Research team

Habitability to climate change beyond the point of no-return: co-designing adaptation plans, loss and damage and exploring relocation strategies with communities in Small Island Developing States. 01/11/2022 - 31/10/2025


The climate emergency is a reality. Climate change impacts are expected to intensify over the 21st century no matter what emissions reduction scenario. Communities in low-lying coastal areas, particularly in small island developing states (SIDS) are facing an existential risk to livelihoods from compounded climate challenges: extreme weather events and slow on-set (sea level rise). The most urgent question for policy and decision-makers is on the future and long-term (un)habitability of these coastal areas and the possibility of retreat and relocation. Life beyond the point of 'no-return' under climate change requires ground-rooted research on challenges linked to the historical ties to land, culture and risk perception, social acceptability of adaptation, land tenure and compensation. Empirical studies are needed to bring the voices of the communities at the forefront of climate change and habitability issues, in order to inform local-to-national and international adaptation policy and the design of compensation tools for non-economic losses associated with relocation. This project uses multi-disciplinary methods in two case studies (Anguilla and Barbuda) to support radical shifts in adaptation studies and implementation that is based on bottom up approaches for co-designing adaptation pathways where coastal retreat and relocation go hand-in-hand with community empowerment, ownership and the fulfillment of fundamental rights.


Research team(s)

Project type(s)

  • Research Project