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Overcoming barriers to climate change information management in small island developing states: lessons from pacific SIDS

Samuel Mackay, Rebecca Brown, Makelesi Gonelevu, Netatua Pelesikoti, Talei Kocovanua, Rebecca Iaken, Florence Iautu, Luisa Tuiafitu-Malolo, Sione Fulivai, Ma’asi Lepa and Brendan Mackey

Climate Policy, 2019, vol. 19, issue 1, 125-138

Abstract: We live in a rapidly advancing digital information age where the ability to discover, access and utilize high-quality information in a reliable and timely manner is often assumed to be the norm. However, this is not always the experience of researchers, practitioners and decision makers responding to the challenges of a rapidly changing climate, despite the billions now being made available for investment in climate change adaptation initiatives throughout the world and particularly in developing countries. In recognition of the importance of information in adaptation planning, Article 7.7 of the Paris Agreement sets out clear guidance for parties to develop, share, manage and deliver climate change knowledge, information and data as a means to strengthening cooperation and action on adaptation. This article provides some key lessons and insights on climate change information and knowledge management (IKM) in small island developing States (SIDS) from the perspective of Pacific SIDS. A situation analysis of current climate change IKM practices in Fiji, Tonga and Vanuatu was conducted and key barriers to effective climate change IKM identified. The outcome of this article is a range of pragmatic policy considerations for overcoming common barriers to climate change IKM in the Pacific, which may be of value to SIDS more widely.Key policy insights The partnership approach of co-investigating climate change IKM barriers in collaboration with Pacific SIDS generated considerable trust, a shared purpose and therefore rich IKM lessons and insights.Turning climate change IKM aspirations into practice is significantly more complicated than expected, and requires a long-term commitment from both national governments and development partners.Pacific SIDS need to establish national guiding climate change IKM Frameworks that leverage rather than duplicate growing national investments in whole-of-government IKM.Reframing climate change IKM in the Pacific towards demand and user needs will be critical to ensuring widespread ownership and participation in IKM solutions that lead to greater adaptation and resilience outcomes.It is also critical that IKM activities in SIDS support the development of national capacity to scope, develop, deploy and maintain decision support systems.Federated IKM systems are ideal for encouraging greater IKM collaboration.

Date: 2019
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