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October 17, 2016

The Global Challenge of Climate-Induced Migration

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The effects of global climate change go far beyond altering our environment and ecosystems. Climate change is impacting communities around the world along environmental, political, and social dimensions, affecting some nations and groups more acutely than others. Among those facing imminent threats are the residents of Kiribati, an island nation in the central Pacific Ocean, who face impending danger as rising sea levels threaten their livelihoods, homes, and very ability to remain on the island.

Anote Tong, former president of Kiribati, addressed the migration implications of climate change that face the global community. He discussed how his home country can support "migration with dignity" to avoid relocation of residents as climate refugees. He also engaged in conversation with Aaron Silberman (SFS '18) of the Environmental Futures Initiative, followed by questions from the audience.

This luncheon and conversation was co-sponsored by the Global Futures Initiative; the Georgetown Environment Initiative; the Environment Futures Initiative; and the Science, Technology and International Affairs program in the School of Foreign Service. It continued a semester-long dialogue about “The Global Future of the Environment."

His Excellency Anote Tong is the former president of the Republic of Kiribati. He was first elected as president in July 2003 and retired from politics in 2016. Tong is a strong climate change advocate and is the creator of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, one of the largest marine protected areas in the world.