Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change: engaging participatory approaches to inform community decision-making

19:00 Tuesday 28 May




Julian Sartorius (United Kingdom) 1

1 - University of Dundee

Remote islands are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including sea-level rise, changing weather patterns and their impacts on storminess, coastal erosion, and flooding. Moreover, the particular nuanced contexts of remote rural settings can compound this physical vulnerability, a layer of vulnerability that is not considered in the typical climate change impact studies. This is the case in Scotland, where most climate change impact studies have tended towards a top-down approach, rather than engaging the communities and decision-makers impacted by climate change in the analysis of vulnerabilities. For an effective adaptation policy, local circumstances and characteristics need to be taken into account.

An assessment following an integrated perspective on vulnerability, incorporating both top-down and bottom-up components is a mean for capturing this knowledge for decision-making. Moreover, research on how climate change in remote island settings is framed in policy discourse is of value in terms of offering a basis for a critical analysis of dominant representations and narratives and of other competing accounts, as climate change in rural areas occurs in the context of other social, economic and land use and ownership trends. The research project aims to develop an innovative climate change adaptation assessment framework suited to participation, integration and collaboration in the context of rural island communities. Baseline assessments of climate change vulnerability will be performed to inform the adaptation discourse using an integrated socio-environmental vulnerability assessment methodology in a number of island case study sites in Scotland.