Constraints and limits to climate change adaptation in the Caribbean

Authors: Emily Theokritoff*, Humboldt-Universität Zu Berlin; Climate Analytics, Carl-Friedrich Schleussner, Humboldt-Universität Zu Berlin; Climate Analytics, Adelle Thomas, University of the Bahamas, Climate Analytics, Tabea Lissner, Climate Analytics
Topics: Caribbean Geographies, Human-Environment Geography, Hazards and Vulnerability
Keywords: Climate change, Adaptation, Caribbean, Constraints, Limits
Session Type: Virtual Guided Poster
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 53
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


With increasing climate change and its consequential impacts, there is a crucial need to adapt, in particular in regions being disproportionally affected. This research focuses on the Caribbean region, more precisely on the fifteen member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), developing countries relatively small in terms of population and size. Despite unique national contexts, these countries share similarities and challenges, creating a learning opportunity across the region.

The aim here is to present research findings on constraints and limits to climate change adaptation in this region. Constraints are factors that make it harder to plan and implement adaptation actions whereas a limit is defined as a point at which an actor’s objectives or system's needs cannot be secured from intolerable risks through adaptative actions. In the past year, a survey, interviews and focus group discussions with policy-makers, adaptation practitioners and researchers have been conducted. This research was undertaken online due to the persisting COVID-19 situation and travel restrictions.

Initial findings show that finance is the factor that constrains adaptation the most across the region but that this constraint is tightly linked to insufficient data availability and limited human capacity. The more constraints add-up and interact, the more limits are approached where intolerable risks can no longer be avoided, forcing people to migrate or to change livelihoods for example. In today’s context, a greater understanding of how these concepts translate in practice can benefit policy-makers and adaptation practitioners for the planning and implementation of adaptation.

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