Island states are especially at risk of climate impacts and are already feeling the effects of rising sea levels, acidification, climate extremes and other impacts. Small islands face several unique challenges: They usually have limited resources to react, but are exceptionally exposed due to their physical setting and limited livelihood options. In addition, they are remote and not easily reached in time of crisis, making adaptation an imperative. This contribution presents the concept for an integrated database on climate impacts and adaptation, focussing specifically on the requirements of small island states. The database contains information on climate impact projections, linked to examples of existing adaptation projects. The database provides a structured overview of success-factors and limitations, piecing together fragmented knowledge and fostering knowledge exchange across regions in order to support science-based adaptation. While adaptation experience is increasing, including an evolving understanding of prerequisites and limitations to specific forms of adaptation, knowledge is still fragmented, due to the mostly local nature of adaptation. Island states across the world can benefit from a structured exchange, focussing on the transferability of success-criteria for adaptation. An improved knowledge base is also important for other regions, which will face similar challenges in the coming years.