DICES will use two case study sites and compare results for the SIDS of Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the Maldives. Both island states are composed of different islands with a broad variety of size, regionally specific coastal situation regarding e.g. geology and typology, differences in development status, cultural and governance settings. PNG gained equivocal reputation of being the first to resettle island inhabitants (Carteret Island), whereas the Maldivian capital Malé is surrounded by a 3m-high sea wall, constructed after a big wave in 1987, financed by Japanese development aid. But the two SIDS also share common features. Both countries are members of the UN Small Island Developing States group, are in a postcolonial situation and depend heavily on external linkages. While the Maldives was the first country to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol, is leading partner in the Post-Samoa Process of the SIDS Partnership Dialogue and predominant in the “sinking island discourse” (McAnaney 2012; Farbotko 2010), PNG is internationally less visible. It is, therefore, not surprising that studies from various disciplines have, so far, focused on coastal issues of the Maldives rather than on PNG.
By comparing two case study regions in different cultural settings, with different developing status and differing international political involvement, we analyze the role of socio-cultural framings in vulnerability and resilience, the importance of political governance structures and the resulting adaptive capacities and preparedness of island societies to cope with increased coastal problems and projected sea level changes. Against this background we assess and test low-regret strategies and construction measures to adapt to sea level change under given technical, economic, cultural, social and political constraints and find novel means to support probable pathway design in data scarce conditions and enhance understanding of effective coastal protection strategies encompassing “low-regret” attempts in the political context in the two pilot regions.
Publications of DICES project:
David G., and T. Schlurmann (2020), Hydrodynamic drivers and morphological responses on small coral islands - The Thoondu spit on Fuvahmulah, the Maldives, Front. Mar. Sci., doi:10.3389/fmars.2020.538675.