Vulnerability to climate change and adaptive capacity in Samoa: The case of Saoluafata Village

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Sutherland, Karen M.
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University of Guelph

Samoa is a Small Island Developing State and is expected to be particularly vulnerable and have limited ability to cope with the effects of climate change. The aim of this research is to assess the vulnerability of a community in Samoa to climate-related risks. This is achieved through use of the participatory 'vulnerability approach' applied to the case study of Saoluafata Village. Insights gained from focus groups and household interviews indicate that the physical landscape and settlement pattern of the community contribute to its exposure to tropical cyclones, flooding and coastal erosion. Institutional support, social capital, wealth, infrastructure and social stability are important factors in the adaptive capacity of Saoluafata Village. However, the current capacity to cope with climate-related risks will not likely be able to accommodate projected changes in climate. Potential adaptive strategies to reduce the vulnerability of Saoluafata Village include a seawall, water drainage system and water tanks.

vulnerability, Samoa, Saoluafata Village, climate change, adaptive capacity