The White House announced yesterday (September 1) that it was allocating nearly $40 million to build “resilience to climate change and advance clean-energy development by building regional, national and local capacity in the Pacific Islands to prepare for and help mitigate the negative impacts of climate change.”

Island inhabitants, many Native, are being forced off of their land as sea levels rise, making coastal communities unlivable. In May 2016, the Guardian reported on five smaller Pacific Islands which disappeared as a result of sea levels rising and coastal erosion. No one lived on these islands, but on six neighboring ones “entire villages were destroyed and people forced to relocate,” the Guardian wrote.

The allocated funds are meant to help islanders adapt to natural disasters and fortify their ability to survive climate change impacts, such as coastal erosion. The money is a part of the president’s greater conservation efforts, as he discussed in an address at the World Conservation Congress, which opened yesterday.