Climate change adaptation in SIDS: A systematic review of the literature pre and post the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report

The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2014 was the most comprehensive to date. Yet it left several gaps with regards to the impacts, implications and responses to climate change in small island developing states (SIDS). SIDS are recognized as a special grouping of developing countries. Located in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, Caribbean, and Pacific regions, they comprise 58 countries that are disproportionately vulnerable to climate change and its impacts. With adaptation to climate change viewed as a viable and necessary complement to mitigation, academic interest in adaptation in these complex geographies is increasing. Despite this, not enough is known about the body of knowledge relating to adaptation in SIDS. This article systematically reviews 208 articles, books, book chapters, conference papers, and notes, and synthesizes the nature and extent of the research evidence before and after AR5 (i.e., from 1990 to 2014, and from 2015 to 2018). It specifically explores shifts in (a) when, where and by what means knowledge is being produced (e.g., subject areas, methodologies), and the ways in which adaptation is being framed (i.e., conceptually, operationally), (b) the narratives, consensuses, and tensions across the key emerging themes in the literature, and (c) the knowledge gaps that exist. It also outlines a future research agenda, which is an important consideration not only for multi-scale actors working to help solve the global climate challenge, but also for the scholars preparing the Small Islands Chapter of the Sixth Assessment Report due in 2021. This article is categorized under: Climate and Development > Sustainability and Human Well-Being Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change > Learning from Cases and Analogies


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