The first 40 families of Carteret Islands, north of Ontong Java of Malaita Province are to be resettled to Bougainville by March next year.

Bougainville Administrator Raymond Masono says that they are still negotiating with landowners for land which they would resettle the islanders as their permanent home under the major climate change resettlement exercise.

He however says that the exercise would cost the Autonomous Bougainville and PNG Government millions of dollars starting next year through to 2014.

Carterets Islanders have become the world's first climate change refugees according to a recent United Nations Report.

The one-thousand-500 residents of Carterets Island, an atoll of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, are fast becoming the world's first climate change refugees as officially stated.

A third of the population had refused to leave their island because they claimed they had spent all their lives there and would not move or claimed they would sink and vanish with the island.

Sea levels around the atoll have risen 10 centimetres in the past 20 years, inundating plantations.

The situation is deteriorating, islanders told officials. They said they urgently needed assistance to be relocated to higher ground.

The ABG administration has already set up a committee to work on the resettlement programme to mainland Bougainville.