Coastal adaptation in the Comoros: the role of perceptions and the risk of mal-adaptation

Scientific Coordination

Carola Kloeck and Philippe Roudier (AFD)


Adaptation to the effects of climate change is urgent, particularly in the most vulnerable countries such as small island states and least developed countries. Adaptation in these countries often depends on scarce external funding. There is thus a strong political interest to invest limited funding in the most suitable, effective and sustainable measures. Yet, while a growing number of development projects target adaptation, these projects do not necessarily improve the resilience of local populations, and are sometimes even mal-adaptive, that is, they increase beneficiaries’ vulnerability. How can such mal-adaptation be avoided, and adaptation finance spent wisely? 

To address this question, this project examines coastal adaptation in the Comoros. The project seeks to understand the popularity of “hard” adaptation measures such as dikes and seawalls, which are often considered mal-adaptive in the literature. The project seeks in particular to understand under which conditions alternative measures, whether alternative designs or soft adaptation, would be acceptable to the local population, and is particularly interested in the role of perceptions and information for selecting an adaptation measure.
The project thus wants to contribute to a better use of adaptation finance and support the implementation of suitable, efficient and sustainable adaptation measures. 



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