New Zealand Creates First Climate Change Refugee Visa Program

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31st January 2018

Size usually speaks volumes when it comes to moxie. The United States, Russia, China and even Canada with its sprawling landscape, are countries we think of as having the ability to change political mindset.

But tiny New Zealand?

Faced with the looming prospect of entire islands disappearing under rising sea levels, New Zealand is designing the world’s first climate change refugee visa program. Islands like Kiribati, which has been on the list for funding from the Green Climate Fund for years, is slowly being swallowed up by rising seas. Residents of Kirbati and Tuvalu, another Pacific Island, had applied to New Zealand for refugee status but were turned down since the state did not have a political mechanism by which to accept environmental refugees.

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Kiribati