Pathways to Climate Change Adaptation: the case of Small Island Developing States (Martin Beniston and colleagues, Université de Genève)

Climate change has already taken place, and it will continue to do for the foreseeable future. These changes present important challenges, but also opportunities, for humanity. The focus of this course will be on adaptation.

In other words, we will look at how each country must assess their specific vulnerabilities to climate change, and the tools at their disposal for protecting the well-being, economy, and environment of its citizens. We will base our examples on Small Island Developing States (SIDS). In such countries economic assets and population density occur primarily in coastal areas. As such, SIDS countries are particularly vulnerable to two of the main predicted changes to occur with climate change: rising sea levels and increased intensity of storms. In some cases, the combination of rising sea levels and exceptional storms can lead to the disappearance of high quality farmlands and the destruction of wetlands and human infrastructure that provide important ecosystem services.

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