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Island Vulnerability


Island Vulnerability explores the challenges which isolated geographies face when dealing with risk and disasters by examining the processes which create, maintain, and could be used to reduce their vulnerability. This page provides information on the Pacific:

This page provides information specifically related to vulnerability (including risk, disasters, and sustainability), rather than general information such as travel details, country profiles, government websites, or history. The information provided is not intended to be comprehensive, but is indicative of the vulnerabilities which islands experience and how sustainable solutions might be developed and implemented. The publications listed reflect those in the library of Island Vulnerability.

Some Pacific Region Websites

  • LMMA
    Locally-Managed Marine Area Network
    "A group of practitioners involved in various marine conservation projects around the globe who have joined together to increase the success of our efforts. The LMMA Network is learning network, meaning that participating projects use a common strategy and work together to achieve goals. The Network is interested in learning under what conditions using an LMMA strategy works, doesn’t work, and why."

  • Pacific Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
    "The water sector under the SOPAC's Community Lifelines Programme (CLP), has a structure consisting of Resources Management, Asset Management and Governance. For the water sector these translate into water resources management (CLP1), which includes rainwater, surface water and groundwater resources assessment, development, management and protection, with a particular emphasis on water resources management in climatic extremes...Sanitation and drinking water services are addressed by the Asset Management component (CLP2) and include drinking-water supply and wastewater disposal asset management...The Governance component (CLP3) pulls together a number of different areas which together attribute to better institutional arrangements in the water sector. These include national level policies, plans and strategies; institutional instruments such as legislation and institutional strengthening; multi-stakeholder national water partnerships; IWRM and catchment level management; community level water governance; awareness raising and education initiatives; and advocacy for community participation and gender."

  • PaCIS
    Pacific Climate Information System
    "The Pacific Climate Information System (PaCIS) provides a programmatic framework to bring together ongoing and future climate observations, operational forecasting services and climate projections, research, assessment, data management, outreach, and education - an integrated system of climate services - to address the needs of the Pacific Islands. It provides a forum for sharing the expertise, experience, and perspective needed to guide integrated program planning and product development."

  • PDN
    Pacific Disaster Net
    "A Web Portal and Database System - Virtual Centre of Excellence - for Disaster Risk Management in the Pacific Region. The portal is designed to be the largest and most comprehensive information resource in relation to Disaster Risk Management for the Pacific Island Countries."

  • Pacific Islands Climate
    "This website is a gateway to a broad range of information related to climate in the Pacific Islands. It includes summaries of programs, projects, and activities, as well as products and services. Formed through the collaboration of and contributions from a family of agencies, institutions, and organizations, it is intended to serve as a shared resource for research scientists, service providers, and decision-makers."

    Pacific Islands Association of Non-Government Organisations
    "PIANGO exists to enable the Pacific extended family of NGOs to more effectively promote and advance the interest and well being of their people. More specifically, PIANGO is a network of Pacific NGOs, existing to facilitate communication; provide a common voice at regional and international forums; and assist NGOs to strengthen and develop Pacific identities, unity, cultures and forms of social action, as well as to improve the well being of the communities they serve.
    PIANGO's goals are to:

    1. Facilitate active networking among NGO's at all levels throughout the region.

    2. Promote and enable access to, sharing and dissemination of information, ideas, experience and resources (including human resources) among NGOs throughout the region.

    3. Enable NGOs to better understand, fulfil and develop their roles and functions, and strengthen their organisation and program capacities.

    4. Assist in identifying, monitoring and analysing the needs of people in the Pacific, and ways of increasing the role of the people of the Pacific in their own development, with emphasis on Pacific women and youth.

    5. Provide a means for a collective voice and action on issues of concern to NGOs and the people they serve.

    6. Play an active role in promoting a regional Pacific identity and Pacific ways of thinking and responding.

    7. Cooperate with other networks and organisations within or beyond the region which have similar aims."

  • PIFS
    Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
    "To work in support of Forum Member governments to enhance the economic and social well-being of the people of the South Pacific by fostering cooperation between governments and between international agencies, and by representing the interests of Forum members in ways agreed by the Forum."

  • PIPD
    Pacific Islands Development Program (East-West Center)
    "The Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP) conducts a broad range of activities to enhance the quality of life in the Pacific islands. The founding mission of PIDP, established in 1980, is to assist Pacific islands Leaders in advancing their collective efforts to achieve and sustain equitable social and economic development consistent with the goals of the Pacific islands region's people...PIDP's role as a regional organization has expanded to include five major activity areas:

    • Secretariat of the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders

    • Secretariat for the United States/Pacific Island Nations Joint Commercial Commission.

    • Research & Dialogue

    • Education & Training

    • Pacific Islands News."

    For the latter, see their Pacific Islands Report.
  • Te Puna Web Directory
    National Library of New Zealand's Directory to New Zealand and Pacific Island Websites
    "To provide a subject gateway to selected New Zealand and Pacific Island Internet information resources that help libraries, their users, and all New Zealanders meet their professional, educational, cultural and personal information needs."

    Secretariat of the Pacific Community Applied Geoscience Commission
    "Overall Vision: Natural resources, principally non-living resources, developed in a sustainable manner and vulnerability reduced for the people of the Pacific."
    See their Environmental Vulnerability Index:

  • SOPAC's Headquarters.

    SOPAC's Headquarters.
    (Copyright Ilan Kelman 2005.)

  • SPC
    Secretariat of the Pacific Community
    "We strive to develop the technical, professional, scientific, research, planning and management capability of Pacific Islands people to enable them to make informed decisions about their future development and well-being."

    Pacific Regional Environment Programme
    "To promote cooperation in the South Pacific region and to provide assistance in order to protect and improve its environment and to ensure sustainable development for present and future generations."

  • SPREP's Headquarters.

    SPREP's Headquarters.
    (Copyright Ilan Kelman 2004.)

Some Pacific Region References

  • "A Call for Help". 1997. UNESCO Sources, no. 96, pp. 20-21.

  • Baldacchino, G. and D. Niles (eds.). 2011. Island Futures: Conservation and Development Across the Asia-Pacific Region, Springer, Heidelberg, Germany.

  • Bedford, R. and G. Hugo. 2012. Population Movement in the Pacific: A Perspective on Future Prospects. Department of Labour, Wellington, New Zealand.

  • Bell, J.D., A. Ganachaud, P.C. Gehrke, S.P. Griffiths, A.J. Hobday, O. Hoegh-Guldberg, J.E. Johnson, R. Le Borgne, P. Lehodey, J.M. Lough, R.J. Matear, T.D. Pickering, M.S. Pratchett, A. Sen Gupta, I. Senina, and M. Waycott. 2013. "Mixed responses of tropical Pacific fisheries and aquaculture to climate change". Nature Climate Change, vol. 3, no. 6, pp. 591-599.

  • Bettencourt, S., R. Croad, P. Freeman, J. Hay, R, Jones, P. King, P. Lal, A. Mearns, G. Miller, I. Pswarayi-Riddihough, A. Simpson, N. Teuatabo, U. Trotz, and M. Van Aalst. 2006. Not if but When: Adapting to Natural Hazards in the Pacific Islands Region, a Policy Note, The World Bank, East Asia and Pacific Region, Pacific Islands Country Management Unit, Washington, DC, U.S.A.

  • Bole, F. 1972. "Priorities in Education in the South Pacific: The Possible conflicts which may arise as a result of individual expectations and communal demands." Paper at the Third South Pacific Seminar, Suva, Fiji, 17-21 July 1972.

  • Burkett, M. 2011. "In Search of Refuge: Pacific Islands, Climate-Induced Migration, and the Legal Frontier". Asia Pacific Issues – Analysis from the East-West Center, no. 98.

  • Campbell, J.R. 2014. "Climate-Change Migration in the Pacific". The Contemporary Pacific, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 1-28.

  • Campbell, J.R. and F. Cuny. 1983. "Agricultural Development and Disaster Preparedness". Prepared for the Disaster Preparedness Strategies Seminar, 23-25 March 1983, Suva, Fiji. PIDP (Pacific Islands Development Program), Honolulu, Hawai'i, U.S.A., full text (2,825 kb in PDF).

  • Campbell, J.R., M. Goldsmith, and K. Koshy. 2005. Community Relocation as an Option for Adaptation to the Effects of Climate Change and Climate Variability in Pacific Island Countries (PICs). Final report for APN project 2005-14-NSY-Campbell. Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research, Kobe, Japan.

  • Cloin, J. 2007. "Coconut oil as a fuel in the Pacific Islands". Natural Resources Forum, vol. 31, pp. 119-127.

