Australia: Tuvalu Accepts Climate Migration and Security Agreement

Australia: Tuvalu Accepts Climate Migration and Security Agreement
Image copyright: Mario Tama/Staff/Getty Images News via Getty Images

The Facts

  • On Tuesday, Australia's Pacific Minister Pat Conroy informed parliament that the newly elected Tuvaluan administration had chosen to move forward with the climate and security migration deal called the "Falepili Union."

  • Prime Minister, Feleti Teo said the agreement that was announced in November lacked consultation rights and safeguards for Tuvalu's sovereignty. The controversy centers around a provision that Australia can veto any security arrangement Tuvalu makes with a third party.


The Spin

Narrative A

The Falepili Union is a historic agreement. Both Tuvalu and Australia benefit. On one hand, it will allow Tuvaluans to migrate gradually and with dignity, as the Pacific Island nation is at risk of disappearing due to climate change. On the other hand, this three-part integration initiative marks a significant victory for Canberra in its efforts to keep Beijing at bay in the region.

Narrative B

Australia has long been the bully in the South Pacific, acting as the manager of the US in what they perceive as the country's backyard and treating island nations as vassal states with a colonialist mentality. This treaty with Tuvalu is just the latest attempt to protect its hegemonic system while more constructive actors in a multipolar world, like China, seek to ramp up cooperation and economic exchange in Oceania.


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