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22 January 2014

 

Initiatives to increase coastal resilience

The World Meteorological Organization is part of two multi-disciplinary consortia for research projects to increase coastal resilience: Preparing for Extreme And Rare events in coastal regions (PEARL), and Resilience-Increasing Strategies for Coasts – toolKIT (RISK-KIT).

The European Union launched the two research projects in the framework of the 7th Framework Programme for Research (FP7), aiming to develop risk management strategies and tools for weather and water-related extreme events and increase the resilience of coastal communities.

PEARL

Coastal floods are one of the most dangerous and harmful of all natural disasters – as was demonstrated by the deadly tsunami-like storm surge from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in November 2013. Rapid urbanisation in coastal areas combined with climate change and inadequate flood management policies has increased the risk.

There is a need to improve forecasting, prediction and early warning capabilities using state-of-the-art science and technology to help policy makers and emergency services to develop robust risk reduction strategies.

While forecasting and prediction are keys to support the end-to-end risk management, of equal importance is the organizational ability to issue authoritative  warnings and ensure that emergency managers and the wider population acts on these warnings. Currently there is insufficient interaction between technical measures, institutional support and wider social mobilization and community awareness.

To overcome these shortcomings, the PEARL project aims at developing adaptive risk management strategies for coastal communities through a multidisciplinary approach integrating social, environmental and technical research and innovation. This is in line with the mission of the joint WMO/Global Water Partnership’s Associated Programme on Flood Management which is participating in PEARL as part of its wider mission to support countries in the management of floods within the overall framework of integrated water resources managment.

Acting as a hub for exchange of information and know-how on flood management, the Associated Programme on Flood Management will be responsible for the PEARL Work Package on Dissemination and Outreach, in order to ensure visibility of the project. It will also provide examples of best practices in coastal flood management made available through the PEARL project’ network.

The PEARL project is scheduled to last for four years, implemented by a consortium of 24 partners led by UNESCO Institute for Water, Education (UNESCO-IHE). The project will examine 7 case studies from across the EU and 5 case studies from outside the EU (2 case studies from the Caribbean and 3 from Asia) to develop a holistic risk reduction framework that can identify multi-stressor risk assessment, risk cascading processes and strengthen risk governance by enabling an active role for key actors.

RISC-KIT

WMO is also participating in the RISC-KIT project coordinated by the Deltares (the Netherland), which focuses on low-frequency, high-impact hydro-meteorological events. Until 2017, 18 partners (from 10 countries and 2 international organizations including WMO) will deliver ready-to-use methods, tools and management approaches to reduce risk and increase resilience, through the development of open-source and free-ware RISC-KIT that will consist of:

  • A Coastal Risk Assessment Framework (CRAF) which can quickly assess present and future hot spot areas of coastal risk at a region scale due to multi-hazards.
  • A quantitative, high-resolution EWS/DSS for use on these hot spots.
  • A web-based management guide offering innovative, cost-effective, ecosystem-based DRR measures.
  • A Coastal Risk Database of present and historic socio-economic and physical data.

These tools will enable Europe’s coastal managers, decision-makers and stakeholders to identify hot spot areas; produce timely forecasts and early warnings; evaluate the effect of climate-related, socioeconomic and cultural changes on coastal risk; and choose the best prevention, mitigation and preparedness measures for their coast.

Through the RISC-KIT, WMO is working with other partners on a case study (Sandwip Island, Bangladesh) to demonstrate the applicability of the CRAF to non-European environments, adding to the hydro-meteorological data collection. The RISC-KIT will be implemented in close coordination with the Bangladesh national sub-project for WMO Coastal Inundation Forecasting Demonstration Project (CIFDP-B).

 

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