  • Connell, J. 2010. "Pacific islands in the global economy: Paradoxes of migration and culture". Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 115-129.

  • d'Aubert, A. and P.D. Nunn. 2012. Furious Winds and Parched Islands: Tropical Cyclones (1558-1970) and Droughts (1722-1987) in the Pacific. XLibris, Bloomington, Indiana, U.S.A.

  • Dickinson, W. 2009. "Pacific Atoll Living: How Long Already and Until When?". GSA Today, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 4-10.

  • FAO. 2008. Climate Change and Food Security in Pacific Island Countries. FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), Rome, Italy.

  • Farbotko, C. 2012. "Skilful Seafarers, oceanic drifters or climate refugees? Pacific people, news value and the climate refugee crisis". Chapter 6, pp. 119-142 in K. Moore, B. Gross, and T. Threadgold (Eds.), Migration and the Media, Peter Lang, New York, U.S.A.

  • Ferris, E., M.M. Cernea, and D. Petz. 2011. On the Front Line of Climate Change and Displacement: Learning from and with Pacific Island Countries. The Brookings Institution – London School of Economics Project on Internal Displacement, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

  • FHMPPI. 2003. Roundtable of Federal Hazard Mitigation Partners in the Pacific Islands (FHMPPI) held in Honolulu, Hawai'i, on March 11 and 12, 2003, Proceedings, Presentations, and Action Plan. CD-ROM, Honolulu, Hawai'i.

  • Finucane, M.L. 2009. "Why Science Alone Won't Solve the Climate Crisis: Managing Climate Risks in the Pacific". Asia Pacific Issues – Analysis from the East-West Center, no. 89.

  • Gilman, E., H. Van Lavieren, J. Ellison, V. Jungblut, L. Wilson, F. Areki, G. Brighouse, J. Bungitak, E. Dus, M. Henry, I. Sauni Jr., M. Kilman, E. Matthews, N. Teariki-Ruatu, S. Tukia, and K. Yuknavage. 2006. Pacific Island Mangroves in a Changing Climate and Rising Sea. UNEP Regional Seas Reports and Studies No. 179. United Nations Environment Programme, Regional Seas Programme, Nairobi, Kenya.

  • Gilman, E., J. Ellison, V. Jungblut, H. Van Lavieren, L. Wilson, F. Areki, G. Brighouse, J. Bungitak, E. Dus, M. Henry, M. Kilman, E. Matthews, I. Sauni Jr., N. Teariki-Ruatu, S. Tukia, and K. Yuknavage. 2006. "Adapting to Pacific Island mangrove responses to sea level rise and climate change". Climate Research, vol. 32, pp. 161-176.

  • Goff, J.R. and J.P. Terry. 2012. "Living with natural hazards in the Asia-Pacific region". Pp. 1-2 in J.P. Terry and J. Goff (eds), Natural Hazards in the Asia–Pacific Region: Recent Advances and Emerging Concepts. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, vol. 361.

  • Govan, H. 2007. People and Reefs in the Pacific – People and Livelihoods. ReefBase Pacific DVD (Ver. 1.0). The WorldFish Center, Penang, Malaysia.

  • Hamnett, M.P. 1995. Natural Disaster Mitigation in Pacific Island Countries: A Policy Guide for Planners & Decision-Makers. SPDRP (South Pacific Disaster Reduction Programme (RAS/92/360)), UNDP/UNDHA (United Nations Development Programme / United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs), Suva, Fiji.

  • Hamnett, M.P. 1995. Natural Disaster Mitigation in Pacific Island Countries: A Policy Guide for Planners & Decision-Makers, Briefing Manual. SPDRP (South Pacific Disaster Reduction Programme (RAS/92/360)), UNDP/UNDHA (United Nations Development Programme / United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs), Suva, Fiji.

  • Hare, G. with assistance from M. Lewis and R. Parkinson. 1987. Hurricanes in the South-West Pacific: A Natural Hazard. Pacific Islanders' Educational Resource Centre, Auckland, New Zealand.

  • Hay, J.E., N. Mimura, J. Campbell, S. Fifita, K. Koshy, R.F. McLean, T. Nakalevu, P. Nunn, and N. de Wet. 2003. Climate Variability and Change and Sea-Level Rise in the Pacific Islands Region: A Resource Book for Policy and Decision Makers, Educators and Other Stakeholders. Ministry of the Environment, Japan and SPREP, Apia, Samoa.

  • Hay, J. and N. Mimura. 2006. "Supporting climate change vulnerability and adaptation assessments in the Asia-Pacific region: an example of sustainability science". Sustainability Science, vol. 1, pp. 23-35.

  • Hay, J.E. and G. Sem. 2000. Vulnerability and Adaptation: Evaluation and Regional Synthesis of National Assessments and Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change. SPREP, Apia, Samoa.

  • Lane, R. and R. McNaught. 2009. "Building gendered approaches to adaptation in the Pacific", Gender and Development, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 67-80.

  • Lewis, J. 1976 (May). A Report to Establish Guidelines for the Management of a Regional Fund to Provide Insurance For Natural Disaster, Prepared at the Request of the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-Operation for the South Pacific Bureau for Economic Co-Operation, full text (4,505 kb in PDF).

  • Lewis, J. 1977. "Disaster preparedness in the South Pacific", a Paper presented at the South Pacific Disaster Preparedness and Relief Seminar, Suva, Fiji, in September, 1976, South Pacific Bulletin, First Quarter 1977, pp. 14-20, full text (1,035 kb in PDF).

  • Lewis, J. 1988 (December). Sea Level Rise, Tonga Tuvalu (Kiribati): Report of a rapid field reconnaissance mission, November 1988. Commonwealth Expert Group on Climatic Change and Sea-Level Rise, Commonwealth Secretariat, London, U.K., full text (2,690 kb in PDF).

  • Marsella, A.J., A.A. Austin, and B. Grant (eds.). 2005. Social Change and Psychosocial Adaptation in the Pacific Islands: Cultures in Transition. Springer, U.S.A.

  • McMichael, A., R. Woodruff, P. Whetton, K. Hennessy, N. Nicholls, S. Hales, A. Woodward, and T. Kjellstrom. 2002. Human Health and Climate Change in Oceania: A Risk Assessment. Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, Australia.

  • Meehl, G.A. 1996. "Vulnerability of Freshwater Resources to Climate Change in the Tropical Pacific Region". Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, vol. 92, pp. 203-213.

  • Mercer, J. 2004 (April). "Reducing vulnerability in South Pacific Small Island Developing States: The Indigenous or Modern Way?" i-Rec Information and Research for Reconstruction Conference, Coventry, U.K., full text (126 kb in PDF).

  • Mimura, N. 1999. "Vulnerability of Island Countries in the South Pacific to Sea Level Rise and Climate Change". Climate Research, vol. 12, no. 2-3, pp. 137-143.

  • Moore, E.J. and J.W. Smith. 1995. "Climatic Change and Migration from Oceania: Implications for Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America". Population and Environment, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 105-122.

  • Nunn, P.D. 1988. Future Sea-Level Rise in the Pacific. SSED Working Paper No. 12, SSED (School of Social and Economic Development), University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji, full text (1,753 kb in PDF).

  • Nunn, P.D. 1990. "Recent Environmental Changes on Pacific Islands". The Geographical Journal, Vol. 156, No. 2, pp. 125-140.

  • Nunn, P.D. 2000. "Environmental Catastrophe in the Pacific Islands Around A.D. 1300". Geoarchaeology, vol. 15, no. 7, pp. 715-740.

  • Nunn, P.D. 2001. "Ecological Crises or Marginal Disruptions: the Effects of the First Humans on Pacific Islands". New Zealand Geographer, vol. 57, no. 2, pp. 11-20.

  • Nunn, P.D. 2001. "On the Convergence of Myth and Reality: Examples from the Pacific Islands". The Geographical Journal, vol. 167, no. 2, pp. 125-138.

  • Nunn, P.D. 2003. "Fished Up or Thrown Down: The Geography of Pacific Island Origin Myths". Annals of the Association of American Geographers, vol. 93, no. 2, pp. 350-364.

  • Nunn, P.D. 2007. Understanding Environmental Decision-Making in the Rural Pacific Islands. Final Report for APN CAPaBLE Project: CBA2007-03NSY. Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research, Kobe, Japan.

  • Nunn, P.D. 2009. "Responding to the challenges of climate change in the Pacific Islands: management and technological imperatives". Climate Research, vol. 40, no. 2-3, pp. 211-231.

