Adaptation can be seen as the process of adjusting to the impacts and effects of climate change through identifying and implementing measures to help countries reduce the risks posed by climate change.


As Cook Islanders are heavily reliant on their natural surroundings, the adverse change in climate poses a crucial threat to the biodiversity, ecosystem, economy, and the lives of the people in the Cook Islands. The past studies of climate change have resulted in a focus towards the adjustments to sea level rise and storm surges associated with tropical cyclones. But as these extreme events have been increasing in the past few years so has the costs of dealing with these events. However, in combination with the analyses and studies of the climate trends there has been a clearer picture emerging of both the impacts and the adaptation options to cope with these.

There have been two proposed adaptation options for climate change in regards to coastal infrastructures: moving buildings out of risk zones and improving building standards within the zone itself. The building code and EIA (Environment Impact Assessment) procedures should reflect the adaptation options making the development worthwhile and safe.
There has been a number of sea walls constructed on Rarotonga to protect properties. Negatively, it has been reported that these structures in fact contribute to further erosion especially on unprotected shorelines near these sites. This is an example of why coastal protection barriers should be carried out with advice from coastal experts.

Monitoring and managing risk species for the use of research and early detection activities can be useful to detect periods of unsuitable lagoon conditions and to reduce impacts. This can be carried out by monitoring lagoons for changes in temperature, salinity, turbidity and quality.