Technologies for Climate Change Adaptation: Coastal Erosion and Flooding

Sectors and Themes
Oceans and Coasts
Scale
Sub-national
Expertise Level
Practitioner
Specialist
Resource Type
Guidance and Frameworks
Language
English
Developer or Source
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

This guidebook is intended to be a practical tool for use by coastal zone managers in developing countries. The aim is to provide best practice guidance and assist these managers in assessing their evolving adaptation needs and help them to prepare action plans for adapting to climate change in the coastal zone.

The guidebook first reviews the main physical and societal impacts of climate change in the coastal zone. It then considers the process of adaptation to erosion and flooding/inundation hazards where major impacts may occur, and a range of adaptation technologies are best developed. Thirteen of these adaptation technologies are presented in this guide, representing examples of the project, accommodate or (planned) retreat approaches to adaptation. While this does not represent an exhaustive list of the adaptation technologies that are available, these technologies are among those most widely used/considered in the coastal zone today. All the technologies considered are relevant to climate change adaptation and collectively, more widespread application is expected in the future under climate change and rising sea levels

The guidebook makes clear that appropriate knowledge is a highly important prerequisite of successful adaptation. The more that is known about a coastal system, the more targeted and effective adaptation measures can be. It should be noted that communities often lack the knowledge to determine whether adaptation is appropriate, and which designs and standards are appropriate. Hence, a degree of technical guidance and assistance from organizations with a well-developed science and technology base is likely to benefit coastal adaptation in general as well as support appropriate use of individual technologies.

Finally, this guidebook stresses to its users that adaptation is more than the simple implementation of a suitable practice or technology. Adaptation should instead be viewed as an ongoing process whereby risks and opportunities are prioritized, risk reduction measures are implemented, and the effectiveness of the outcomes is reviewed. Hence, the performance of any adaptation technology should be carefully monitored and assessed, and the lessons fed back through the cycle to improve maintenance and future interventions.

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