  • Nunn, P.D. 2012. "Understanding and adapting to sea-level rise". Chapter 5, pp. 87-104, in F. Harris (ed.), Global Environmental Issues, 2nd revised edition, Wiley, Chichester, U.K.

  • Nunn, P.D. 2013. "The end of the Pacific? Effects of sea-level rise on Pacific Island livelihoods". Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 143-171.

  • Nunn, P.D., W. Aalbersberg, S. Lata, and M. Gwilliam. 2014. "Beyond the core: community governance for climate-change adaptation in peripheral parts of Pacific Island Countries". Regional Environmental Change, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 221-235.

  • Nunn, P.D. and J.M.R. Britton. 2001. "Human-Environment Relationships in the Pacific Islands around AD 1300". Environment and History, vol. 7, pp. 3-22.

  • Nunn, P.D., R. Hunter-Anderson, M.T. Carson, F. Thomas, S. Ulm, and M.J. Rowland. 2007. "Times of Plenty, Times of Less: Last-Millennium Societal Disruption in the Pacific Basin". Human Ecology, vol. 35, pp. 385-401.

  • Nunn, P.D. and N. Mimura. 1997. "Vulnerability of South Pacific Island Nations to Sea-Level Rise". Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue no. 24, pp. 133-151.

  • O'Collins, M. 1998. "Isolation, Vulnerability, and Governance: Reflections on Poverty Assessments in Papua New Guinea, Fiji And Vanuatu". State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Project Working Paper. Downloaded from http://rspas.anu.edu.au/melanesia/maev.html on 17 July 2004.

  • Oliver, J. 1989. "Determining the Future Policies for Disaster Management in the Southwest Pacific". Disasters, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 322-333.

  • Opeskin, B. and T. MacDermott. 2009. "Resources, population and migration in the Pacific: Connecting islands and rim".Asia Pacific Viewpoint, vol. 50, no. 3, pp. 353-373.

  • Pacific At Risk: Our Islands Our Lives, CD from SPREP, Apia, Samoa.

  • Pacific Cities Project, CD from SOPAC, Suva, Fiji of data from studies in Apia, Honiara, Nuku'Alofa, Port Vila, and Suva.

  • Pararas-Carayannis, G. 2004. "Natural Disasters in Oceania". pp. 193-210 in J.P. Stoltman, J. Lidstone, and L.M. Dechano, International Perspectives on Natural Disasters: Occurrence, Mitigation, and Consequences, Kluwer, London, U.K.

  • Percival, G.S. 2008. An Assessment of Indigenous Environmental Knowledge (IEK) in the Pacific Region to Improve Resilience to Environmental Change. The Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, New South Wales, Australia.

  • Rongo, T., M. Bush, and R. van Woesik. 2009. "Did ciguatera prompt the late Holocene Polynesian voyages of discovery?" Journal of Biogeography, vol. 36, no. 8, pp. 1423-1432.

  • Roper, T. 2009. "Climate Change - A Challenge for the Pacific Nations", full text (510 kb in PDF).

  • Roper, T. 2009. "Climate Change - A Challenge for Pacific Nations and their Utilities". Pacific Power Association, September, pp. 11-13, full text (732 kb in PDF).

  • Roper, T. Presentations on island energy with a Pacific focus:

    • 2008. Proactive Partnerships - Enhancing Utility Performance, full text (577 kb in PDF).

    • 2008. How Promoting Efficiency Helps You and Your Customers, full text (1,210 in PDF).

    • 2009. Energy Policy: The Way Ahead, full text (383 kb in PDF).

  • Ruddle, K. 1996. "Boundary Definition as a Basic Design Principle of Traditional Fishery Management Systems in the Pacific Islands". Geographische Zeitschrift, vol. 84, issue 2, pp. 94-101.

  • Shibuya, E. 1996-1997. "'Roaring Mice Against the Tide': The South Pacific Islands and Agenda-Building on Global Warming". Pacific Affairs, vol. 69, no. 4 (Winter), pp. 541-555.

  • SOPAC. 2002. Regional Comprehensive Hazard and Risk Management (CHARM): Guidelines for Pacific Island Countries. SOPAC (South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission), Suva, Fiji.

  • Spennemann, D.H.R. 2004. Typhoons in Micronesia: A History of Tropical Cyclones and their Effects until 1914. Division of Historic Preservation, Saipan, CNMI.

  • Tcherkézoff, S. and F. Douaire-Marsaudon (eds.), translated by N. Scott. 2008. The Changing South Pacific: identities and transformations. ANU E-Press, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

  • Terry, J.P. 2007. Tropical Cyclones: Climatology and Impacts in the South Pacific. Springer, New York, U.S.A.

  • Terry, J.P. and S. Etienne. 2011. "'Stones from the dangerous winds': reef platform mega-clasts in the tropical Pacific Islands". Natural Hazards, vol. 56, pp. 567-569.

  • Terry, J.P. and J.R. Goff. 2012. "The special vulnerability of Asia-Pacific islands to natural hazards". Pp. 3-5 in J.P. Terry and J. Goff (eds), Natural Hazards in the Asia–Pacific Region: Recent Advances and Emerging Concepts. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, vol. 361.

  • UNDRO/SPPO. 1991 (July). Mission Report: Disaster Management and Mitigation Possibilities and Insurance Aspects. UNDRO/SPPO (Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Co-ordinator) South Pacific Programme Office, Suva, Fiji, full text (3,428 kb in PDF).

  • UNEP (G.R. South, P. Skelton, J. Veitayaki, A. Resture, C. Carpenter, C. Pratt, and A. Lawedrau). 2004. Pacific Islands, GIWA (Global International Waters Assessment) Regional assessment 62. University of Kalmar, Sweden on behalf of UNEP.

  • UNEP and SPREP PROE. 2005. Pacific Environment Outlook. UNEP, Nairobi, Kenya.

  • Van Fossen, A.B. 2003. "Money Laundering, Global Financial Instability, and Tax Havens in the Pacific Islands". The Contemporary Pacific, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 237-275.

Cook Islands Cook Islands' Flag

Some Events:

  • 1 January 1987 Cyclone Sally hits with the island of Rarotonga worst affected.

  • 14-15 February 1990 Tropical Cyclone Peni hits the southern group of Cook Islands affecting Aitutaki, Atiu, Mangaia, Mauke, and Rakahanga.

  • 7 November 1997 Tropical Cyclone Martin hits 3 atolls in the Northern Cook Islands Group, Pukapuka, Rakahanga and Manihiki leaving 19 dead and considerable infrastructure and crop damage.

Some Resources:

Federated States of Micronesia Federated States of Micronesia's Flag

Some Resources:

Kiribati Kiribati's Flag

Some Resources:
  • Baptiste-Brown, S. 2012. When A People Risk Losing Their Country to the Effects of Climate Change: The Social Implication of International Climate Change Displacement for Kiribati. Master of International Development and Management dissertation at Lund University, Sweden full text (701 kb in pdf).

    This research's foundation is the current state of affairs in Kiribati in relation to the effects of climate change and how the nation will face the future. The paper examines how different actors in Kiribati are helping the country prepare for possible climate change displacement in the future, from the viewpoint of said actors. Interview data, supplemented by observational data from time spent in the field are the primary sources of data presented. The research uncovers the importance of education, skills training, and language in the advancement of employability in a new country context. The data attests to the fact that these areas that frame social life are currently functioning well or have encouraging plans in place. Less optimistically, the data details the wanting nature of the areas of institutional coordination and public communication. The paper closes with a set of recommendations based on the gaps exposed in the findings.

  • Barden, K.E. 2011. "Land's End: Can an Island Nation Survive Without Its Islands?" World Policy Journal, vol. 28, pp. 49-55.

  • Jones, P. and J.P. Lea. 2007. "What Has Happened to Urban Reform in the Island Pacific? Some Lessons from Kiribati and Samoa". Pacific Affairs, vol. 80, no. 3, pp. 473-491.

  • Lay, T. and E.A. Okal. 1983. "The Gilbert Islands (Republic of Kiribati) Earthquake swarm of 1981-1983". Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, vol. 33, pp. 284-303.

  • Moglia, M., P. Perez, and S. Burn. 2007. "Water troubles in a Pacific atoll town". Water Policy, vol. 10, pp. 613-637.

  • Muirhead, K. and R.D. Adams. 1986. "Earthquakes in the 'Aseismic' Regions of the Western Pacific". Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 13, no 3, pp. 169-172.

  • Olowu, D. 2007. "Environmental Governance Challenges in Kiribati: An Agenda for Legal and Policy Responses", Law, Environment and Development Journal, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 259-269.

