SYDNEY — Australia has offered refuge to citizens of Tuvalu because of the impacts of climate change, in a landmark pact.
Tuvalu — a series of low-lying atolls in the Pacific — is among the nations most at risk from rising seas.
It is home to 11,200 people and has repeatedly called for greater action to combat climate change.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese described it as a “ground-breaking” agreement.
“It will be regarded as a significant day in which Australia acknowledged that we are part of the Pacific family, and with that comes the responsibility to act,” he told reporters on Friday.
The new treaty — known as the Falepili Union — is the “most significant” agreement between Australia and a Pacific country ever, he added.
Up to 280 people per year will be granted the new visas, which will allow them to live, work and study in Australia.
Along with setting up a new migration pathway for residents of Tuvalu, the agreement also promises Australian assistance to the nation on climate action and security.
Tuvalu Prime Minister Kausea Natano called it “not just a milestone but a giant leap forward in our joint mission to ensure regional stability, sustainability and prosperity”. — BBC