Humanitarian trends and challenges for the Pacific region

Research reports and studies
July 2015
This briefing report supports the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) consultation for the Pacific region. It sets out the current humanitarian challenges and trends in the post-2015 era.

The Pacific is a vast region made up of small islands and atolls that are at high risk from a range of natural disasters, including cyclones, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, droughts and bushfires. These frequent and recurrent hazards erode developmental gains and leave many small island developing states dependent on international assistance.

At the same time, other risk factors are emerging, including the rapid increase of urban populations and corresponding challenges regarding service delivery,housing and employment for this growing segment of the Pacific population. This briefing report lays out some stark predictions for the Pacific and its future. There is high confidence that by 2030–2040 Pacific Island Countries and Territories will be threatened by the impacts of climate change, particularly the interaction of global sea level rises and increasingly severe weather events.

There are well-founded fears that the impacts of climate change will threaten the very existence of low-lyingisland states, and many communities are already taking steps to relocate. Displacement and migration are expected to intensify, placing extra pressure on vulnerable communities. Despite a history of limited large-scale conflict in the region, there are concerns that these impacts will lead to tension and violence as communities compete for increasingly scarce resources.