  • Pala, C. 2014. "Climate Change: Warming may not swamp islands". Science, vol. 345, no. 6196, pp. 496-497.

  • Rankey, E.C. 2011. "Nature and stability of atoll island shorelines: Gilbert Island chain, Kiribati, equatorial Pacific". Sedimentology, vol. 58, no. 7, pp. 1831-1859.

  • Storey, D. and S. Hunter. 2010. "Kiribati: an environmental 'perfect storm'". Australian Geographer, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 167-181.

  • Thomas, F.R. 2001. "Remodeling Marine Tenure on the Atolls: A Case Study from Western Kiribati, Micronesia". Human Ecology, vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 399-423.

  • Thomas, F.R. 2003. "Kiribati: 'Some Aspects of Human Ecology,' Forty Years Later". Atoll Research Bulletin, no. 501.

  • Thomas, F.R. 2009. "Historical Ecology in Kiribati: Linking Past with Present". Pacific Science, vol. 63, no. 4, pp. 567-600.

  • Tiaeke, N. with contributions from Taskforce members. 2002. Kiribati National Report To The World Summit On Sustainable Development. Government of Kiribati, Tarawa, Kiribati.

  • Troost, J.M. 2004. The Sex Lives of Cannibals. Transworld Publishers, London, U.K.

  • Webb, A. 2006 (March). Technical Report Analysis of Coastal Change and Erosion – Tebunginako Village, Abaiang, Kiribati. EU EDF 8/9 – SOPAC Project Report 53: Reducing Vulnerability of Pacific ACP States, SOPAC, Suva, Fiji.

  • Webber, S. 2013. "Performative vulnerability: climate change adaptation policies and financing in Kiribati". Environment and Planning A, vol. 45, pp. 2717-2733.

Traditional home in North Tarawa and the bridge to South Tarawa.

Traditional home in North Tarawa and the bridge to South Tarawa.
(Copyright Sara Baptiste-Brown 2012.)

Marshall Islands Marshall Islands' Flag

Some Resources:
  • ADB. 2009. Strengthening Pacific Fragile States: The Marshall Islands Example. ADB (Asian Development Bank), Manila, the Philippines.

  • Blumenstock, D.I. 1958. "Typhoon Effects at Jaluit Atoll in the Marshall Islands". Nature, vol. 182, no. 4645, pp. 1267-1269.

  • Blumenstock, D.I., F.R. Fosberg, and C.G. JOhnson. 1961. "The Re-Survey of Typhoon Effects at Jaluit Atoll in the Marshall Islands". Nature, vol. 189, no. 4765, pp. 618-620.

  • Bridges, K.W. and W.C. McClatchey. 2009. "Living on the margin: Ethnoecological insights from Marshall Islanders at Rongelap atoll". Global Environmental Change, vol. 19, pp. 140–146.

  • Connell, J. and M. Maata. 1992. Environmental Planning, Climate Change and Potential SeaLevel Rise: Report on a Mission to the Republic of the Marshall Islands. SPREP (South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme), Apia, Samoa, full text (3,332 kb in PDF).

  • Crawford, M., P. Holthus, C. Makroro, E. Nakasaki, and S. Sullivan. 1992 (June). Vulnerability Assessment to Accelerated Sea Level Rise - Case Study: Majuro Atoll. Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Majuro, Marshall Islands, full text but missing a page of the table of contents and some pages at the end (4,724 kb in PDF); if you have the missing pages, please send them, thank you!

  • Gorenflo, L.J. 1990. "Regional discontinuities of planning objectives in the Republic of the Marshall Islands". Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 297-314.

  • Government of the Marshall Islands. 1997. Hazard Mitigation Plan. Government of the Marshall Islands, Majuro, Marshall Islands.

  • Moss, R.M. 2007. "Environment and development in the Republic of the Marshall Islands: Linking climate change with sustainable fisheries development". Natural Resources Forum, vol. 31, pp. 111-118.

  • Naidu, J.R., Greenhouse, N.A., Knight, G., and E.C. Craighead. 1980. Marshall Islands: A Study Of Diet And Living Patterns. BNL 51313 UC-11 (Environmental Control Technology and Earth Sciences - TIC-4500), Safety and Environmental Protection Division, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York, U.S.A.

  • Niedenthal, J. 1997. "A history of the People of Bikini Following Nuclear weapons Testing in the Marshall Islands: With Recollections and Views of Elders of Bikini Atoll". Health Physics, vol. 73, no. 1, pp. 28-36.

  • PIDP. c. 1984. Kokkal ion bar im jab ion bok (a guide to housing materials in Marshallese). Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Majuro, Marshall Islands, PIDP (Pacific Islands Development Program), Honolulu, Hawai'i, U.S.A., full text (5,362 in PDF).

  • Pollock, N., J.M. Lalouel, and N.E. Morton. 1972. "Kinship and Inbreeding on Namu Atoll (Marshall Islands)". Human Biology, vol. 44, no. 3, pp. 459-474.

  • Rudiak-Gould, Peter on academia.edu
    Rudiak-Gould, Peter personal website
    "A writer and anthropologist specializing in climate change, culture, and a country called the Marshall Islands."

  • Rudiak-Gould, P. 2009. Surviving Paradise: One Year on a Disappearing Island. Union Square Press, New York, U.S.A.

  • Rudiak-Gould, P. 2009. The Fallen Palm: Climate Change and Culture Change in the Marshall Islands. VDM Verlag, Saarbrücken, Germany.

  • Rudiak-Gould, P. forthcoming. "Memories and expectations of environmental disaster: some lessons from the Marshall Islands". In M. Davies and F. Nkirote (eds.), Humans and the environment: new archaeological perspectives for the 21st century. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

  • Rudiak-Gould, P. 2011. "Climate change and anthropology: The importance of reception studies". Anthropology Today, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 9-12.

  • Spennemann, D.H.R. 1993. Ennaanin Etto: A Collection of Essays on the Marshallese Past. Historic Preservation Office, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands. [Excerpts of "Erosion on Majuro Atoll" (pp. 19-27) and "Traditional Land Management in the Marshall Islands" (pp. 120-136).]

  • Spennemann, D.H.R. 1996. "Nontraditional Settlement Patterns and Hazard on Contemporary Majuro Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands Typhoon". Environmental Management, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 337-348.

  • Spennemann, D.H.R. 2006. "Freshwater Lens, Settlement Patterns, Resource Use and Connectivity in the Marshall Islands". Transforming Cultures eJournal, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 44-63.

  • Spennemann, D.H.R. 2007. Melimel: The Good Friday Typhoon of 1907 and its aftermath in the Mortlocks, Caroline Islands. Heritage Futures International, Albury, Australia

  • Spennemann, D.H.R. and I.C. Marschner. 1995. "The Association between El Niño/Southern Oscillation Events and Typhoons in the Marshall Islands". Disasters, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 194-197.

  • Williamson, I. and M.D. Sabath. 1982. "Island Population, Land Area, and Climate: A Case Study of the Marshall Islands". Human Ecology, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 71-84.

  • Yacoe, C. 2002. "Marshall Islands: Aquaculture Projects a Model for the Future". The Courier ACP-EU, January-February, pp. 23-25.

The shoreline of the Marshall Islands.

Watching the sea on the Marshall Islands.
(Copyright Peter Rudiak-Gould 2007.)

Nauru Nauru's Flag

Some Resources:
  • Carter, K., T.S. Soakai, R. Taylor, I. Gadabu, C. Rao, K. Thoma, and A.D. Lopez. 2011. "Mortality Trends and the Epidemiological Transition in Nauru". Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Health, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 10-23.

  • Gowdy, J.M. and C.N. McDaniel. 1999. "The Physical Destruction of Nauru: An Example of Weak Sustainability". Land Economics, vol. 75, no. 2, pp. 333-338.

  • Hiscock, S. 2002. "Nauru and the Pacific Solution". The Courier ACP-EU, January-February, pp. 21-22.

  • Manner, H.I., R.R. Thaman, and D.C. Hassall. 1984. "Phosphate Mining Induced Vegetation Changes on Nauru Island". Ecology, vol. 65, no. 5, pp. 1454-1465.

  • Tabucanon, G.M. and B. Opeskin. 2011. "The Resettlement of Nauruans in Australia". The Journal of Pacific History, vol. 46, no. 3, pp. 337-356.

  • Taylor, R. and K. Thoma. 1985. "Mortality Patterns in the Modernized Pacific Island Nation of Nauru". American Journal of Public Health, vol. 75, no. 2, pp. 149-155.

The coastline of Nauru

Nauru (photo copyright James Lewis, 1976).

