Training Coastal Communities To Adapt to Climate Change

Posted by Billie Gross
December 9, 2009
Children Near Bank of River Ganges

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.



New Mexico, USA
December 9, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

I think what has a lot of folks worried about rising sea levels is the challenge to city planning it presents to officials of the great port cities of the world.

Recently one of our military leaders mentioned this in context to naval shipyards, and long term planning.

On the off chance that I'll live to see venetian gondolas making their way up Wall St. , I think the two basic choices facing urban costal areas are "retreat or build up".

Probably a combination of both, as approriate.

On a positive note, it may present people with some interesting possibilities for getting to work.

(nothing implied as to whether Wall St. will sink or swim)

Virginia, USA
December 9, 2009

Flavius in Virginia writes:

God to Noah: How long can you tread water? (Bill Cosby)

United States
December 10, 2009

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

I've been going to the ocean daily for the past 20 years and notice it hasn't risen a bit. It's still where it always is. If it is supposed to be rising, someone should tell it.

Texas, USA
December 11, 2009

Karla in Texas writes:

This should be presented, provided, and developed in Galveston. We were hit by Ike the largest hurricane on record. Are one of the fastest dissappearing lands in North America. Out City Goverent has not only few tools but also outdated tools. Out of 17,000 flooded structure since Sept 08 only 54 have elevated. Our floodplain benchmarks are over 17 years old & every county in the Galveston bay region has experienced excessive subsidence. Surveyors are using benchmarks that are over 1.5 feet. Wrong and people are being denied Increased Cost of Compliance Insurance. Also, houses were not declared substaintially damaged that should have been. The City used to low of damage assaestments. Homes with 8 feet of water in them and no walls are bing rebuilt exactly where they were.

If my federal government advoactes and provides tools for resielency then I HAVE NOT SEEN THIS IN GALVESTON, Texas. Next time a major city like Houston might get hit directly and bring the country real problems.

Come and get this right on Galveston Island and it will help you prepare. Rebuilding right where we were after Ike is truly criminal. It is also negligent at all levels of local, state, and federal government.

Y'all need to step it up. Still talking about resielency and coastal tools and yet the last place devasted by a storm and global warming is not even in the loop. Tell Obama it is hard to have hope when your community is forgotten.


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