“The Land Beyond the Horizon” captures the stories of Pacific islanders whose lands and livelihoods are threatened by climate change, as well as those who have had to relocate to other countries, and discusses the impacts on their lives, cultures, languages and traditions.
The film also features exclusive footage and interviews with prominent leaders such as the President Anote Tong of Kiribati, Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga of Tuvalu and Mary Robinson, the United Nations Special Envoy on Climate Change – leaders in the frontline of climate change efforts throughout the world.
The PCCM project works to enhance the capacity of Pacific Island countries’ to address the impacts of climate change on migration and to use temporary and permanent migration as an adaptation strategy to climate change. The project is implemented by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Launching the film at Damodar Event cinemas, Ambassador Andrew Jacobs, Head of the European Union Delegation for the Pacific, explained: “The phenomenon of migration is going to become more significant in the Pacific.
People are starting to leave not just for economic reasons but because their very futures are threatened by climate change, by rising waters. The European Union is supporting the PCCM project to help prepare our partner governments for migration and to manage it in a way that really benefits those who are going to be leaving their countries, either temporarily or on a permanent basis.
Ambassador Jacobs continued: “We also want to help those countries who are going to be receiving the migrants to maximise the opportunities that the additional labour, expertise and experience can offer.”.
Iosefa Maiava, Head of UNESCAP said: "We are in a position to be the first generation to be able to solve the problems of poverty and inequality, but probably the last generation to do anything about climate change. It’s very important that we understand cultural realities - the way people think and behave - so that relevant policies on climate change and migration can be formulated.”
Sophia Kagan, Labour Migration Technical Officer, ILO Office for Pacific Island Countries in Suva said: “Ensuring that Pacific Islanders who are compelled to leave their homes due to environmental factors have options available to them requires that they have training and skills to meet immigration requirements in other countries. This is no easy task for small labour and education administrations in many Pacific Island countries, but opportunities for internationally recognised qualifications are improving, as is the ability of Pacific Islanders to take advantage of labour migration opportunities”.
“The Land Beyond the Horizon” was launched to coincide with the September theme of “Demography and Migration” as part of the 2015 European Year for Development campaign.