Philippines Philippines' Flag

Mount Mayon

Mount Mayon.
(Copyright JC Gaillard 2005.)

Some Resources:

Infanta, Quezon showing damage following the late-2004 typhoon disaster

Infanta, Quezon showing damage following the late-2004 typhoon disaster.
(Copyright JC Gaillard 2004.)

Samoa Samoa's Flag

Some Events:

  • 4-6 January 2004 Cyclone Heta passes by Samoa causing over US$25 million of damage.

  • 29 September 2009 An earthquake-induced tsunami devastates coastal areas, killing dozens.

Some Resources:
  • Blake, B. 1993. "Housing and cyclones: Reducing vulnerability of Samoan fales", AODRO Newsletter, (Australian Overseas Disaster Response Organisation), vol. 11, no. 1 (March), p. 3-7, full text (825 kb in PDF)

  • Britton, N.R. 1986. Article on Tropical Cyclones Martin (Fiji) and Namu (Samoa), AODRO Newsletter, (Australian Overseas Disaster Response Organisation), vol. 4, no. 2 (June), p. 2-8, full text (1,035 kb in PDF)

  • Carter, R. 1990. Probability and Recurrence of Tropical Cyclones in Western Samoa. SOPAC Technical Report 106. SOPAC (South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission), Suva, Fiji.

  • Daly, M., N. Poutasi, F. Nelson, and J. Kohlhase. 2010. "Reducing the Climate Vulnerability of Coastal Communities in Samoa". Journal of International Development, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 265-282.

  • Jones, P. and J.P. Lea. 2007. "What Has Happened to Urban Reform in the Island Pacific? Some Lessons from Kiribati and Samoa". Pacific Affairs, vol. 80, no. 3, pp. 473-491.

  • Le De, L. 2011. Post-Disaster Reconstruction Strategy: Opportunity or Opportunism? 2009 Tsunami in Samoa as a Case Study. Master of Science in Environmental Management dissertation from the University Of Auckland, New Zealand, full text (2,002 kb in pdf).

    Reported natural disasters have significantly increased over the last fifty years. Because of their high exposure to natural hazards and limited economic capacity, developing countries are recognized by the international aid community to be the most vulnerable to disasters. In 1990, the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction was created to promote ideas of disaster reduction, identifying vulnerability as one of the priorities. The idea that vulnerability reduction is a matter of development is the mainstream discourse of agencies involved in disaster response. Within this general discourse, issues of vulnerability depend on adaptive capacity, technical knowledge, awareness and good governance. For the international aid community, lack of capacity and knowledge can be overcome by means of policy learning transfer from industrialized countries to developing nations. However, there are contrasting views, as some affirm that this approach reflects a top-down, technocratic and Western expert approach that is based on socio-cultural belief and perceptions of 'man' and 'nature'. Others state that most agencies have used vulnerability in the way that best fits their practices, and that this concept is utilized as a justification by developed countries to intervene in the affairs of developing nations. In 2009, a tsunami hit Samoa, resulting in considerable damages and mobilising the international aid community. Through this case study, this research explores how the mainstream use of the concept of vulnerability shapes the post-disaster management. The reconstruction of housing, land transport infrastructure and tourist accommodation and the utilisation of vulnerability reduction and risk mitigation measures are critically observed. Moreover, the role that different agencies play in shaping the decision making process is analysed, and the recovery strategy is explored and criticized. A qualitative research was undertaken, using a range of techniques including semi-structured interviews, scoping and observations on the field, and the analysis of policy documents. Findings show that international aid partners have an influence on shaping the policy carried out by the government of Samoa. The research qualifies the recovery approach as technocentrist and develops the argument that the strategy used has been lacking in considering the socio-cultural aspects inherent to the Samoan society.

  • Le De, L., JC Gaillard, W. Friesen, F. Matautia Smith. 2015. "Remittances in the face of disasters: a case study of rural Samoa". Environment, Development and Sustainability, in press.

  • Lefale, P.F. 2010. "Ua 'afa le Aso Stormy weather today: traditional ecological knowledge of weather and climate. The Samoa experience". Climatic Change, vol. 100, no. 2, pp. 317-335.

  • Mead. M. 1928. Coming of Age in Samoa: A Psychological Study of Primitive Youth for Western Civilisation, William Morrow & Company, New York, U.S.A.

  • Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Coastal Infrastructure Management Plans.

  • Nelson, F. 2005. "Enhancing disaster responsiveness by building institutional capabilities". Samoan Environment Forum, vol. 6, pp. 49-53.

  • Nelson, F., G. Roberts, and M. Daly. 2008. "Building Samoa's disaster risk management capacity and capability: A partnership approach". Pp. 49-52 in S. Dannenmann (ed.), Private Sector Activities in Disaster Risk Reduction, UNISDR (United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction), Bonn, Germany.

  • Nelson, F., G. Roberts, and M. Daly. 2008. Reducing the Vulnerability of Coastal Communities in Samoa: A Partnership Approach, full text (40 kb in PDF).

  • Németh, K. and S.J. Cronin. 2009. "Volcanic structures and oral traditions of volcanism of Western Samoa (SW Pacific) and their implications for hazard education". Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, vol. 186, pp. 223-237.

  • Read, R. 2006. "Sustainable Natural Resource Use and Economic Development in Small States: the Tuna Fisheries in Fiji and Samoa". Sustainable Development, vol. 14, no.2, pp. 93-103.

  • Samoa National Disaster Management Plan and Emergency Procedures. 1997. Government of Samoa, Apia, Samoa.

  • Samoa's National Disaster Management Plan 2006-2009. 2006. Government of Samoa, Apia, Samoa.

  • Samoa National Tropical Cyclone Plan. 1997. Government of Samoa, Apia, Samoa.

  • Samoa National Tsunami Plan. 2006. Government of Samoa, Apia, Samoa.

  • Samoa Red Cross Society. 2006. A 'Climate of Change' in Samoa. Samoa Red Cross Society, Apia, Samoa.

  • Sutherland, K., B. Smit, V. Wulf, and T. Nakalevu. 2005. "Vulnerability in Samoa". Tiempo, no. 54, pp. 11-15.

  • Watson, E. 2007. Reconceptualising Disasters: Lessons from the Samoan Experience. Master of Arts Dissertation in Geography at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.

  • Woodruff, A. 2008 (February). Samoa technical report – economic analysis of flood risk reduction measures for the lower Vaisigano catchment area. EU EDF - SOPAC Project Report 69g Reducing Vulnerability of Pacific ACP States. SOPAC (Pacific Islands Applied Geosciences Commission), Suva, Fiji.

  • Apia's harbour

    Apia's harbour.
    (Copyright Ilan Kelman 2004.)

Solomon Islands Solomon Islands' Flag

Some Resources:

Commentary by Ilan Kelman on 5 January 2003:

On 28 December 2002, the islands of Tikopia and Anuta of the Solomon Islands suffered one of the most severe tropical cyclones ever recorded in the area, Category 5 Cyclone Zoe. Tikopia and Anuta are accessible only by boat and are isolated and remote even by small island standards. After the tropical cyclone passed, no communication could be established with the islands.

Rather than governments taking the initiative to discover what had happened to their own people or neighbours, it took a Western (Kiwi) film-maker, Geoff Mackley, to hire a Cessna in Vanuatu. On 1 January 2003, he broke the story of complete devastation, a contaminated water supply, and a few survivors improvising shelter.

The photographs below were taken during the flight over Tikopia and Anuta on 1 January 2003 by Geoff Mackley who kindly gave his permission for the images to be reposted here.

Cyclone Zoe damage, photo courtesy Geoff Mackley

Cyclone Zoe damage, photo courtesy Geoff Mackley

Mackley's trip was the first contact which the outside world had had with these islands since the cyclone had hit, but he could not land due to a lack of an airstrip. Mackley reported "every tree on the island has been blown over or shredded, the island is completely denuded of vegetation, almost every building has been damaged, quite a few remain traditional huts remain intact, while others have been shredded, and the sea has come through some villages and run into the lake which is the islands only water source, this sort of destruction is normally seen only after a strong tornado or volcanic eruption, a number of people, maybe 20 came down to the beach to watch us fly over, my pilot said he counted about 100 people in total, some signalled us with sheets of white plastic, others just sat there". His words were irresponsibly misquoted by some media which reported that everyone was dead and that the islands were flattened by tornadoes.

Movement towards relief operations occurred only after Mackley's story broke, but further delays resulted from the Solomon Islands government’s lack of money to pay for ships, crews, and supplies. Australia and New Zealand donated money, but with concerns about corruption since previous aid to the Solomon Islands had been squandered. Then, logistics issues including weather and seeking a larger vessel further delayed the trip.

