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Panel 4: Adapting Oceania? Scrutinizing the concepts, culture and politics of climate change adaptation in Oceania


Carola Betzold, Silja Klepp, Arno Pascht, Patrick Nunn

Session presentation

Adapting to the adverse effects of climate change is regarded as vital for Pacific island states and communities, which are identified as “particularly vulnerable“. Yet, many adaptation measures have unexpected and unintended results and are considered as neither effective nor sustained. A key factor for this is that adaptation concepts and measures often lack historical, social, political and cultural depth and do not take into account local contexts, Pacific life-worlds and cultural specificities, or power relations. Nonetheless, adaptation and adaptation finance is important for national and regional household budgets and political decision-making at all scales. This panel explores adaptation materialities and knowledge in the Pacific: How is adaptation used, interpreted, transformed, and realized on the ground? How is it changing or interfering with power relations, legal pluralism and local (ecological) knowledge? Can adaptation measures integrate indigenous life-worlds, cultural knowledge and cultural practice such that they have their best chance of being effective and sustainable? What are major barriers to including cultural specificities and different life-worlds in the science, policy and funding decisions of climate change adaptation? We invite contributions from different disciplinary backgrounds and in particular welcome papers that challenge conventional thinking about climate change adaptation, resilience and vulnerability and/or that apply postcolonial and indigenous perspectives.

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