The paper, led by Josh Cinner, proposes an approach to increasing tropical coastal communities' ability to adapt to climate change through five domains. While governments, development agencies, and civil society have made substantial investments in minimizing the impact of climate change on human well-being, to date, these investments have been targeted towards a narrow understanding of adaptive capacity.
Below are the five key community characteristics that Professor Allison and co-authors found increase adaptive capacity of communities. Excerpts beside each characteristic are quotes from the authors originally included in a news piece covering the paper in Science Daily:
- Access to assets to draw upon in times of need. "These assets can include household wealth or public goods such as health services, but they need to be developed in ways that don't exacerbate existing inequalities";
- Flexibility to change. "Having some flexibility can enable people to minimise losses or even take advantage of climate-related change," said Prof. Eddie Allison... "For example, fishers might need to change fishing grounds or target new species."
- Knowledge of climate change effects and adaptation options. "People need to learn about new techniques and strategies that can help them cope with changing circumstances," said Prof. Katrina Brown at the University of Exeter, UK.
- Strong social relationships. "The formal and informal relationships that people have with each other and their communities can help them deal with change by providing social support and access to both knowledge and resources," said Prof. Cinner.
- Empowerment to make choices for themselves. "We also need to ensure that people have the ability to determine what is right for them," said Prof. Brown."