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At Home or Abroad: Tuvaluans Shaping a Tuvaluan Future

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posted on 2021-11-09, 01:00 authored by Paton, Kathryn Louise

If development is to be sustainable, it is vital to plan and act with all possible futures in mind and for communities to be engaged and empowered so that development meets local needs. Throughout the international development community, there have been regular calls for people to act locally, but think globally. Yet, as challenges become more complex, it is no longer enough to simply think globally. Where possible futures involve losing one's land and country, people need to be able to participate in making a better future for themselves, their families and their communities beyond their own borders. Tuvalu is a country that faces multiple possible futures that may have severe impacts on its people, including the possibility of forced migration. As a country with many development needs, Tuvalu has created Te Kakeega II: National Strategies for Sustainable Development - 2005-2015, which acknowledges the need for participation and cross-sectoral collaboration. This thesis examines the mechanisms that exist to engage Tuvaluans in their development. It reviews whether Tuvaluans actually participate in these processes and whether there are any barriers to participation. It also investigates to what extent the mechanisms for participation are helping Tuvalu confront the contemporary and complex issue of climate change. People who are forced to migrate because of changes in their environment have no rights under international law and thus risk becoming disempowered. If Tuvaluans are forced to migrate because of climate change, they risk losing any gains they have made at home. Unlike many forced migration situations, Tuvaluans have time to participate in the preparations for such a future. To what extent are they enabled and empowered to do this? How, and who, do they think should prepare for this possible future?


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Development Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Development Studies

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Fairbairn-Dunlop, Peggy