Climate Finance and the Marshall Islands: Options for Adaptation

Climate Finance and the Marshall Islands: Options for Adaptation


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The integrity of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI)’s physical territory is at risk due to the impacts of climate change. The atolls of the RMI are only a few meters above sea level, and increasingly frequent storms, drought, and severe weather events may render them uninhabitable [1] without immediate and long-term adaptation strategies. The RMI, like other small island developing states (SIDS), must choose and design effective adaptation options, as well as navigate how to finance them when the cost exceeds their financial means. Therefore, they require “climate finance,” dedicated funding to address the impacts of climate change.

This brief describes the adaptation options the RMI may consider and the finance available to support those choices. Part One describes potential Adaptation Choices, focused on the Preservation of Existing Islands, Construction of Artificial Islands, Planned Resettlement, and further Legal and Political Options that may arise through the Compact of Free Association (COFA) and other possible regional agreements. Part Two outlines Climate Finance Mechanisms in more detail, providing a Climate Finance Overview, a focus on Climate Finance and SIDS, and finally a discussion of The Role of Climate Finance in the RMI. The Conclusion discusses the possibility of a multi-part strategy: investing in measures to preserve island habitability, taking steps to advocate and attract financing for long-term adaptation measures, and negotiating to secure political and legal rights through existing or new agreements.

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Marshall Islands Climate Change and Migration Project, University of Hawai'i at Manoa


Climate change, Marshall Islands


Environmental Law

Climate Finance and the Marshall Islands: Options for Adaptation