In the meantime, an Australian military aircraft flew over the islands. The crew contradicted some of Mackley's statements, in particular not painting such a bleak picture, yet they produced no solid evidence to back up their statements. For example, they suggested that the people were okay because they were building and repairing shelters. After five days, it should be obvious that people will start to reconstruct, irrespective of losses experienced (or, perhaps, not experienced). The building of shelter after a disaster, as with eating and drinking, indicates common sense and a desire to meet individuals' and communities' basic needs.

After Cyclone Zoe, photo courtesy Geoff Mackley

After Cyclone Zoe, photo courtesy Geoff Mackley

Photographs taken during a flight over Tikopia and Anuta on 1 January 2003 by Geoff Mackley who kindly gave his permission for the images to be reposted here.

For The Weekend Australian, Mackley hired a helicopter in Vanuatu and landed on Tikopia Island with some relief supplies on 3 January 2003. All the islanders had survived by sheltering in caves which they regularly use to shelter from cyclones. Their food and water situation, however, was dire. As well, one islander estimated that, due to the destruction, they might not be able to be self-sufficient in food for three years.

From one perspective, the affected islanders did exactly what they should have done and managed to reduce their vulnerability by being aware of the impending storm, warning the community, and acting appropriately and timeously to the warnings. Some commentators had stated that these islanders are entirely self-sufficient and are used to dealing with severe cyclones. Nonetheless, the disinterest displayed by governments in acting swiftly shows a lack of common sense and basic respect in checking that compatriots and neighbours are okay, particularly when it was unclear if sustainability endeavours have been supported or successful in the past. If a film-maker could do it, so could governments.

Concerns were raised about political issues hampering relief efforts. The Solomon Islands' government and the people of Tikopia and Anuta were reported to be from different ethnic groups which has led to tension and non-payment of taxes. As well, the closest inhabited islands to Tikopia and Anuta belong to Vanuatu. The possibly most efficient relief operation would then have been based in a different country, potentially causing loss of face to the Solomon Islands.

Narrower, specific questions also need to be answered. When the Australian military aircraft flew over the islands, why did they not parachute in a basic communication device such as a radio or satellite phone (whichever would work better) along with instructions on how to use it? Even better, why did someone not parachute in with communication devices and some basic supplies? They would not be on the island for more than one week and they could have assessed the situation and reported back immediately.

Rescue services and the military risk their lives to rescue daredevils in races or doing stunts, including incidents in the middle of the sea. Australia paid Pacific islands to take refugees that were not good enough to set foot on Australian soil. Yet they could not do a small, quick, relatively cheap, relatively less risky task for people in need through little fault of their own.

As a precautionary measure, airdrops of food and water could have been made. If these supplies were not needed, then little would have been lost (assuming that the airdrops did not land on something valuable or on people, as has happened in the past). Such airdrops were conducted by the military during the war in Afghanistan at the end of 2001, so the logistics capability exists. Tikopia is clearly within helicopter range, so why did no government bother?

Mackley also compiled a list of stupid statements made on the situation by politicians. These statements, corroborated by other reports, show an astounding lack of interest in establishing facts along with a reprehensible attitude towards human beings suffering disaster. Has the West really become so insular--creating our own societal islands--and so insensitive that we do not even care that such attitudes augment our own social vulnerabilities?

Cyclone Zoe has epitomised the vulnerabilities and isolation of islands. The vulnerabilities were exacerbated, and the isolation was enhanced, by inexcusable human decisions and actions outside the islands affected by the immediate disaster. A new disaster, one of not caring, has emerged. This disaster has far more grievous long-term consequences than the initial event which led to this situation.

Tonga Tonga's Flag

Ship Said to Have Been Sunk During Cyclone Isaac in 1982.

Ship Said to Have Been Sunk During Cyclone Isaac in 1982.
(Copyright Ilan Kelman 2004.)

Some Resources:
  • Brown, R.P.C. and E. Jimenez. 2008. "Policy Arena: Estimating the Net Effects of Migration and Remittances on Poverty and Inequality: Comparison of Fiji And Tonga". Journal of International Development, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 547-571.

  • Evans, M. 1999. "Is Tonga's Mirab Economy Sustainable? A View From The Village And A View Without It". Pacific Studies, vol. 22, nos. 3-4, pp. 137-166.

  • Evans, M. 2001. Persistence of the Gift: Tongan Tradition in Transnational Context. Wilfrid Laurier University Press, Waterloo, Canada.

  • Jeffery, L. 2010. Niuatoputapu: Story of a Tsunami. Tonga Books, Nuku'alofa, Tonga.

  • Kingdom of Tonga, National Disaster Management Plan and Emergency Procedures. 1997. Government of the Kingdom of Tonga, Nuku'alofa, Tonga.

  • Kroenke, L.W. 1977 (15 September - 29 October). Consultants Report (about a trip to Tonga). For the COP/SOPAC Technical Secretariat. SOPAC, Suva, Fiji.

  • Latukefu, T. 1986. "A Tongan Perspective on the Impact of Disaster Emergency Aid Following Cyclone Isaac", AODRO Newsletter, (Australian Overseas Disaster Response Organisation), vol. 4, no. 3 (September), p. 10-14, full text (553 kb in PDF)

  • Lewis, J. 1978. Mitigation and Preparedness for Natural Disaster in the Kingdom of Tonga. Summary of the Report of a Technical Assistance Assignment under the auspices of the Ministry of Overseas Development, London to the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga. Undertaken in June and July 1978. Report submitted August 1978, full text (68 kb in PDF).

  • Lewis, J. 1979. "Volcano in Tonga". Journal of Administration Overseas, vol. XVIII, no. 2 (April), pp. 116-121, full text (327 kb in PDF).

  • Moeake Tokai and his wife.

    James Lewis writes (2 February 2008): "Town Officer Moeake Tokai and his wife the day after he had recounted to me the story of the 1946 eruption and subsequent evacuation from Niua Fo'ou. Taken at their house on 'Eua, Tonga in 1978".
    (Copyright James Lewis 1978.)

  • Lewis, J. 1981. "Some Perspectives on Natural Disaster Vulnerability in Tonga". Pacific Viewpoint, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 145-162.

  • Lewis, J. 1988 (December). Sea Level Rise, Tonga Tuvalu (Kiribati): Report of a rapid field reconnaissance mission, November 1988. Commonwealth Expert Group on Climatic Change and Sea-Level Rise, Commonwealth Secretariat, London, U.K., full text (2,690 kb in PDF).

  • Lewis, J. 1989 (January). "Affordability and participation, need and vulnerability: Post-cyclone rehousing in Tonga". Presented at the Sixth Inter-Schools Conference on Development, March 1989, Centre for Development Planning Studies, the University of Sheffield, full text (376 kb in PDF).

  • Murofushi, T. and N. Hori. 1997. “Human impact on mangrove habitats maintenance against sea-level change: case study of Tongatapu island, the Kingdom of Tonga, South Pacific”. Geographical Reports of Tokyo Metropolitan University 32: 27-42.

  • Nunn, P.D. 2004. "Myths and the Formation of Niue Island, Central South Pacific". The Journal of Pacific History, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 99-108. [This paper includes a significant amount of material on the myths and formation of Tonga.]

  • Nunn, P.D. and E. Wadell. 1992. Implications of Climate Change and Sea Level Rise for the Kingdom of Tonga: Report of a Preparatory Mission. SPREP, Apia, Samoa, full text (4,170 kb in PDF).

  • Orams, M.B. 2001. "From Whale Hunting to Whale Watching in Tonga: A Sustainable Future?". Journal of Sustainable Tourism, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 128-146.

  • Oliver, J. 1986. "The Environment of Disaster Aid: The Socio-Economic Impact of Cyclone Isaac on Tonga, March 1982", AODRO Newsletter, (Australian Overseas Disaster Response Organisation), vol. 4, no. 3 (September), p. 4-10, full text (789 kb in PDF).

  • Oliver, J. and G.F. Reardon. 1982. Tropical Cyclone 'Isaac': Cyclonic Impact in the Context of the Society and Economy of the Kingdom of Tonga. Disaster Investigation Report No. 5, Center for Disaster Studies, James Cook University of North Queensland, Townsville, Australia, full text (10,140 kb in PDF).

  • Pelesikoti, N. 2006. Sustainable Resource and Environmental Management In Tonga: Current Situation, Community Perceptions and A Proposed New Policy Framework. PhD dissertation from Environmental Science, Faculty Of Science, University Of Wollongong, Australia, full text (2,916 kb in pdf).

