Similarly, geographic scopes may vary as well; while a homeowner may prioritize the protection of their dwelling, others may define the problem relative to the scale of the settlement or entire atoll.
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What type of climate change adaptations might be appropriate in the context of any site is not merely a technical question, but also a political one. Blok, in his dissection of the urban riskscape assemblage in Surat, India, shows how those engaged in resiliency projects in the city frame urban risks relative to their own worldviews or agendas. The relationship between technocracy and democracy is called into question.
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He also emphasizes that contestation over various approaches may arise not only as a result of varying interests, but also as a result of varying ways of knowing, understanding, and seeing the world. Relegating climate change adaptation to a technical sphere disallows radical reconceptions of what climate change might mean for our society, and obscures the worldviews and riskscapes of those on the ground.
Many motivations and perceptions make fixed edge solutions such as seawalls an attractive solution for Tuvaluan stakeholders. This may also be important for local residents, as with those in Nukufetau, who would like hard and immediate physical evidence of their protection against cyclones and floods rather than a softer, nature-based solution. Infrastructural solutions may be perceived as faster than natural ones. Fixing the edges of atolls also aligns them better with fixed notions of property, housing, and infrastructure by reframing ground as a permanent commodity rather than a transient medium.
This narrative of catastrophe too may shape the toolkit of perceived available strategies - if you are constantly being told you are about to drown, fortification may seem like the only solution. Migrants from outer islands built informal housing around the pits, and children swam in the stagnant pools. Tuvalu had previously sought donor funding from the U. Former President Anote Tong has prioritized planning for the future inhabitability of the islands, purchasing land in Fiji towards that end.
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These preparations toward migration counter the prevailing resiliency discourses, which emphasize staying put and adapting. To further facilitate the self-directed migration of i-Kiribati to other countries, President Tong sought partnerships with countries where trainees could fill positions made available by aging populations. Global climate change finance timescales do not provide sufficient time for similar processes, which emphasize local leadership; while lengthier in the context of the urgent crisis of climate change, the importance of developing projects that work with the community and the geography cannot be understated.
Limited and simplified representations of atoll communities and systems can result in approaches which fail to negotiate the levels of complexity inherent to the islands. Competing riskscapes and resilience imaginaries further impact the toolkit of approaches perceived as available.
Critical adaptive methods should seek to understand this complexity and these worldviews, placing adaptive options into the sphere of debate. Resilient atoll edges cannot derive from continental technical toolkits alone. The lock-in of rigid approaches can be particularly inappropriate for the unique contexts of small island states such as Tuvalu. When design conversations become increasingly insular, or focus on best-practice solutions, we actively depoliticize our work in the built environment, seeking refuge in technocratic discourse - even while celebrating apparently radical frameworks including landscape or ecological urbanism.
Current development models for climate change adaptation which revolve around problem-solving best practices are problematic not only in their lack of cognition of the politicized sphere in which they operate, but also for the application of one-size fits all framings of issues and strategies to address them. Notably, the single-minded focus on fortifying the Tuvaluan coast eclipses the possibility of projects that hedge against future displacement, through land purchases, political agreements, or diasporic architectures. While atolls are in an accelerated state of flux, all landscapes are migratory.
Instead of treating Tuvalu as a repository for high-ground adaptation models, we suggest that others seeking to adapt their cities and settlements might do better to learn from the extreme interconnectedness these geographies and communities illustrate. Approaches to climate adaptation must recognize and negotiate the various values, motivations, and riskscapes at play.
Interrupted Atolls: Riskscapes and Edge Imaginaries in Tuvalu | The Plan Journal
We seek here to open up the conversation on climate adaptation in Tuvalu and beyond by couching it in these broader discourses. While there are nine populated atolls, there are eight distinct atoll cultures, which most Tuvaluans identify themselves through; islanders from Niutao populate the small ninth island of Niulakita. Kench, D. Thompson, M. Ford, H. Ogawa and R. Patrick D. Interviews in Funafuti, Tuvalu, January Graham Harvey and Charles D. Thompson, Jr. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, : 15— The NAPA projects I and II outline strategies that generally focus on urgent and immediate, near-term risks and issues associated with climate change: for example, food and water security, and ecosystem protections.
Medium- to long-term impacts and bigger picture uncertainties, such as sea level rise, are dealt with only through incremental and small-scale adaptations such as coastal plantings or even engineered defense systems which directly work against atoll fluidity. While these programs are ostensibly propagated by the national and local government and only supported by external institutions, in reality implementation timeframes, regional and international agencies and consultants are managing, directly or indirectly, technical review processes, etc. The United Nations Development Programme is the dominant benefactor of aid and development in Tuvalu.
Traditionally, Tuvaluan land was held communally under customary tenure. William L. Waugh, Jr. Benjamin K.
Orrin H. Pilkey and Katharine L. James C. Western Pacific archives. WPHC F. Eric L. Jurgenne H. Primavera and J. Donna C. Mehos and Suzanne M. Warwick E. Murray and John D. The authors also have extensive personal familiarity of the Tuvaluan atolls and peoples due to both academic and professional links. Arthur P. Webb and Paul S. Sophie Webber and Simon D. Joeli Veitayaki, P. Manoa and A. Simon D. We would like to thank: Miho Mazereeuw for advising Elizabeth on earlier research leading to this article; the support from Fulbright New Zealand and the MIT; Eliala Fihaki for additional guidance and insight into Tuvaluan culture and work towards strengthening environmental and climate change resilience in Tuvalu; UNDP colleagues, particularly Winifereti Nainoca, Floyd Robinson, and Yusuke Taichi, for the opportunity to learn from their experience and passion on working with and for the Pacific Islands on climate resilience.
Elizabeth Lizzie Yarina is a Visiting Scholar and a Fulbright Fellow at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, where she is studying the spatial implications of climate change induced displacement. E-mail: lizziey mit. The views expressed in this article are her own. E-mail: stakemoto gmail. Skip to main content. Elizabeth Yarina. Shoko Takemoto. Figure 1. Figure 2. Figure 3. King Tides flooding on Funafuti.
Atoll formation diagram, adapted from multiple sources. Figure 5. Atoll dynamics diagram, adapted from multiple sources. As most Tuvaluans live within coastal areas, additional stress is being placed on the already vulnerable marine ecosystem. Rising sea temperatures are also contributing to coral bleaching and decreasing marine productivity.
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Development Programming Links:. Project Under Implementation. Health facilities were inaccessible to around half of the participants and stigma, discrimination and abuse were experienced by many people with disabilities and were noted to have a strong impact on their lives. Furthermore, women with disabilities are also twice as likely to live in hardship compared to men with disabilities.
It was also emphasised that women also carry the majority of the burden as caregivers:. There are no activities in the past that I know of which targeted women with disabilities. I think the study will guide Fusi Alofa to do more for women with disabilities. Gender and disability should be a focus in the future and we could do more activities. The Gender Affairs Department have also used the study to inform the integration of disability into their work. The findings are also providing the basis of recommendations to enhance social protection for the wider community.
The Government of Tuvalu has used the study to develop the first policy on disability as well as the first national policy on hardship.