Global Migration Futures: Using scenarios to explore future migration in the Pacific
International Migration Institute, University of Waikato
In 2030, in the Pacific region, the total population of the island states and territories will exceed 14 million people, and the growth of the population in urban areas in Melanesia and Polynesia will be increasing steadily, despite the active discouragement of urbanisation for more than a century. In the Pacific, migration is a leading driver of urban growth, in contrast to other world regions where urban migration features less significantly and where natural increase is the leading factor fuelling urbanisation. ‘A critical question for politicians, planners and policy makers in the island countries as well as in Australia and New Zealand is how best to deal with the on-going urbanisation of Pacific peoples, especially of the populations of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu’, where more than 80 per cent of the population was living in rural areas as of 2010, and where the growth rates of the youth population – the most mobile of the age cohorts – are highest. Between September and December 2012, the International Migration Institute (IMI) of the University of Oxford and the University of Waikato collaborated on a project that endeavoured to help fill this gap by employing a scenario methodology developed by the Global Migration Futures project at IMI to examine future migration in the Pacific region. Using a number of research tools, the project engaged a group of Pacific migration experts and stakeholders from a cross section of private and public backgrounds to think innovatively about potential future migration dynamics and develop scenarios using their varied expertise.