As we near the start of this year’s Kaldor Conference, Whose move? Addressing migration and displacement in the face of climate change, we invite you to get to know some of our speakers. The #Kaldor21 conference meets from 19 to 21 October, just weeks before the global climate talks in Glasgow, and we’ve gathered world experts on all aspects of climate-related mobility to share evidence, experience and solutions. 

Salote Soqo is the Senior Partnership Officer at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), an international human rights organisation based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. An Indigenous Fijian, Salote leads UUSC’s climate justice and crisis response portfolio which focuses on protecting the rights of people at risk of climate displacement and on advancing equitable disaster relief and movements for disaster justice. 

At the Kaldor Conference, she will be part of the panel, Should I stay or should I go? Planned relocations, on 21 October. Ahead of that, Salote told us a little about her work, life, and what keeps her up at night.

What are you working on now – and why? 

I’m working to get UUSC’s partners from the global south to COP26, the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference. 

Why? To support the representation of the global south. What would a COP without the voices of the most affected look like? It will look like a white COP – we don’t want that to happen, so UUSC is committed to ensuring that our partners are able to be at COP. 

The global south is experiencing the disproportionate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which greatly limits their ability to afford safe travel and lodging, quarantining costs, COVID-tests and other basic logistics. These community leaders are already on the frontlines of the climate crisis and need to be at COP26.

What books are on your bedside table now?

Whose knees are these? by Jabari Asim (currently my toddler’s favourite bedtime book).

What about mobility and a changing climate keeps you up at night? 

There are two things that are always on my mind. One, the profound loss that people experience when they are forced to leave their homes and the possibility that they will never experience their homes again. Two, the trauma of being ‘in transition’ and the permanence of this.

At COP26, I’d like to see…

…more concrete action on Loss and Damage. 

That is, the economic and societal costs of climate change impacts; losses and damages are increasing now.

In 10 years, I’d like to see…

… legal protection for those that are forced to cross borders due to climate change.


You can learn more about the session featuring Salote Soqo and register for #Kaldor21 today, and read her blog post, 'A grassroots perspective on people displaced by climate change'.

You can follow Salote Soqo and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee on Twitter and Facebook.

You can read or listen to the Kaldor Centre’s latest research on planned relocations.