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About this book

This book sheds new light on the limits of adaptation to anthropogenic climate change. The respective chapters demonstrate the variety of and interconnections between factors that together constitute the constraints on adaptation. The book pays special attention to evidence that illustrates how and where such limits have become apparent or are in the process of establishing themselves, and which indicates future trends and contexts that might prove helpful in understanding adaptation limits. In particular, the book provides an overview of the most important challenges and opportunities regarding adaptation limits at different temporal, jurisdictional, and spatial scales, while also highlighting case studies, projects and best practices that show how they may be addressed. The book presents innovative multi-disciplinary research and gathers evidence from various countries, sectors and regions, the goal being to advance our understanding of the limits to adaptation and ways to overcome or modify them.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Introduction: Limits to Adaptation

This introduction contextualise the issue of limits to adaptation and describes the papers which are presented on this book. 
Johanna Nalau, Walter Leal Filho

Limits to Climate Change Adaptation in Asia


Chapter 2. Strategies and Barriers to Adaptation of Hazard-Prone Rural Households in Bangladesh

The global farming communities have already experienced the impact of climate change in a range of ways and made their adaptation decision. Adaptation is, however, context-specific and varies across and within countries, which warrants location specific research. This chapter presents the strategies and barriers to adaptation of hazards-prone rural households in developing countries using Bangladesh as a case study. The cross-sectional survey data were collected from 380 riverbank erosion hazard prone rural households in Bangladesh. The results reveal that households have undertaken a range of farming and non-farming adaptation strategies, which vary significantly among farming groups. The large and medium farmers have adopted mainly agricultural adjustment, such as diversifying crops and tree plantation, whereas the small and landless farmers mostly adopted non-agricultural adjustments such as driving and migration. Access to credit and lack of information on appropriate adaptation strategies are among the important barriers to adaptation. Intervention by the government through planned adaptation, such as access to institutional and credit facilities, and new farming technologies and verities through agro-ecological based research are required to enhance the resilience of such vulnerable households.
G. M. Monirul Alam, Khorshed Alam, Shahbaz Mushtaq, Most Nilufa Khatun, Walter Leal Filho

Chapter 3. Governance Limits to Adaptation in Cambodia’s Health Sector

The purpose of this chapter is to explore governance limits to climate change adaptation in Cambodia’s health sector, as well as possibilities for change. Poor coordination across government sectors and a failure to prioritise human resource development result in climate change adaptation limits. This chapter explores these two areas of adaptation governance, focussing on government and international aid sector decisions and priorities that undermine effective adaptation in Cambodia’s health sector. The chapter highlights a pessimistic outlook for human resource development. Despite this some recent changes suggest a government with an increasing commitment to sustainable development, including adaptation, and these changes may support better coordination of adaptation.
Daniel Gilfillan

Chapter 4. Land-Based Strategic Model by Integrating Diverse Policies for Climate Change Adaptation in Nepal

There is a growing number of policies, guidelines and plans of action related to climate change with special attention to adaptation at different scales of global, regional, national and local levels. Each scale consists of a wide array of stakeholders with different roles and inter-relations. This research indicates that these stakeholders take their actions as directed by their own institutional mandates not necessarily as part of an integrated policy in adaptation to climate change. Such institutional fragmentation creates a gap in the implementation of an integrated policy both in climate information supply and in the delivery of climate services at local and community levels. The purposes of this research is to introduce a landbased strategic model for climate change adaptation services by integrating a variety of plans of action from the sectoral national policies related to land, environment, agriculture, forestry, meteorology and hydrology.
Adish Khezri, Arbind Man Tuladhar, Jaap Zevenbergen

Chapter 5. Climate Change and Migration in Bangladesh: Empirically Derived Lessons and Opportunities for Policy Makers and Practitioners

