GLORIA - Global Learning Opportunities for Regional Indian ocean Adaptation
The oceans are not warming evenly and those areas that are warming fastest are becoming the world's natural laboratories for research to increase scientific understanding, knowledge and tools to allow us to adapt wisely, efficiently and effectively in order to meet the challenges of a warming marine environment.
Such marine 'hotspots' occur in all regions of the globe, from polar to tropical, and affect developed and developing countries. However, poor coastal communities in low-income countries are those where the impacts will be felt most acutely, and are most likely to exacerbate existing inequalities and social tensions. There are no simple, conventional solutions to addressing adaptation to climate change in poor communities. Practical experience and scientific information from these areas is limited and there is an urgent need to improve and test the theories that underpin existing efforts.
This project developed an innovative rapid approach to integrate and apply global scientific and local information and knowledge. The approach was applied in Madagascar, one of the poorest countries adjacent to a marine hotspot. Knowledge and insights gained were not only useful for Madagascar but the example provides a case study for applying to other comparable global hotspots.
At the core of the project was an expert workshop that brought together a multi-disciplinary and international team made up of researchers with experience of climate change adaptation in different parts of the world, specialists from Madagascar with detailed knowledge of the hotspot area, and community representatives and other stakeholders with a rich understanding and knowledge of the local context. Together this group identified key drivers and areas of environmental change and their likely consequences for local coastal populations.
They explored adaptive solutions and developed recommendations for future action to minimise negative impacts on low-income communities in the hotspot region. Experiences and information from this participatory process were also used to develop and test current approaches to developing climate change adaptation strategies. The scientific insights generated by the research were included in a synthesis report, and in dissemination/awareness materials targeting the local audiences.
While this project was not able to test current theories through to implementation, it provided a valuable opportunity for intensive discussion and exchange on adaptive solutions between experts in the theory and coastal stakeholders who are intimately familiar with their own circumstances and needs. The outcomes from the project therefore enrich current understanding of adaptation and adaptive capacity and generate proposals for revising it where necessary.