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Many strong voices: outline for an assessment project design

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This document defines, guides, and supports the development and implementation of a full assessment of vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in Small Island Developing States (SIDS), under the Many Strong Voices (MSV) programme. A summary of impacts of climate change on SIDS is provided along with a literature review and analysis of vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in SIDS, supplemented by consultations with SIDS partners, to indicate data availability and quality along with how to fill in data gaps. The authors provide an initial structure for the assessment is with recommendations for implementing a SIDS assessment of climate change vulnerability and adaptation. The assessment builds on a recognition that research into vulnerability and adaptation to climate change must include elements and approaches that ensure practical and policy relevance, and that address questions relating to the needs and priorities of SIDS regions. Recommendations describe the need for the work, the scientific methods to adopt, the focus on case studies, and the emphasis on a problem- driven and action research approach involving local consultations. Research, policy, and practice outcomes of the assessment are also described. The recommendations for carrying out the SIDS assessment, as identified in the literature and through consultations with SIDS stakeholders include:

an assessment is needed and should be completed as a scientific research project focusing on scientific methods but incorporating other relevant bodies of knowledge, such as traditional, local, and indigenous knowledge, especially with local partners
the assessment should be designed to make full use of available data but should also collect new data to fill in gaps
the assessment should be built on the understanding that vulnerability and adaptation to climate change are dynamic processes that occur and change over time. Therefore, the assessment should itself be dynamic and aim to avoid static descriptions of these processes at a given point
the assessment should learn from and draw upon, but also improve on, other regional assessment efforts, in particular, the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment.