Coastal Climate Services in French Polynesia and the Maldives: A Comparison of Governance Contexts and Information Needs

14:00 Wednesday 29 May


Room S9


Geronimo Gussmann (Germany) 1; Heitea Terorotua (France) 2

1 - Global Climate Forum e.V.; 2 - University of la Rochelle

Adaptation to rising sea-levels is critical for small island nations. With possibly extensive amounts of sea-level rise, coastal decision-makers today are already confronted with decisions that have implications for the coming decades. However, often suitable sea level rise information is not available and the deep sea-level rise uncertainty may mislead adaptation decisions or cause inactivity. The co-development of coastal climate services can provide a remedy. In order to tailor the sea-level rise information to the needs of the decision makers, it is necessary to consider the respective governance and risk contexts of the individual cases. To highlight this, we compare the governance contexts and sea-level rise information needs in two particular vulnerable regions, French Polynesia and the Maldives. For this, we conducted document analyses and semi-structured interviews (n=54) with key stakeholders in both cases. We find coastal decision-makers facing similar decision problems. In both cases, increasing coastal risks, such as flooding, beach erosion and salinization of groundwater create the need for adaptation responses. Yet, the different governance contexts in terms of actors, power balances and existing legislature addressing coastal risks and adaptation, create distinct sea-level rise information needs. The comparison of the cases highlights the need for an in-depth understanding of governance arrangements and resulting information requirements of decision-makers for the co-development of coastal climate services.