South Asia is one of the most densely settled and disaster-prone regions in the world. Furthermore, in many low-lying coastal contexts both slow-onset and rapid-onset natural disasters coalesce with existent conditions of poverty and vulnerability to progressively erode and compromise human adaptive capacity, resulting in a persistent flux of livelihood driven human migration into cities (A background video documentary to this research was published by UNSW Australia on 18 February 2015 and may be accessed at https://​youtu.​be/​PBJeelgnadU). While climate change cannot be isolated as the definitive cause of this movement, it is impossible to dismiss it as a contributing factor. Lack of basic education plays a key role in limiting options for arriving daily wage labourers and their respective families, constraining many to struggle for subsistence survival in subhuman conditions in urban slums where vulnerabilities have been described as even more severe than the problems in rural communities of origin that triggered the migrations in the first place. Drawing on field research conducted in Bangladesh, this paper examines the linkages between climate change and human movement with a view to encouraging more congenial migration and human development outcomes. It extends previous research by expressly inviting the grassroots perspectives of rural communities of origin in Bhola Island and urban centres of destination in Dhaka and Chittagong. The research develops recommendations in areas of poverty reduction, livelihood security, transitional education, and government planning. Experiences and lessons gathered in this paper will be useful for both policy and practice serving the cause of climate change adaptation in South Asia.
Johannes Luetz

Limits to Climate Change Adaptation in Africa


Chapter 6. Limits to Climate Change Adaptation in Zimbabwe: Insights, Experiences and Lessons

The need to climate proof Zimbabwe’s socio-economic development sectors is now a central theme in the country’s climate policy discourse. This stems from the realisation that most of the country’s areas and sectors are already showing signs of vulnerability to the change and variability in the climate system. Accordingly, climate change adaptation is no longer an option but an urgent requirement. However, scholarly attention to the topic has largely remained fragmented in synchrony with the segmented sectoral policy interventions in various adaptation efforts. Research that analyses the major factors underpinning successful adaptation is highly timely given that most of the empirical evidence point towards gaps in adaptive capacities across the country’s climate sensitive sectors. Driven by the acknowledgement that Zimbabwe’s adaptation efforts are chiefly stymied by its predisposition to non-climatic drivers of vulnerability, this paper shows that the country is already showing numerous signs of limits to adaptation. It draws the evidence from various insights and experiences in the agriculture, water, human settlements and health, energy and industry, and biodiversity sectors. Specifically, this report serves to document existing evidence of challenges in successful adaptation in order to guide adaptation policy and practice. In addition, it is intended that this illumination would provide Zimbabwe and other countries, in similar adaptation failure milieu, to formulate strategies meant to build resilience in areas and sectors already showing signs of maladaptation.
Nelson Chanza

Chapter 7. Pastoralists Shifting Strategies and Perceptions of Risk: Post-crisis Recovery in Damergou, Niger

During the 1970s and 80s, terrible Sahelian droughts, viewed as the beginning of regional climate change impacts, devastated pastoralist livelihoods. In Niger, many households left pastoralism; the rest tell how they slowly recovered. In 2009, another severe drought taxed pastoralist households, and at start of the 2010 rainy season, a tremendous storm killed most of their weakened livestock. Pastoralists, constrained by environmental degradation and socioeconomic changes, have few opportunities to build climate change adaptation capacity. Research with a Nigerien Woɗaaɓe community compares post-1984 and post-2010 recovery strategies to show how increased tolerance for certain risks helps some households take advantage of these rare opportunities. Less well-off families and especially women, less able to manage intolerable risks, adapt less easily.
Karen Marie Greenough

Chapter 8. Political Limits to Climate Change Adaptation Practices: Insights from the Johannesburg Case

Urban planning can play a potentially meaningful role in adapting cities to the effects of climate change. This, however, requires that planning itself changes in such a way that anticipated effects of climate change can be addressed, in addition to environmental risks to which cities are exposed today. In particular in the global south, adaptive planning options need to be mediated with responses to considerable pre-existing development challenges. This paper explores how the adoption of adaptive planning options is politically feasible in Johannesburg, a highly polarised metropolitan city in the global south. It brings to light political challenges in reconciling adaptation and development needs, both in potentially synergistic and non-synergistic options, and it outlines their potential implications for the possibility to realise local adaptive practices. The intention of this paper is to contribute to an emergent body of work that will progressively offer clearer insights into the extent to which adaptation practices are politically feasible, especially in cities with democratically constituted governments where negotiated prioritisation is required.
Karen Hetz

