Rising Seas: SEA’TIES’ Map of Solutions
By Théophile Bongarts 22 November, 2021
The Map Solution has >70 adaptation initiatives from across the world. Sea'Ties' Bongarts expands on the platform
A new race against time has begun to design the coastal cities of tomorrow. Indeed, reconfiguring coastal cities, while taking into account social, economic and environmental issues, will give rise to crucial and complex decisions in the coming years.
A new race against time has begun to design the coastal cities of tomorrow
The IPCC AR6 Code Red reasserts that if we do not drastically reduce emissions, sea level could rise by more than a metre by the end of the century. These projections are all the more alarming given that nearly 70% of the global urban population could be living on the coast by 2025.
Sea level rise and related extreme events are direct threats to rich biodiversity and people whose history, culture and economic activities are closely intertwined with the coast.
Sea level is committed to rise for centuries to millennia, so coastal cities must urgently adapt
Although reducing GHGs emissions remains the priority to limit the extent of the phenomenon, the IPCC emphasizes that “sea level is committed to rise for centuries to millennia”. Therefore, coastal cities and territories must urgently adapt and design new ways of living on the coast.
Many adaptation solutions have already been implemented across the world and can be inspirational for other cities!
The Sea’ties Initiative facilitates the implementation of adaptation solutions for coastal cities
In this respect, the Sea’ties Initiative (see presentation video) is designed to facilitate the development of public policies and the implementation of adaptation solutions for coastal cities threatened by sea level rise. The initiative is aimed at elected representatives, administrators and all stakeholders involved in this transition, as a forum for sharing experiences of sustainable solutions.
Sea’ties is an initiative developed by The Ocean & Climate Platform (OCP). The OCP’s mission is to promote thinking and dialogue between the scientific community, civil society and political decision-makers. Rallying close to 100 organisations across the world the platform endeavours to foster scientific knowledge and promote solutions relating to the ocean in the context of tackling climate change.
By making connections between concrete experiences and characterizing them through illuminating scientific works, Sea’ties promotes the most suitable practices and informs the choices of political decision-makers and regional administrators.
In this regard, a scientific article was recently published, synthesizing multidisciplinary knowledge on coastal adaptation issues, governance of responses and their implementation.
- Designing Coastal Adaptation Strategies to Tackle Sea Level Rise (Bongarts Lebbe et al., 2021) – The article presents a typology of different existing responses to sea level rise and proposes actionable adaptation approaches, considering governance modalities to facilitate implementation and social acceptability. Sustainable adaptation policies rely on knowledge and participatory engagement, multi-scalar governance, policy monitoring, and territorial solidarity. These conditions are especially relevant for densely populated areas that will be confronted with sea level rise, thus for coastal cities in particular.
It is more than ever a time to support and facilitate a transition which, albeit being complex, is essential to implement. In line with this objective, the Sea’ties initiative of the Ocean & Climate Platform launches The Map of Solutions.
- An inventory of practical solutions – The Map of Solutions features more than 70 initiatives across the world, listing actions implemented to address erosion, limit the impacts of storm surges or address soil salinization. Against these risks, there is no one-size-fits-all response capable of tackling the multitude of issues specific to each city and territory. Hence, the Map of Solutions brings together a variety of ambitious initiatives that combine different approaches ranging from protection responses, nature-based solutions, managed-retreat policies, research projects to capacity building and knowledge sharing activities.
- Sharing experiences to strengthen coastal resilience – The Map of Solutions provides project leaders with concrete feedback, highlighting the outcomes, lessons learnt and caveats, to support their action. The Map of Solutions is intended for territorial managers, citizens, elected officials and economic actors alike, and allows them to tailor their research according to their needs and resource. Going forward, the Map will collect and connect an ever-growing number of projects and stakeholders willing to share their experiences or be inspired by those already implemented.
Between 2022 and 2023, Sea’ties will bring together a diversity of stakeholders involved in the adaptation of coastal cities, in order to identify key enablers for the implementation of sustainable solutions.
- Five regional workshops will be organized in Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, Pacific, the US West Coast, and West Africa. This series of workshops will develop robust advocacy, adapt to different geographical contexts and draw on diverse experiences.
- Sea’ties advocacy work will address (1) the issues of production and access to scientific knowledge in the development of adaptation policies; (2) spatial and temporal hybridization of adaptation responses to address local consequences of sea level rise; 3) citizens engagement in defining large scale adaptation policies and considering broader societal goals; (4) access to funding for adaptation – both in developing and developed countries; and (5) mobilization of the finance and insurance sector as a lever for public action.
- Buoyed by its integration into the work of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Ocean & Climate Platform has the opportunity to promote solutions to all countries and organizations concerned. Solutions that have already been deployed can now be shared and inspire other regions. Adaptation entails a strong political commitment combined with the coordination of local, national and international governance frameworks: Parties must accompany coastal cities in their transition!
If not anticipated in a concerted manner, sea level rise may increase social inequalities within coastal cities. Sharing experiences between cities is essential, and the Sea’ties initiative puts social issues at the heart of the debate! Check out this video will social inequalities increase with sea level rise for more insights.
About the Ocean & Climate Platform (OCP)
The OCP’s mission is to promote thinking and dialogue between the scientific community, civil society and political decision makers. Rallying close to 100 organisations across the world (research institutes, NGOs, foundations, scientific centres, companies, as well as local and regional authorities) the platform endeavours to foster scientific knowledge and promote solutions relating to the ocean in the context of tackling climate change. A leading organisation of the ocean-climate community, the OCP enjoys observer status at the UN Conventions on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Biodiversity (CDB), and participates in government’s review of IPCC reports.
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