especially in urban and peri-urban settlements in Honiara and Solomon Islands’ provinces.
Climate change may push people into settlements located in areas that are precarious and at risk themselves of climate change and extreme weather events.
In short, climate change mobility and migration add to a growing population in Honiara which has limited space and services, meaning potential risks for peace and stability as conflict drivers are intensified or emerge amongst both relocating and existing cultural groups.