Chapter 9. Constraints and Limits to Climate Change Adaptation Efforts in Nigeria

Nigeria is experiencing adverse climate conditions with negative impacts on the welfare of millions of people. Persistent droughts and flooding, off season rains and dry spells have sent growing seasons out of track, in a country dependent on a rain-fed agriculture. The result is reduced water supplies for use in agriculture, hydro power generation and other users. It is widely believed that climate change is responsible for all these as reported in the 4th IPCC Assessment Report, which suggests that Africa will be worst hit by the effects of climate change of which Nigeria is a part. Farmers were facing a lot of climate change induced challenges on their farms of which flooding, erratic rainfall, high temperature and low crop yield are the most prominent. The Nigerian government have made efforts to curtail these challenges by promoting various adaptation measures. These include provision of improved crop varieties, fertilizers, irrigation schemes and geo-data. Most of these measures are not well received by the farmers due to cultural and religious sentiments, illiteracy, language barrier and unwillingness to change mode of farming. The paper assessed the adaptation measures and the barriers of adoption and proffered solutions for acceptance. The results of the study will be beneficial for agricultural ministries, departments and agencies in Nigeria and Sub-Sahara Africa.
Idowu O. Ologeh, Joshua B. Akarakiri, Francis A. Adesina

Chapter 10. Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change: Suitability of Banana Crop Production to Future Climate Change Over Uganda

The aim of this study was to determine suitability zones of future banana growth under a changing climate to guide the design of future adaptation options in the banana sub-sector of Uganda. The study used high resolution (~1 km) data on combined bioclimatic variables (rainfall and temperature) to map suitability zones of the banana crop while the Providing Regional Climate for Impacts Studies (PRECIS) regional climate model temperature simulations were used to estimate the effect of rising temperature on banana growth assuming other factors constant. The downscaled future climate projections were based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs, 2.6, 4.5, 6.0 and 8.5) and Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES, A1B and A2) across the period 2011–2090. The methodology involved identification of banana-climate growth thresholds and developing suitability indices for banana production under the high mitigation (RCP 2.6, less adaptation), medium mitigation (RCP 4.5 and RCP 6.0, medium adaptation), no mitigation (RCP 8.5, very high adaptation) scenarios, SRES A1B and A2 scenarios. The FAO ECO-Crop tool was used to determine and map future suitability of banana growth. Banana production indices were determined using a suitability model in the Geographical Information System (GIS) spatial analyst tool. The non-linear banana-temperature regression model was used to assess the impact of future changes in temperature on banana growth. The results revealed unique and distinct banana production suitability and growth patterns for each climate scenario in the sub-periods. RCPs 2.6 and 6.5 are likely to be associated with higher levels of banana production than RCPs 4.5 and 8.5. The results further showed that projected temperature increase under SRES A1B will promote banana growth. In contrast, expected increases in temperatures under SRES A2 are likely to retard banana growth due to high moisture deficits. There is need to develop adaptation option for farming communities to maximize their agricultural production and incomes. The effectiveness of adaptation options needed to combat the impacts will be influenced by the magnitude of the expected climatic changes associated with each scenario, the timing of expected climate change extremes and sensitivity of the crop to climate. This study has provided critical information that will be useful for planning integrated adaptation practices in the banana farming subsector to promote productivity.
Geoffrey Sabiiti, Joseph Mwalichi Ininda, Laban Ayieko Ogallo, Jully Ouma, Guleid Artan, Charles Basalirwa, Franklin Opijah, Alex Nimusiima, Saul Daniel Ddumba, Jasper Batureine Mwesigwa, George Otieno, Jamiat Nanteza

