When Pacific island leaders gathered in Nauru this month, they issued a security declaration affirming climate change as the “single greatest threat” to the region.

That climate change is a threat to Pacific islands is in some ways obvious; indeed the climate change wording in the “Boe Declaration on Regional Security” was derived from previous Forum leaders’ communiques. What is new is the explicit recognition, in a security declaration, that climate change is the single greatest threat to the region.

Leaders from Pacific islands have long campaigned for recognition of climate change as a security issue, and particularly as a threat to the survival of low-lying atoll nations. In 1991, for example, Pacific leaders warned that global warming and sea level rise placed the cultural, economic and physical survival of Pacific nations “at great risk”. Over the decades since, they have lobbied at the United Nations for climate change to be understood as a security threat. As a bloc, Pacific island states want the UN Security Council to appoint a special rapporteur on the security threats posed by climate change.

Please click here to read the full “Climate change, at the frontlines” article published at The Interpreter, written by Griffith Asia Institute Adjunct Research Fellow, Dr Wesley Morgan.