A Changing Climate and Its Implications for Health and Migration in the Pacific: Examples from the Marshall Islands


Laura Brewington, Kelli Kokame, and Nancy Lewis

Asia Pacific Issues, No. 149


Honolulu, HI: East-West Center

Publication Date: September 24, 2021
Binding: electronic
Pages: 8
Free Download: PDF


Climate change impacts--temperature and rainfall changes, extreme events, sea-level rise, and ocean acidification--are amplifying health risks in vulnerable populations throughout the Pacific Islands, and also influence their mobility. This nexus of climate change, health, and migration is evident in the experience of the Marshall Islands. The nation and its population are dispersed over almost two million square kilometers of ocean, with sizeable diasporas in the United States. Climate impacts in the Marshall Islands exacerbate ongoing health threats, such as limited drinking water supplies, inadequate nutrition, and poor infrastructure. The out-migration of Marshallese is largely motivated by health, economic, education, and environmental reasons; therefore, planning for migrant movements should include adaptation strategies that also reduce health risks. A better understanding of how health, mobility, and climate change interact will help shape policy responses and provide useable climate information for focused, timely interventions that maximize health and well-being among populations in motion.