Chapter 11. Local Adaptation to Climate Extremes in Domboshawa: Opportunities and Limitations

The recent publication of IPCC’s fifth assessment report reaffirms that even drastic reductions of global greenhouse gas emissions will be insufficient to avoid some impacts of climate change. It is becoming increasingly clear that the temperature increase by the end of the century is likely to exceed the official target of +2 °C. Urgent efforts are thus more than ever needed to support socio-ecological systems threatened by climate change, but how to make coping and adaptation happen on the ground remains vague. There is a risk that climate funding may support initiatives that are actually harmful for the socio-ecological systems i.e. that foster adaptation in the short-term but insidiously affect systems’ long-term vulnerability and/or adaptive capacity to climate change. Focusing on a rural area in Zimbabwe, and using the qualitative research paradigm with the aim of providing insights to help avoiding maladaptation to climate change, this paper addresses the environmental, socio-cultural, institutions and policies that influence access to adaptations as well as economic dimensions of adaptation initiatives (policies, plans, projects). The options available to socio-ecological systems facing natural or anthropogenic disturbances depend on human characteristics, specifically those related to the environment (beliefs, risk perceptions, traditional uses of natural resources, etc.). Adaptation initiatives must therefore be consistent with the social characteristics and cultural values of the community concerned, and based on local capacities and knowledge in the field of environment and natural hazards. This means avoiding upsetting the socio-cultural equilibrium by developing skills at the community level and, at the same time, generating or maintaining collective responses. Communities feel the consequences of climate change hence adaptation is a prerequisite although a one size fits all approach may not help in the adaptation process. People’s behaviour, inertia, values and aims influence their adaptation/maladaptation. Adaptation is absolutely necessary and resonates with sustainable development although barriers to adaptation exist where individuals lack access to assets.
Vincent Itai Tanyanyiwa, Rejoice Madobi

Limits to Climate Change Adaptation in Australia, North-America and Europe


Chapter 12. The Limits of Imagination

This chapter examines the role of imagination when reflecting projected climate change impacts in assumptions of future environmental and social conditions. While it is clear that some nations will reach limits of environmental and social adaptation to climate change sooner than those that are highly developed, several current benefits gained from having a high adaptive capacity will diminish with recurrent impacts of unprecedented and extreme weather events. Therefore, adaptation options may become more limited in industrialised countries that continue to invest resources in inappropriate long-term infrastructure without taking into account the non-stationary climate system. This research aims to better understand how individuals with currently high adaptive capacity use imagination to inform subjective views of possible climate change, in order to deduce the role of imagining the future when considering adaptation strategies and actions. The chapter is informed by a study of researchers, policy makers, and practitioners in Australia and Canada that is focused on the intersections of climate change knowledge, narrative communication, future thinking, and change over time. Results indicate that these decision-makers are limited in discussing and imagining themselves as vulnerable to climate change over the next two decades. This study suggests that behaviour to address near-term climate impacts may be limited by (1) a lack of perceived personal vulnerability; (2) little sense of urgency; and (3) expectations of societal interventions. It is concluded that low levels of imagination may place significant limits on the adaptive effectiveness of current infrastructure investments, with long-term consequences. This work aims to highlight the value of a higher capacity in imaginative future thinking among decision-makers; to better understand the context for ongoing shifts in climate change knowledge; and to guide new framing for climate narratives that reflect projected direct and indirect impacts of climate change.
Liese Coulter

Chapter 13. Climate Change Adaptation in Coastal East Arctic Ecosystems: Complexity and Challenges of Monitoring and Evaluation

The fifth IPCC assessment confirms the fast rate of climate change in the Polar Regions and indicates that Arctic communities are facing great challenges in adapting. Several initiatives have recently been introduced to stimulate the implementation of adaptation measures, but most documented experiments exclude formal monitoring and evaluation (M&E) activities. Our paper focuses on two questions: How does the lack of robust monitoring and evaluation influence adaptation limits in the region? What are the current insights emerging about this topic and what do these limits mean for local communities? Our paper is based on a scoping review of relevant official documentation and data gathered in the field through interviews during the summer of 2015. Our data are also derived from recently published statistical data, reports and articles. Our findings suggest that Arctic communities and institutions are not able to produce sufficient rigorous and regularly updated monitoring data, mainly because of the lack of resources required for systematic and rigorous data collection and analysis. Individual incentives, weak institutions and a complicated policy context also limit M&E activities. This lack of resources is associated with other different limitations mainly related to the complexity of measuring climate change adaptation progress in these vulnerable social and ethnological ecosystems. Indeed, in addition to attribution and counterfactual challenges, opposing approaches in the conceptualization of indicators and dissonances in the perception of risks and vulnerabilities complicate assessing climate change adaptation impacts.
Moktar Lamari, Line Poulin-Larivière, Johann L. Jacob

Chapter 14. Limits to Adaptation on Climate Change in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Insights and Experiences

Climate change and increased frequency and intensity of extreme climate events are largely caused by increased pressures on Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) environment, especially in the sectors of agriculture, water management, health, forestry and tourism. Increases in temperature and changes in pluviometric regime in B&H caused dominant, but not limited to, adverse impacts. The increasing variability of weather conditions were recorded in all seasons, with rapid changes that occur over short periods of time (5–10 days) of extremely cold and hot weather, or from the period of extremely high rainfall in dry periods. Since 2000, B&H has faced several significant extreme climate and weather episodes that have caused considerable material and financial losses as well as losses of human lives. The two most remarkable events were drought in 2012 and flood in 2014. The drought of 2012 was particularly severe, and contributed to the decrease of the yields of some crops by 50%. Estimates show that more than 3 billion Euro-worth damage was caused by the drought of 2000, 2003, 2007 and 2012 and over 2 billion Euro by the one in 2014. This paper will present the chances, limitations and experience of B&H to adapt to climate change. The purpose of this paper is to, on the basis of observed and projected climate change, emphasize the necessity of adaptation with a special focus on limitations and barriers. The experience has shown that current adaptation was largely spontaneous and was not thoroughly planned or designed. The constraints of adaptation to climate change in B&H are numerous and are conditioned by correct planning policy, strategy, finance, and knowledge and technology transfer. The paper determined the key constraints and it also points out at the possibility of overcoming barriers and offered possible solutions. An increase in the intensity and frequency of climate extremes suggests that the adaptation in the future must be clearly planned, implemented and controlled.
Goran Trbic, Davorin Bajic, Vladimir Djurdjevic, Vladan Ducic, Raduska Cupac, Đorđe Markez, Goran Vukmir, Radoslav Dekić, Tatjana Popov

Limits to Climate Change Adaptation in the Pacific Region


Chapter 15. Climate Change Adaptation Limits in Small Island Developing States

Small island developing states (SIDS) are 58 countries located in three main geographic regions—the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Sea, the Caribbean, and the Pacific—that are among the most vulnerable to climate change and required to adapt to its impacts. The small islands chapter in the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests that more can be learnt about adaptation drivers, barriers and limits in these countries. This study helps to fill the gap in relation to adaptation limits. It has one primary aim—to identify and discuss the nature and potential range of adaptation limits in SIDS. Limits are identified from countries’ National Communications to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Using a sample of 19 SIDS, it finds that countries most commonly reported being limited by finance/budgetary restrictions/income, natural resources/features and data/records. Countries’ own inaction, culture, perceptions and the social acceptability of adaptation strategies and measures are among the least commonly reported limits. It further finds that 39% of reported limits can be categorised as institutional, 28% as physical and ecological, 16% as economic, 14% as social and 3% as technological. These findings are important for adaptation planning and decision-making at the local, national, regional and international levels. An understanding of climate change adaptation limits in SIDS can help actors working at different scales to (1) determine which adaptation actions are likely to be feasible, cost-effective and/or sustainable, (2) prioritise adaptation actions in the interest of sustainable development, (3) better design adaptation interventions, making the best possible use of scarce resources, and (4) identify and seize opportunities to increase the adaptive capacities of these countries.
Stacy-ann Robinson

