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State of global coastal adaptation

  • Category
    Ecology and Environment
  • Published
    31st Oct, 2023


According to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, coastal cities in India like Mumbai, Ghoramara (Sunderbans), Puri (Odisha) and Konkan regions fall under the ‘moderate-to-high’ category of climate adaptation risks.

Key points of the study:

  • About: Experts from multiple countries, including India, assessed the state of global coastal adaptation by analysing 61 coastal case studies. These included 34 urban and 28 rural regions.
  • They are distributed across Africa (10 cases), Asia (7), Australia and New Zealand (7), Central and South America (9), Europe (10), North America (11) and Small Islands (7).
  • Mumbai (urban), Konkan region (rural), Ghoramara (rural) and Puri (urban) regions scored 39, 42, 44, and 47, respectively. These regions have been given aggregate scores, which range from 0-68.
  • No systematic correlation can be established between the level of adaptation effort and the level of socioeconomic development in these regions.
  • Risks highlighted:
  • Low-lying coastal settlements face a severe risk of coastal flooding. They represent roughly 11 per cent of the global population densities and account for 14 per cent of the global gross domestic product.
  • Researchers classified the 61 case studies into four categories:
    • Urban areas with relatively high population and asset densities (A1).
    • Urban areas with relatively lower population and asset densities or middle-size cities (A2).
    • Rural areas with high-value economic activities such as agriculture or tourism (A3).
    • Rural areas with non-market high-value features like cultural or natural (A4).
  • Being a densely populated urban region,
    • Mumbai is in the A1 category.
    • Puri is in A2 as it is a moderately populated urban region.
    • Konkan region is a rural area with high-value economic activities (A3).
    • Ghoramara is a rural area with non-market high-value features (A4).
  • On the basis of Climate adaptations:
  • Ghoramara: The adaptation plans were observed to be generic and local adaptation plans from state agencies were absent.
  • Konkan Region: The researchers highlighted that there were no adaptation plans for the Konkan region as well. The state action plan did not specifically address all the climate hazards comprehensively as multiple coastal hazards were ignored or neglected.
  • Mumbai: Though Mumbai has a climate action plan, its adaptation strategies did not accurately assess risks and did not specifically consider the adaptation needs of its vulnerable inhabitants, the paper pointed out.
  • Puri: The Puri region has action plans but there have been no sector-specific adaptation strategies or identification of communities most at risk.

Upcoming Global Stocktake Report:

Assessing the adaptation imprints for a wider panel of key risk areas is indeed critical to inform the Global Stocktake undertaken under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and that will start by 2023 and then occur every five years.

  • The Global Stocktake aims to evaluate progress on climate action at the global level.

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