Coastal Areas

Human societies will need to adapt to sea level rise, which means flooding, increasing risk of storm surges, coastal erosion and the loss of low-lying coastal systems. Also there are many other risks associated with saltwater intrusion and ecosystem degradation and temperature changes affect livelihoods and large scale ecosystem functioning.

When the future of coastlines needs to be decided on, a range of different values needs to be assessed. Coasts are valuable to many different people who need to have  say in the solutions concerning adaptation.

Latest news and events

The WAC community of practice on floating development is discussing how to scale up their engagement to benefit countries exposed to floods and sea level rise. A webinar is being prepared for on the 2nd of September.


The power of three: mangroves, seagrass and coral

The power of three: the interconnected system of mangroves, seagrass and coral reefs

Interventions on nature-based solutions need to be systemic. Here we explore the system of mangroves-seagrass - coral reef, and the importance of addressing this as a system. The success of one ecosystem is linked to that of the others, and each performs different functions.

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Aerial view of river IJssel, Zwolle, Overijssel Province, the Netherlands.

The Delta Programme governance approach, The Netherlands by Peter Glas

The Delta Programme of The Netherlands is a government initiative to ensure that the Netherlands is protected against flooding, now and in the future, and prepared for weather extremes. Furthermore, sufficient fresh water must be available.

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Choosing the strategy: retreat, defence or attack

Various scenarios or vision building can be done investigating different options involving: retreat, defence, or “attack”. This section will elaborate more on these different steps.


Retreat is inevitable in some places. Planned retreat is preferred which can include compensation to coastal citizens who will at some point need to abandon their land.


Coastal defence can range from hard structures to nature based solutions. Sand dunes often provide a natural defence against sea level rise and can be strengthened.  

Sand engine, The Netherlands
Sand engine, The Netherlands


Attack or coastal advance is an option which means building into the sea. Floating developments is a traditional solution which is used in both low and high income countries. How to scale up this solution to support coastal adaptation is a mission for the Community of Practice on floating development.

A floating platform in a lake
Photo: Nandan Mukherjee
 Floating Farm, Rotterdam
Floating Farm, Rotterdam


Cape Town was near day zero in 2018. The drought that threatened to turn off the taps in Cape Town was made three times more likely by global warming, according to a study. Credit picture perfect istock.
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Urban Resilience

Disasters, climate change, and rapid urbanization pose a serious risk to the provision of urban water services including safe drinking water, sanitation, and safe drainage.

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Cross Cutting

Eifel, Elz valley, flood disaster, July 15th 2021. Europe is highly urbanised and has too few natural buffers that can infiltrate extreme amounts of heavy rainfall. Markus Volk. istock.
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Nature based solutions

Nature based solutions work with and enhance nature to restore and protect ecosystems and to help society adapt to the impacts of climate change. Adaptation calls for the increased use of nature based solutions with multiple benefits which at the same time provides for livelihoods, ecosystem life support and community resilience.

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A river basin in a mountanous region.
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River Basins

Collaboration in a river basin is needed to share increasingly scarce resources, manage water related risks emerging from various land uses and prevent flooding by linking upstream and downstream activities. Upstream areas need to ensure spatial planning that is mitigating floods for downstream areas. 

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