Mitigating Impacts of Climate Change Induced Sea Level Rise by Infrastructure Development: Case of the Maldives
Akiko Sakamoto, Koichi Nishiya, Xuanjin Guo, Airi Sugimoto, Waka Nagasaki, and Kaito Doi
Global Infrastructure Fund Research Foundation Japan
Roppongi T-Cube 14F, 3-1-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0032, Japan
Of the four atoll countries in the world, the Maldives has the lowest average elevation. Therefore, it is likely to be the first country to lose its land when the sea level rises due to climate change. As a countermeasure to sea level rise, the government of the Maldives is constructing an artificial island called Hulhumalé by raising an atoll adjacent to the capital city of Malé. Other atoll countries may employ the same method to adapt to the anticipated sea level rise. There is a concern that people who are forced to relocate to the artificial island will be affected in various ways. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to identify measures to reduce the potential impacts of migration to artificial islands. This study aimed to identify factors that will work effectively to satisfy migrants from outside the Malé region to Hulhumalé. At this stage, sea level rise is not a motivating factor for migration to Hulhumalé. For the time being, enhancing high-income employment and high-level education in Hulhumalé, which are the main motivations for migration, will help sustain voluntary migration. Over the past two decades, rapid economic growth has changed the desire of Maldivians. Hulhumalé is attracting people with its new urban environment and employment opportunities. A small-scale questionnaire survey on the satisfaction level of post-migration life was conducted among the residents of Hulhumalé and the results showed that those who changed their jobs before and after migration were less satisfied with their migration than those who did not. In Hulhumalé, smart cities are being developed and new types of employment are being created. In order to facilitate the smooth migration of residents from remote islands, policies that focus on occupational changes before and after migration are needed, such as public job placement programs that enable migrants to find the same jobs that they had before migration, and job training programs that prepare them for career changes and enable them to adapt smoothly to new jobs. At present, mental health issues among migrants are not a major problem. Strengthening people-to-people networks through the use of information technology (IT) will contribute to smooth migration and resettlement.
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