Practicing Coastal Adaptation to Climate Change: Lessons from Integrated Coastal Management

James Tobey et. al.
Type of Resource: 
Best Practice / Lessons Learned

The challenges faced in adapting to climate change present themselves with increasing urgency. Nowhere will these challenges be greater than 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. This article synthesizes the many global climate change and other anthropogenic threats to coastal ecosystems and draws on lessons and good practices from global experience in integrated coastal management (ICM) that can be transferred to coastal adaptation to these challenges. The case is made that the process and best practices of ICM are not radically changed by applying a climate lens. For the most part, the good practices of planning and implementation coastal management measures apply equally to climate change as they do to other coastal issues. However, there are some new and important considerations that enter into planning and decision-making with respect to climate change. These considerations include the need for an even greater emphasis on nature-based coastal protection strategies and measures, more pronounced issues of uncertainty in decision-making, the need for a longer planning horizon, and the importance of including in the decision-making equation opportunities to mitigate the sources of climate change with adaptation measures.