Integrative climate change adaptation planning approach in the Pacific


Adapting to changing climate requires taking steps to prevent or reduce the negative impacts of these changes on socio-ecological systems. It also requires the integration of disciplines, stakeholders, different modelling approaches, treatment options, and scales of analysis. To address these issues, we reviewed 116 peer-reviewed research papers to understand planning frameworks, methods and tools utilised in the region.

We found that a climate change adaptation plan must include an array of climate change-related risks and consider multiple factors in ways that extend beyond the reach of a single discipline. We also identified three important dimensions of a fully integrated climate change adaptation planning process, namely, integration in assessment, integration in modelling, and integration in adaptive responses.

Multi-layered integration for holistic planning

Further, adaptation plans need to provide an integration of different assessments and modelling outcomes that span engineering, ecological and social discipline, among many others. Therefore, adopting an integrated and holistic approach is more likely to produce better climate change adaptation outcomes over the long term. An integrated stepwise planning approach by involving multidisciplinary teams is a critical requirement for effective climate change adaptation in the context of small island developing states and coastal communities.

These multidisciplinary teams should include experts on:

  • regional ocean and coastal processes;
  • engineering;
  • ecological and ecosystems dynamics;
  • climate impact analysis;
  • economic valuation;
  • the social sciences; and,
  • integrative system modelling, scenario analysis, and decision support.


Hafezi M, Sahin O, Stewart R. A., Mackey B. Creating a Novel Multi-Layered Integrative Climate Change Adaptation Planning Approach Using a Systematic Literature Review. Sustainability. 2018; 10(11):4100.

About the lead authors:

Mehdi Hafezi

Mehdi Hafezi

PhD Scholar, School of Engineering and Built Environment.

Oz Sahin

Dr. Oz Sahin

Systems modeller and Senior Research Fellow in School of Engineering and Built Environment.

Professor Rodney Stewart

Prof. Rodney Stewart

Lead – Risk assessment of alternative adaptation options

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