The low-lying Pacific island nation of Kiribati is considering purchasing land in Fiji to help secure a future threatened by rising sea levels.
Kiribati’s President Anote Tong is in talks to buy 23 sq km (9 sq miles) on Fiji’s Vanua Levu island.
The land is wanted for crops, to settle some Kiribati farmers and to extract earth for sea defences, reports say.
Some of Kiribati’s 32 coral atolls, which straddle the equator, are already disappearing beneath the ocean. None of the atolls rises more than a few metres above the sea level.‘Last resort’
Fiji, which is more than 2,000km (1,300 miles) away, is one of a number of countries that Kiribati hopes its population may be able to move to in the future.
The chairman of Fiji’s Real Estate Agents Licensing Board, Colin Sibary, said he was facilitating talks between Kiribati officials and a Fijian freeholder who owns the land on Vanua Levu.
“I’ve been working very hard on this for Kiribati for a year,” Mr Sibary told the BBC.
“After the purchase they will formalise a development plan which will include various farms to produce vegetables, fruit and meat for export to Kiribati.” More