Neighbourliness and Australia’s Contribution to Regional Migration Strategies for Climate Displacement in the Pacific

  • Bridget Lewis Queensland University of Technology


The prospect of widespread displacement in the Pacific as a result of climate change is becoming increasingly likely and it is possible that many will eventually need to relocate to other countries. Regional migration strategies not only offer the potential to minimise the harms of relocation, while acknowledging existing relationships of friendship and regional cooperation. This article examines the use of the language of ‘neighbourliness’ in Australia’s regional climate change strategies and argues that, while it expresses friendship, such language can also be employed to avoid the creation of stronger obligations. The article considers the international doctrine of good neighbourliness and concludes that, while international legal obligations may not yet exist, Australia should nonetheless begin planning for regional migration within the Pacific to allow people to migrate with dignity.


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