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An Evolutionary Approach to Adaptive Capacity Assessment: A Case Study of Soufrière, Saint Lucia

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Written by James Ryan Hogarth

This paper presents the results of a research project that assessed the capacity of Soufrière, Saint Lucia to adapt to climate change. It is part of the Global Islands’ Vulnerability Research Adaptation and Policy Development (GIVRAPD) project, which was  headed by the NGO Caribsave, and funded by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN).

A community-based vulnerability assessment was conducted that employed semi-structured interviews with community members. The results were analysed using ODI's Local Adaptive Capacity (LAC) framework, which characterises adaptive capacity based on five elements: asset base; institutions and entitlements; knowledge and information; innovation; and flexible forward-looking decision-making and governance.

Beyond providing an in-depth analysis of Soufriere’s capacity to adapt to climate change, the paper argues that the elements of the LAC framework largely correspond with an evolutionary perspective on adaptive capacity. However, other evolutionary themes—such as structure, history, path-dependency, scale, agency, conservation of diversity, and the perils of specialisation—should also be taken into account.

  • An Evolutionary Approach to Adaptive Capacity Assessment: a case Study of Soufriere, Saint Lucia

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James Ryan Hogarth and Dariusz Wójcik.