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Good Fishing in Rising Seas: Kandholhudhoo, Dhuvaafaru, and the Need for a Development-Based Migration Policy in the Maldives

  • Andrea C. SimonelliEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Global Migration Issues book series (IOMS, volume 6)

Abstract

Recent research has shown that many people dependent on environmentally-based livelihoods have begun to use migration as a method of adaptation to deal with climate stresses on their livelihoods. Utilizing circular, seasonal, and temporary migration can assist households dependent on natural resources such as those in the agricultural sector. While this strategy can be employed by individuals and households through their own agency, there are others for whom migration as adaptation is needed but harder to realize. This is the case for some fishing communities in the Maldives. Isolated and close to sea level, Kandholhudhoo is a case study in the deterioration of living conditions before an economic base and the limits of adaptive capacity. For many years, rising seas have battered this small and over-crowded island, flooding homes and damaging buildings. Local interviews provide evidence of resilience, but also a lack of options. Inhabitants detail rising seas within their lifetimes and individual strategies for coping with the changes they have experienced such as replacing their belongings. The specific vulnerabilities of isolated islands to climate change necessitates a policy response to allow for individual agency to be more freely used. Not every interviewee desired to choose mobility, but most could not afford it even if they had wanted to. Development policy has the potential to assist those seeking to utilize internal migration as adaptation, but in the Maldives the process has been slow and has only benefitted a few. Policy suggestions which consider issues of overpopulation, island structural integrity, a limited economic resource base, and temporality are proposed.

Keywords

Climate change Maldives Adaptation Migration Development 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Adaptation Strategies InternationalUniversity of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA

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