Watch events live from the U.S. Center in Copenhagen. Follow the U.S. Center on YouTube and Flickr.About the Author: Billie Gross serves as Public Affairs Specialist for the Bureau of Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. She is currently on assignment at the U.S. Center in Copenhagen.
Today, at the U.S. Center at COP-15, John Furlow of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) participated in an event on coastal climate change adaptation planning. In his presentation he discussed “Adapting to Coastal Climate Change: A Guidebook for Development Planners.”
While we all will face challenges in adapting to climate variability, these challenges will be the greatest in the developing world where often weak institutions and governance systems struggle to deal with mounting pressures from population growth, inadequate infrastructure, and diminishing or already depleted natural resources. In this context, the unique ecosystem processes and extraordinary development pressures within the coastal zone make the task of helping to build resiliency against the impacts of climate change all the more urgent for development planners and the donors who assist with development.
Through John’s presentation, I learned that the Guidebook provides a detailed treatment of climate concerns in coastal areas and is being used to help areas like the Marshall Islands address climate change impacts such as rising sea level, increasingly intense cyclones, altered precipitation and runoff, elevated sea surface temperature, and ocean acidification. Russell Jackson from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) also participated in the event and pointed out in his presentation that the Guidebook was used by USAID, NOAA and other partners to develop and deliver a training program in Vietnam, Ecuador, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
The Guidebook is both a tool in itself and a link to other resources. The processes, tools, and resources that it contains are based on the inputs of numerous coastal planners, climate change experts, and other development professionals. It was prepared under the guidance of the Water Team and Global Climate Change Team of the U.S. Agency for International Development. The effective application of these tools, development of new techniques and sharing of lessons will be critical to meet all of the countless challenges of a fast evolving landscape/seascape of coastal climate change adaptation around the world. The Guidebook is available in the COP-15 website publication library.