    The success of Tonga's current and future development depends on sustainable management of its natural resources. However, with increasing population, changing socio-economic aspirations and activities, the quality and quantity of the biophysical environment are declining. This is likely to be exacerbated if the major environmental issues are not addressed immediately. Unsustainable practices in agriculture and fishing, and population related pressures such as waste generated and increasing demand for natural recourses coupled with a specific system of management have been identified as the major causes of environmental degradation. The Government has not been committed to sustainable management of natural resources and to the management of the outputs of resource use. Thus, most of the previous legislation and policies have lacked provisions for environmental consideration in socioeconomic developments. This work aimed to fulfill a number of objectives that contribute to the process of sustainable resource and environmental management in Tonga. These are: 1) assessing the state of the environment; 2) evaluating the barriers to sustainable resource and environmental management; 3) determining the development priorities of the community in Tonga; and 4) formulating of a new national policy framework for sustainable resource and environmental management.

  • Quesada, C. 2005. "Les hommes et leurs volcans: représentations et gestion des phénomènes volcaniques en Polynésie (Hawaii et Royaume de Tonga)". Journal de la Société des Océanistes, vol. 1/2, pp. 120-121.

  • Reardon, G. 1992. "Wind Effects on the Tongan 'Hurricane House'". Chapter 20 in Y. Aysan and I. Davis (eds.), Disasters and the Small Dwelling: Perspectives for the UN IDNDR, James & James, London, U.K.

  • Reardon, G. and K. Eaton. 1986. Article about tropical cyclone Isaac hitting Tonga, AODRO Newsletter, (Australian Overseas Disaster Response Organisation), vol. 4, no. 2 (June), p. 11-13, full text (453 kb in PDF)

  • Rogers, G. 1981. "The Evacuation of Niuafo' ou, an Outlier in the Kingdom of Tonga". The Journal of Pacific History, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 149-163.

  • Spennemann. D.H.R. (1987) “The impact of cyclonic surge on archaeological sites in Tonga”, Bulletin of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association 7: 75-87.

  • Taylor, T. 2010 (May). A Study of Sustainable Social Progress in the Kingdom of Tonga. Masters Thesis, Lund University International Master’s Programme in Environmental Science and Sustainability Studies, Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies.

  • Taylor, P.W. 1995. "Myths, Legends and Volcanic Activity: An Example From Northern Tonga". The Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol. 104, no. 3, pp. 323-346.

  • Vea'ila, T.T. 2002. The Environment and Resources of Tonga. Curriculum Development Unit, Nuku'alofa, Tonga.

  • Tongilava, S.L. 1994 (November). Traditional Practices and their Implications for Sustainable Development in Tonga. SPREP (South Pacific Regional Environment Programme) Reports and Studies Series no. 71, full text (3,392 kb in PDF).

  • van der Velde, M., S.R. Green, M. Vanclooster, and B.E. Clothier. 2007. "Sustainable development in small island developing states: Agricultural intensification, economic development, and freshwater resources management on the coral atoll of Tongatapu". Ecological Economics, vol. 61, no. 2-3, pp. 456-468.

  • van der Velde, M., M. Javaux, M. Vanclooster, and B.E. Clothier. 2006. "El Niño-Southern Oscillation determines the salinity of the freshwater lens under a coral atoll in the Pacific Ocean". Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 33, paper L21403.

Environmental Damage, Said to be From Cyclone Heta in 2004.

Environmental Damage, Said to be From Cyclone Heta in 2004.
(Copyright Ilan Kelman 2004.)

Tuvalu Tuvalu's Flag

Some Resources:
  • Allen, L. 2004. "Will Tuvalu Disappear Beneath the Sea?" Smithsonian, 2004, vol. 35, no. 5, pp. 44-53.

  • Baines, G.B.K., P.J. Beveridge, and J.E. Maragos. 1974 (December). "Storms and Island Building at Funafuti Atoll, Ellice Islands". pp. 485-496 in Proceedings of the Second International Coral Reef Symposium 2, Brisbane, Australia.

  • Baines, G.B.K. and R.F. McLean. 1976. "Re-Surveys of 1972 Hurricane Rampart of Funafuti Atoll, Ellice Islands". Search, vol. 7, no. 1-2 (Jan.-Feb.), pp. 36-37.

  • Bigg, G (compiler). 2001. "Leaving a Flooding Island". News in Weather, vol. 56, no. 9 (September), p. 286.

  • Church, J.A., N.J. White, and J.R. Hunter. 2006. "Sea-level rise at tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean islands". Global and Planetary Change, vol. 53, no. 3, pp. 155-168.

  • Connell, J. 1999. "Environmental Change, Economic Development, And Emigration In Tuvalu". Pacific Studies, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 1-20.

  • Connell, J. 2001. "An atoll state in peril". Tiempo, issue 42.

  • Connell, J. 2003. "Losing ground? Tuvalu, the greenhouse effect and the garbage can". Asia Pacific Viewpoint, vol. 44, issue 2 (August), p. 89.

  • Connell, J. and D. Conway. 2000. "Migration and Remittances in Island Microstates: A Comparative Perspective on the South Pacific and the Caribbean". International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 52-78.

  • Corlett, D. 2008. Stormy Weather: The Challenge of Climate Change and Displacement. University of New South Wales Press, Sydney, Australia.

  • Dahlström, J. 2008. In the Eye of the Storm – Risk Perception and Perceived Adaptive Capacity among Civil Society Leaders in Tuvalu. Masters thesis in Development Studies from the Department of Government, Uppsala University, Sweden, download the full text (3.0 MB in pdf).

    Tuvalu is a nation highly exposed to climatic changes, such as rising sea levels. It is so threatened that some studies suggest it will be uninhabitable within a few decades. Because it is understood that Tuvalu can do nothing to avoid this destiny, no focus has been placed on explaining the way social and ecological systems can actually avoid or adapt to environmental impacts. This scientific conceptualization foresees that environmental impacts on local ecologies cannot be completely attributed to global warming, but are also the fruit of human-led, unsustainable practices. Today unsustainability is a reality in Tuvalu, where natural protections against climate change are being explored. Previous studies have asserted that the people’s behavior influences the capacity of the Tuvaluan islands to adapt to climate changes. Therefore, in order to respond to this research gap, this study employs the Protection Motivation Theory (PMT), to examine the risk perception and perceived adaptive capacity among Tuvaluan civil society leaders. By doing so, this theory could suggest insights into whether maladaptive or adaptive outcomes are likely. The focus on civil society leaders is motivated by their strong capacity to make decisions on behalf of their communities due to the hierarchical Tuvaluan society. The result of this study shows that one reason why maladaptations occur is that no leaders had adaptive intentions in the first place, either because they were more worried about other perceived threats related to modernization or because of the disbelief that local actions could be effective in resisting climate changes. Modernization priorities, religious views, and threat experience appraisal were the factors found to greatly influence how leaders perceived climate changes.

  • Dickinson, W.R. 1999. "Holocene Sea-Level Record on Funafuti and Potential Impact of Global Warming on Central Pacific Atolls". Quaternary Research, vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 124-132.

  • Drezner, D.W. 2001. "Sovereignty for Sale". Foreign Policy, September/October, no. 126, pp. 76-77.

  • Ede, P.M. 2003. "That Sinking Feeling". Earth Island Journal, Winter 2002-03, pp. 39-40.

  • Eschenbach, W. 2004. "Tuvalu Not Experiencing Increased Sea Level Rise". Energy & Environment, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 527-543. See the response Hunter, J.R. 2004. "COmments on 'Tuvalu not Experiencing Increased Sea Level Rise'". Energy & Environment, vol. 15, no. 5, pp. 925-930.

  • Falani, P. c. 1972. Te Alikeni i Funafuti, Tuvalu; The Hurricane in Funafuti, Tuvalu. (Publisher not indicated.)

  • Farbotko, C. 2005. "Tuvalu and climate change: Constructions of environmental displacement in the Sydney Morning Herald". Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography, vol. 87, no. 4, pp. 279-293.

  • Farbotko, C. 2010. "Wishful sinking: Disappearing islands, climate refugees and cosmopolitan experimentation". Asia Pacific Viewpoint, vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 47-60.

  • Farbotko, C. and H. Lazrus. 2010. "The first climate refugees? Contesting global narratives of climate change in Tuvalu". Global Environmental Change, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 382-390.

  • Farbotko, C. and H.V. McGregor. 2010. "Copenhagen, Climate Science and the Emotional Geographies of Climate Change". Australian Geographer, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 159-166.

