On 28th February, IPCC published its 2nd release of the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) on „Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability“. This report calls for our attention, more than any report previously, on coastal zones. One of its key finding’s states: „Coastal cities and settlements are on the frontline of climate change – they face among the highest climate risks. But they are also a key source of innovations in climate-resilient development.”
The Mediterranean is a global climate change hot-spot. Due to the characteristic of Mediterranean coastal urbanization which tends to be located as close to the sea as possible, this report is particularly relevant for Mediterranean coastal cities and settlements.
One of leading authors, Bruce Glavovic, summarized for The Conversation five core conditions for coastal cities and settlements to fulfil their role in climate-resilient development:
- Take a long-term perspective when making short-term decisions by keeping options open to adjust as sea-level rises and avoiding new development in high-risk locations
- Enable more effective coordination by establishing networks across different governance levels and policy domains to build trust and legitimize decisions
- Reduce social and climate injustice by taking historical conditions, including past emissions, and prevailing political realities into account and proactively reducing vulnerability and inequity
- Strengthen local democracy by facilitating participation, involving stakeholders early and consistently through to implementation, with particular attention to engaging indigenous people and marginalized and vulnerable groups
- Develop governance capabilities to tackle complex problems by drawing on multiple knowledge systems, including indigenous, local and scientific knowledge to co-design more acceptable and effective responses.
Adaptation planning takes time – and in case you haven’t started it yet – the best time to start planning how to increase the resilience of your coast is now!