A tale of two atoll nations: A comparison of risk, resilience, and adaptive response of Kiribati and the Maldives

Carmen Elrick-Barr, Bruce C. Glavovic, Robert Kay

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


It is widely recognized that small, low-lying island nations are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. This chapter provides a comparative meta-analysis of climate change adaptation in two atoll nations: Kiribati in the Pacific and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. The analysis focuses on how biophysical constraints coupled with political, cultural, and socioeconomic conditions shape adaptation pathways. Kiribati and the Maldives present, at first glance, a very similar set of issues and challenges. The two countries, however, are remarkably different in terms of their biophysical setting; political history; and cultural, social, and economic context and, consequently, their respective capacities to adapt to climate change. Despite these inherent differences, there appear to be common pathways or trajectories for adaptation. Nevertheless, important questions remain: Are current adaptation actions leading to more resilient or restrictive futures? What is the preferred adaptation pathway? How effective will the chosen pathway be for reducing vulnerability and building adaptive capacity to long-term climate change? Significant conceptual and practical challenges must be addressed in order to effectively answer these fundamental questions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClimate Change and the Coast
Subtitle of host publicationBuilding Resilient Communities
EditorsBruce Glavovic, Mick Kelly, Robert Kay, Ailbhe Travers
Place of PublicationLondon, UK
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9781482288582
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameClimate Change and the Coast


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