Community-led relocation effort by the Carteret Islanders who face extinction from climate change impacts and extreme weather events

Country: Papua New Guinea

Organization: Tulele Peisa

Representative: Ursula Rakova

Email: rakovaursula@gmail.com


WINNER

Description of the project: This project aims to prepare and work with three host communities on Bougainville to ensure that there is adequate land, infrastructure and economic opportunities to include Carterets people – work with 1700 Carterets people to prepare them for voluntary relocation on Bougainville through counselling, agriculture, income generation, education, health and community development training programmes – establish a conservation and marine management area for sustainable use of marine resources for Carterets Islanders – and increase awareness about the plight of Carterets people and the complexities surrounding their relocation to new communities.

Climate Impact: Due to climate change scientists predict that between 2020 and 2040, the island atoll of the Carterets will be completely submerged by the ocean. In the meantime, the inability to grow sufficient nutritious foods as well as island erosion caused by King Tides cannot be reversed even if all global CO2 emissions ceased today. In the absence of a coordinated government response, the Carteret Elders called on Ursula Rakova to lead Tulele Peisa and work with the community for a strategic plan to relocate to mainland Papua New Guinea.

Gender Impact: The Carteret Islanders, like other Melanesian peoples, are a matrilineal society. The women are the landowners. As awareness grows globally of Ursula’s skills and accomplishments in community relocation and sustainable development, despite incredible odds, she will join the ranks of Wangari Maathai and Sheila Watt-Cloutier, demonstrating the power and essential role of women’s leadership in effective climate change response. To ensure that the Carteret Islanders can survive in their new homes, Ursula has founded a cocoa cooperative of 640 small farmers in Bougainville, mostly women, to create a reliable stream of income to sustain both the Islanders and their new neighbors as they forge a future together.