The Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Environment, Mr. Rence Sore, has stated that relocation would not be forced upon inhabitants of the remote atoll of Ontong Java in the Solomon Islands.

The Ontong Java atoll is currently being threatened by the effects of climate change.

According to Mr. Sore, the relocation for Ontong Java atoll dwellers would only be done through intensive consultations.

Mr. Sore said they have been living next to the sea all their lives, eating fish and coconuts so these Islanders cannot be relocated to a place different from what they are used to.

He said the government is still talking to the people of Ontong Java on how best the islanders can be relocated.

But Mr. Sore said relocation for Solomon Islands is not the only option and that forced relocation could be a potential flash point in the future.

Mr. Sore said salt water intrusion had devastated taro swamps in Ontong Java atoll, one of the Islander's major food crops.

The Ontong Java atoll is an outlying part of the Malaita Province and its entire size is about 1400 km² and there are only 12 km² of land, spread out over 122 small islands. About 2000 people live on the atoll. (