Community relocation and immobility

Communities across Fiji are experiencing significant coastal changes including coastal erosion, tidal inundation, and soil salinity. These changes are affecting the everyday lives and livelihoods of people through damaging infrastructure, threatening livelihoods, and, in some cases, leading to the relocation of populations to less exposed areas. And yet, mobility responses are not predetermined with some communities and households preferring to remain.

Some communities and households may choose to remain, and at times even move into and between sites of coastal risk. Reasons for this can include cultural, social and economic connections to land where lives and livelihoods depend, which override preferences to relocate away from coastal exposure. In such cases, in situ adaptations such as building sea walls, planting in different locations, and accommodating risks can enable immobility.

In some cases, where environmental (as well as social, political and cultural) thresholds are met, communities and households may choose to relocate homes, community infrastructure and livelihoods to less exposed regions. This can occur with government assistance in the form of planned relocation, or independently through local socio-political and decision-making structures.