  • Finin, G.A. 2002. Small is Viable: The Global Ebbs and Flows of a Pacific Atoll Nation. East-West Center Working Papers No. 15, East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawai'i, U.S.A.

  • Gillett, R. 1988 (September). Tokelau and Tuvalu: An Atoll Fisheries Bibliography. Field Document 88/4, FAO/UNDP Regional Fishery Support Programme, Suva, Fiji.

  • Goldsmith, M. 2005. "Theories of governance and Pacific microstates: The cautionary tale of Tuvalu". Asia Pacific Viewpoint, vol. 46, no. 2, pp. 105-114.

  • Howorth, R. 1984. Report on Visit to Funafuti, Tuvalu: 25-27 June 1984. Trip Report No. 14, SOPAC, Suva, Fiji.

  • Jacobs, R.E. 2005. "Treading Deep Waters: Substantive Law Issues in Tuvalu's Threat to Sue the United States in the International Court of Justice". Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 103-128.

  • Lazrus, H. 2005. "The Role of Knowledge in Global Climate Change Governance: Modes of Legitimation in Tuvalu". Paper 10 at the University of California International and Area Studies' Breslauer Symposium, University of California, Berkeley, California, 1 December 2005.

  • Lazrus, H. 2009. Weathering the Waves: Climate Change Politics and Vulnerability in Tuvalu. PhD dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

    While climate change is a global phenomenon, its effects are being felt initially and most acutely in smaller social arenas and fragile environments, such as the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu (10°S, 170°E). In my dissertation research I investigate culturally specific understandings of weather, climate, and disasters associated with atmospheric hazards on Nanumea, the northernmost atoll in the Tuvaluan archipelago, and in the nation’s capital, on Funafuti. This broad investigation was narrowed to two specific case studies focusing on weather, climate, and disaster impacts on 1) freshwater and 2) marine resources. My objective has been to employ an actor-oriented model to examine local understandings of vulnerability and resilience – understood to be functions of cultural, social, economic, and political variables. In doing so I analyze how traditional knowledge and resource management systems of freshwater and marine resources as well as political action (such as infrastructure and policy development) may be seen to build or reduce coping and adaptive capacities at household, community, and national levels in the face of ecological change. The importance of impacts and analysis at different scales is emphasized; from individuals in local villages on a single islet in an atoll, to sovereign nations, to oceans, on up to the planet including its oceans and atmosphere.

    Analysis will be conducted of archival material, fieldnotes, interviews, surveys, focus group material, and participatory maps that employed satellite imagery and GPS. In particular, consensus analysis will be used to reveal patterns of agreement and the views that are most representative of the culture. I apply a theoretical framework that brings together resilience theory grounded in disaster research, traditional environmental knowledge theory from anthropology, and political ecology’s insistence on bringing politics and ecosystem dynamics into a single analytical frame.

    Research results indicate that traditional environmental knowledge and resource management, the products and politics of international development, and the legitimacy of political leaders, are each important to people’s sense of agency in relation to their perceived vulnerability and resilience to environmental changes and hazards. This dissertation: 1) advances research in disaster and environmental anthropology at a time when livelihoods around the world are being rendered increasingly vulnerable by providing local perspectives on vulnerability and resilience, and by focusing on governance of these issues; 2) provides downscaled climate knowledge from local environmental observations that is specific to an impacted culture and place, and; 3) establishes and tests an ethnographic research model that prioritizes local specificities as opposed to regional and global factors and that can be adapted to research on the effects of climate change across cultures and contexts.

  • Lewis, J. 1988 (December). Sea Level Rise, Tonga Tuvalu (Kiribati): Report of a rapid field reconnaissance mission, November 1988. Commonwealth Expert Group on Climatic Change and Sea-Level Rise, Commonwealth Secretariat, London, U.K., full text (2,690 kb in PDF).

  • Lewis, J. 1989. "Sea-level Rise: Some Implications for Tuvalu". Ambio, vol. 18, no. 8, pp. 458-459; Appropriate Technology, vol. 16, no. 2 (September), pp. 26-28; and The Environmentalist, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 269-275.

  • Maragos, J.E., G.B.K. Baines, and P.J. Beveridge. 1973. "Tropical Cyclone Bebe Creates a New Land Formation on Funafuti Atoll". Science, vol. 181, no. 4105 (21 September 1973), pp. 1161-1164.

  • McCubbin, S., B. Smit, and T. Pearce. 2015. "Where does climate fit? Vulnerability to climate change in the context of multiple stressors in Funafuti, Tuvalu". Global Environmental Change, vol. 30, pp. 43–55.

  • Morgan, M.R. 2002. "Sea-level Rise at Tuvalu". Letter in Weather, vol. 57, no. 6 (June), p. 229.

  • Mortreux, C. and J. Barnett. 2009. "Climate change, migration and adaptation in Funafuti, Tuvalu". Global Environmental Change, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 105-112.

  • National Disaster Plan. 1997. National Disaster Preparedness Working Group, Tuvalu.

  • Patel, S.S. 2006. "A Sinking Feeling". Nature, vol. 440, pp. 734-736.

  • Paton, K. and P. Fairbairn-Dunlop. 2010. "Listening to local voices: Tuvaluans respond to climate change". Local Environment, vol. 15, pp. 7, 687-698.

  • Radke, B.M. 1984. Visit to Tuvalu. Trip Report No. 13, SOPAC, Suva, Fiji.

  • Ralston, H., B. Horstmann, and C. Holl. 2004. Climate Change Challenges Tuvalu. Germanwatch, Bonn, Germany.

  • Reed, R. 2002 "Rising Seas and Disappearing Islands: Can Island Inhabitants Seek Redress Under the Alien Tort Claims Act?" Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 399-430.

  • Shen, S. and T. Binns. 2012. "Pathways, motivations and challenges: Contemporary Tuvaluan migration to New Zealand". GeoJournal, vol. 77, no. 1, pp. 63-82.

  • Shen, S. and F. Gemenne. 2011. "Contrasted Views on Environmental Change and Migration: the Case of Tuvaluan Migration to New Zealand". International Migration, vol. 49, no. S1, pp. e224–e242.

  • Shorten, G., S. Schmall, and S. Oliver. 2005 (June). Building capacity to insure against disaster in Tuvalu. SOPAC Technical Report 380, SOPAC, Suva, Fiji.

  • Smith, R.B., D.M. Rearic, E. Saphore, and F. Seneka. 1990 (July). Survey of Nukulaelae and Nukufetau Lagoons, Tuvalu, 3 April - 5 May 1989. SOPAC Technical Report 105, SOPAC, Suva, Fiji and Lands Department, Tuvalu.

  • SOPAC. c. 2003. Tuvalu: Country Profile. SOPAC, Suva, Fiji.

  • Taylor, A.J.W. 2000. "Tragedy and Trauma in Tuvalu". The Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies, vol. 2000-2, http://www.massey.ac.nz/~trauma/issues/2000-2/taylor.htm

  • Webb, A. 2005 (January). Tuvalu Technical and Country Mission Report - Assessment of Aggregate Supply, Pond and Lagoon Water Quality and Causeway Construction on Funafuti and Vaitapu Atolls: Fieldwork undertaken from 13th to 24th September 2004. EU EDF 8/9 – SOPAC Project Report 36: Reducing Vulnerability of Pacific ACP States, SOPAC, Suva, Fiji.

  • Webb, A. 2005/2006 (April). Tuvalu Technical Report – Coastal Change Analysis Using Multi-Temporal Image Comparisons – Funafuti Atoll. EU EDF 8/9 – SOPAC Project Report 54: Reducing Vulnerability of Pacific ACP States, SOPAC, Suva, Fiji.

  • Webb, A. 2007 (March). Tuvalu Technical Report: Assessment Of Salinity Of Groundwater in Swamp Taro (Cyrtosperma Chamissonis) "Pulaka" Pits In Tuvalu. EU EDF 8 – SOPAC Project Report 75: Reducing Vulnerability of Pacific ACP States, SOPAC, Suva, Fiji.

  • Yamano, H., H. Kayanne, T. Yamaguchi, Y. Kuwahara, H. Yokoki, H. Shimazaki, and M. Chikamori. 2007. "Atoll island vulnerability to flooding and inundation revealed by historical reconstruction: Fongafale Islet, Funafuti Atoll, Tuvalu". Global and Planetary Change, vol. 57, no. 3-4, pp. 407-416.

Collapsed roof after a storm on Vaitupu.

Collapsed roof after a storm on Vaitupu.
(Copyright Peter McQuarrie 2004.)

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