known and emerging risks to islands

Islands are particularly vulnerable to environmental risks from climate change and natural disasters.  These risks can be especially hazardous to a small-scale island economy and have cascading effects; for example, climate change vulnerability can negatively impact an island’s credit rating, further impairing its capacity for increasing resilience. In order to bolster islands’ resilience and adaptive capacities, it is important to both identify these risks and effective strategies to counteract them.

This project will attempt to identify climate and disaster risk areas for some of these island states (Curaçao, Bermuda, Tonga, the Marshall Islands, and the Azores); it will map out the effects of sea level rise and storm surges on critical island infrastructure, and conduct a ‘lifeline’ assessment of how long an island’s supplies would last if cut off from the outside world during a disaster. Further, the research will include an analysis of current disaster response policies in small islands as well as a look at best practices in building climate resilience. Ultimately, tailored recommendations will be provided to increase resilience to climate change and natural disasters in target locations based on identified vulnerabilities and best practices.


Team: Samantha Wu, Kelsey Hartfelder, Katie Blann, PwintPhyu Nandar, Grant Sigumura, Leigh Anna Johnson, Kenisha Johnson 

Advisor: Peter Kareiva, Tomás Olivier

Client: Blue Prosperity Program

The Blue Prosperity Program at UCLA aims to promote sustainable development in small island nations through cross-campus research projects in partnership with the Waitt Foundation.