Chapter 16. Limits to Coastal Adaptation in Samoa: Insights and Experiences

Small Island States have been identified as some of the planet’s most vulnerable countries, with increases in global atmospheric temperatures and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere being predicted to lead to a mass extinction and/or migration of coral species and fisheries resources. Rising ocean surface temperatures and the increasing acidity of the oceans (through absorption of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere) will likely cause significant mortality in coral reef systems, which are expected to increase tropical island vulnerability to natural disasters and coastal erosion. Storm surges and sea level rise also affect fresh water supplies and impact coastal communities, cultural heritage and infrastructure. The impact on food security and livelihoods of people in Pacific Islands is likely to be enormous, and SIDS have been encouraged to improve adaptation measures to reduce the environmental and socio-economic impacts caused by natural disasters and climate change. A transformational adaptation approach, as highlighted in the latest IPCC AR5 report, will be essential when addressing vulnerability and the adaptive capacity of Small Island States in the Pacific. On the ground experience highlights a need for a tailored approach when designing disaster risk management strategies to address the impacts of climate change, though current problems highlight the limitations and effectiveness of these adaptation projects. The present chapter will highlight case studies from the Islands of Samoa and current adaptation efforts and their limitations, highlighting the traditional characteristics of such adaptation measures. The overall purpose of this chapter is to facilitate discussion on what can be done to address the identified limitations to the development of Small Island States and outline possible future adaptation strategies.
Richard Crichton, Miguel Esteban

Chapter 17. Limits to Capital Works Adaptation in the Coastal Zones and Islands: Lessons for the Pacific

From seawalls to levees and desalination plants to dams, capital works projects have become a widely accepted climate adaptation strategy in the coastal zone. With the reality of anthropogenic climate change and associated rising sea levels and an increase in the intensity of extreme weather events, there is a growing need for a range of adaptation interventions. The use of capital works for shoreline stabilisation has a long history and is an established engineering response to the protection of buildings and infrastructure from erosion or long term recession. While capital works often succeed in their primary objective of shoreline stabilisation to protect built assets from damage by erosion or inundation, by interrupting coastal processes they are often responsible for unintended consequences in other locations and at other times. In addition to these unintended consequences, case studies of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and Sendai prefecture during the 2010 Tokoku earthquake illustrate how the engineering design process, and particularly the need for a ‘design storm’, is a critical adaptation limit for capital works projects in the face of ongoing global climatic disruption. A key research problem is to identify the precise circumstances under which use of capital works is an appropriate and cost effective coastal climate change adaptation strategy, those where a soft-engineering approach that makes use of natural processes such as beach nourishment is preferable, and the situations where an ecosystem-based approach, that draws upon the ecosystem services of natural ecosystems to mitigate climate change impacts, is likely to be more cost effective or resilient.
Brendan Mackey, Daniel Ware

Chapter 18. A ‘Cost Barrier’ Perspective to Adaptation on a Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) and Mangrove Rehabilitation Projects (MRP) in Solomon Islands

Mangroves are among the most fragile ecosystems in the world. At the same time, they are under considerable pressure from processes associated with climate change such as increases in temperature, salt intrusion through storm surges and sea level rise. There is a paucity of research which look at the connections between climate change and conditions of mangroves under an anthropogenic perspective. This paper reports a study of “cost as a barrier” to adaptation on a case study of Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) and Mangrove Rehabilitation Projects (MRP) in the Solomon Islands. Questionnaires were used as instruments to obtain information from project participants to identify the cost related barriers the project participants perceived to obtain from these conservation projects. The study has identified the fact that the communities have different attitudes and perceptions toward climate change challenges. The different scales and magnitudes of climate change impacts that are perceived at the study sites, and the different subsistence realities showed that project participants have varied responses and points of view regarding such impacts. Because of this, the project participants are constrained by a set of different barriers as obstacle in their process of adapting to the new environment conservation policies at these sites. A mapping on the socio-economic costs and benefits of these projects to the villagers was performed, and identified the fact that costs of conservation programs acts as barriers to long term adaptation at these sites.
Michael Otoara Ha’apio, Walter Leal Filho, Morgan Wairiu

