The Kaldor Centre welcomes today’s announcement of the Australia–Tuvalu Falepili Union Treaty, the world’s first bilateral agreement specifically on climate mobility.

Under the agreement, Australia will provide migration pathways for people from Tuvalu facing the existential threat of climate change.

‘It is ground-breaking,’ said Kaldor Centre Director Jane McAdam AO, whose pioneering research conceptualising ‘climate change-related displacement’ in international law continues to inform global responses today – when, every second, someone is displaced by the impacts of a disaster. 

Professor McAdam says:

‘The fact is that people are already moving. This isn't just a challenge of the future; it's happening right now. 

‘Our region is already experiencing some of the most drastic effects of climate change. Pacific communities are showing enormous innovation and resilience in the face of these challenges, but as a matter of international solidarity and climate justice, additional support and cooperation is needed. 

‘It is vital that the Australian government – along with other governments – plays its part in assisting Pacific communities affected by the adverse impacts of climate change and disasters. 

‘This treaty, which acknowledges Tuvaluans’ “deep, ancestral connections to land and sea”, commits Australia to working with Tuvalu to help people “stay in their homes with safety and dignity”. 

‘At the same time, people want to know that they have safe options to move if they need to – with dignity and choice – and the treaty offers some that opportunity. The measures announced today will broaden the grounds on which people can move to Australia – beyond employment alone.

‘It is a bilateral arrangement between Australia and Tuvalu, it may help to pave the way for similar arrangements across the region and – ultimately – a regional mobility scheme.’