Special Case for Adaptation

As the overview of selected important impacts highlights, the effects of climate change are already being felt in Pacific islands and projections indicate a further increase of these impacts, also if pathways towards limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 °C are pursued by the international community, as agreed in Paris in December 2015 (UNFCCC 2015). In addition to their exposure, small islands face several challenges for sustainable and climate resilient development: (1) physical limitations—options for livelihood diversification or relocation of critical infrastructure are limited, due to their specific topography; (2) high economic dependency on ecosystems and little room for diversification—important sources of income include fisheries-based livelihood as well as tourism, both of which critically depend on healthy reef ecosystems; (3) social change—population growth as well as changes in lifestyles and consumption patterns pose further challenges for islands with limited resources and space.

Science-based adaptation, rooted in a robust knowledge base of the full chain of climate information from projections and biophysical impact information, to vulnerability and adaptation needs and costs is essential for anticipatory adaptation, which makes most effective use of limited resources and reduces the risk of mal- adaptation in the context of changing conditions.

Over the next years, available climate finance to support long-term adaptation in vulnerable regions will be provided by the international community through agencies, such as the Green Climate Fund. In order to access these financial resources, robust information on climate change projections, vulnerability hot-spots and adaptation requirements is required in order to fulfil the eligibility criteria of international funding agencies.

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