Integrating adaptation knowledge for resilient Torres Strait communities

Integrating adaptation knowledge for resilient Torres Strait communities

Climate change and other evolving issues present both challenges and opportunities to Torres Strait communities. In order to assist communities and governance structures to think about the future, an ‘Adaptation Integration Workshop’ was held on Thursday Island from 23 July - 25 July. The workshop was led by CSIRO with support from TSRA.

The Integration Workshop was a key event in the NERP project “Building Resilient Communities for Torres Strait Futures”. It synthesised and built on knowledge shared in five previous workshops that the team has held since 2012. Ultimately, the Integration Workshop provided a powerful opportunity for participants to consider how they would like Torres Strait Island communities to develop over the coming years, what challenges and opportunities are involved, and how to build community strength and resilience.

Twenty-five participants attended, representing a mix of community leaders, community members, and Queensland government stakeholders; some of whom had participated in earlier workshops. These included a government stakeholder workshop in Cairns, and community workshops on Masig, Erub and Mabuiag Islands. Each of these earlier workshops considered how climate change and other pressures might impact on key resources used and valued by the communities, and developed some scenarios of possible futures for the three communities and the Torres Strait region.

In the Integration Workshop, participants discussed the feasibility of strategies identified in the preceding workshops, explored adaptation strategies, and assessed how these aligned with existing programs in the Torres Strait. While the workshop focused on Masig as a “pilot study”, participants in the Erub and Mabuiag community workshops shared their experiences and insights. The learning between communities was considered to be a valuable outcome of the workshop.

Workshop results will be provided to the communities and will link to a broader regional Torres Strait Adaptation and Resilience project led by TSRA, who ran a separate but related workshop on Thursday Island earlier in the week. The two workshops were held back-to-back to facilitate attendance of community leaders and members and government representatives involved in both, and to maximise opportunities to share insights and learning across workshops.

In addition to feeding into TSRA’s community-based climate adaptation planning process for the region, the project approach and outputs are also being used by the Queensland Government Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs for its draft planning scheme proposal for Torres Strait communities. Next steps for the project include evaluating project achievements, training of TSRA staff in project modelling tools, and developing video products for community and government audiences.

For more information, contact Dr Erin Bohensky from CSIRO at




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