Migration and mobility are central features of the Pacific Islands landscape. The diverse island States dispersed throughout the world’s largest ocean are connected by thousands of years of migration, history and culture. Mobility continues to remain a cornerstone of contemporary Pacific Islander identity and is central to many facets of Pacific Islands life. Both push and pull factors – such as marriage and maintenance of kin relations, trade and exchange, livelihood and economic opportunities, and displacement and resettlement from conflict or environmental hazards – motivate movement.
Mobility brings both opportunities and challenges. With increasing rates of mobility and the expansion of extractive industries such as forestry, mining and commercial fishing in the region, it is of particular importance to understand potential community health challenges and vulnerabilities that may impact the populations and communities affected by these changes. Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is a worldwide public health issue, and emerging evidence from Solomon Islands has demonstrated that migration-affected communities face particular challenges in relation to community health and VAWG, including increased risk of sexual exploitation, trafficking and abuse. Despite the high number of anecdotal reports on this issue, little evidence or data currently exists that specifically addresses the nexus of gender, mobility and health in the Pacific. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Community Health and Mobility in the Pacific (CHAMP) project has been established to address this gap. This report focuses on this nexus in the Solomon Islands context.