Chapter 19. Customary Land and Climate Change Induced Relocation: A Case Study of Vunidogoloa Village, Vanua Levu, Fiji

Increasingly unremitting weather patterns and rising sea levels have obligated Fiji to become one of the first countries in the South Pacific to relocate communities due to climate change. The customary lands reflect the traditional and communal structure of the indigenous Fijians and parting from it as a consequence of forced relocation is a delicate and vulnerable issue that establishes some of the negative effects of population displacement. Relocation to a new land signifies separation from uniquely adapted traditions that took thousands of years to form. This paper highlights the experiences of the people of Vunidogoloa village, in light of the interviews and discussions carried out at the village and interviews conducted with the relevant government officials. In addressing this objective the paper analyses the main constraints of resettlement, the land-people bond, governance, and funding. The paper concludes by providing recommendations essential for communities in the South Pacific and in the other parts of the world that face or will face similar challenge.
Dhrishna Charan, Manpreet Kaur, Priyatma Singh

Chapter 20. Limits to Adapting to Climate Change Through Relocations in Papua-New Guinea and Fiji

This paper studies evidences from community relocations in Papua New Guinea and Fiji that have shown that loss of culture are unavoidable results of relocation if customary land tenure is not considered at very early stage at relocation process. Good governance and best practice addressing limits to adaptation should include this dimension. Post-relocation vulnerability associated to land-based conflicts and the loss of customary land systems need to be considered when planning for relocation as sustainable adaptation strategy to climate change in the Pacific region. The diversity of customary land rights in the Pacific makes relocation a particularly complex process that needs to include negotiation at early stages of the process, including Governments, local leaders and both relocatees and hosting communities. Understanding this dimension is crucial and without deep comprehension of community-based adaptation strategies and planning around land management, the relocation process is likely to be unsustainable as it will lack the important cultural heritage and the essential link between Islanders and their land, which is considered an extension of one’s own self. Customary authorities and institutions are legitimate governance actors holding their own governance mechanisms in the Pacific region. Strategies addressing climate change adaptation in the Pacific should include both state-based governance mechanisms combined with customary non-state institutions. In order to combine those two forms of governance, it is necessary to include traditional authorities to the decision-making process on relocation. This cannot be done without a deep respect for their view of the world, a profound understanding of how they represent climate change and migration within their belief systems and how traditional knowledge directly addresses those questions.
Dalila Gharbaoui, Julia Blocher

Chapter 21. Atoll Habitability Thresholds

What makes a place habitable? Or as some of the more conspicuous contributors in the ongoing, vibrant discussion surrounding climate migration planning have framed this seemingly simple question: Will government officials and communities recognize in advance the point at which areas become uninhabitable, or when it is time to move? Previous contributors have increased our focus on low-lying atoll communities, in particular, explicating the need to identify adaptation limits beyond which atoll social-ecological systems become uninhabitable. As a government official in the Maloelap Atoll Local Government, the author of this paper will echo the need to better understand atoll habitability thresholds by examining the merits of framing the question of ‘when it is time to move’ within a habitability narrative, and propose the local approach to community-based resource management in the Marshall Islands called Reimaanlok as an empowering, scientifically robust, and internationally useful starting point for climate migration planning, both for the communities facing displacement as well as recipient communities likely to intervene with resettlement guidelines.
Mark H. N. Stege

Chapter 22. Conclusions: Overcoming the Limits to Adaptation

This short chapter draws some general conclusions from the experiences and insights from various chapters in the book and outlines some of the challenges in implementing climate change initiatives, with a view to overcoming the limits to adaptation.
Walter Leal Filho, Johanna Nalau
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