Webinar: Scaling up Nature based Solutions for adaptation in coastal areas

Submitted by Nitya Jacob | published 15th Jun 2022 | last updated 27th Jun 2022
Webinar on coastal adaptation
Thursday, 23 June, 2022 - 12:30 to 14:00 (Africa/Ceuta)

Webinar: Scaling up NbS for adaptation in coastal areas


Coastal environments form the interface between the land and sea or ocean. They host key infrastructures, ecosystems and about 40% of the world’s global population. Coastal ecosystems are already impacted by the combination of sea-level –rise, other climate-related ocean changes and adverse effects from human activities on ocean and land.

One of the most certain consequences of global warming is an increase of global sea level. More intense and frequent extreme sea level events, together with trends in coastal development, are expected to increase annual flood damages by two to three orders of magnitude by 2100.

Solutions for adaptation in coastal areas

Adapting to sea-level rise typically entails large-scale investments with a long lead time for planning and implementation, and potentially large societal impacts. To safeguard the livelihoods of the 100 million people who live within one meter of the mean sea level and the existence of some islands and deltaic coasts, adaptation needs to be accelerated. 

In the face of deep uncertainty there is a need to support decision-making for choosing an appropriate and accepted adaptation strategy. Some of the main strategies include: protect/defend, accommodate, advance, and retreat. It is also important to incorporate Nature based Solutions (NbS) that can provide coastal protection, and also provide a variety of benefits such as a healthy ecosystem and a stimulated economy through tourism and recreation activities.

Hard coastal protection measures are traditional solutions and provide predictable levels of safety. In contrast, Nature-based Solutions (NbS) are not yet widespread. This is because there are challenges of implementing these, which calls for sharing of good examples and sharing of lessons learnt to stimulate upscaling. 

Purpose of the webinar

GCA’s Water Adaptation Community organized a webinar on the 23rd of June on coastal adaptation using NbS. The speakers at the webinar presented different coastal adaptation strategies and examples of how NbS have been included as well as challenges and opportunities for upscaling. It was held along with an-in person event on climate adaptation in Groningen, the Netherlands. This event convened local private sector partners and stakeholders, and was organized by the knowledge and innovations broker of the Akkoord van Groningen. The Akkoord is a strategic partnership aiming to develop the city and province into a prime knowledge and innovation hub on global issues, such as climate change adaptation.[1]

International experts and implementers presented case studies and discussed the policy imperatives to scale them up. The webinar provided an international platform and inspiration for innovation and bringing together a global community of practice on coastal adaptation. The webinar was followed by an in-person discussion involving private sector partners to discuss how to scale up NbS further in the North of the Netherlands. It was livestreamed on Youtube and the link is available here.

Online Program

  • 12:35 Joanna Eyquem, Managing Director, Climate-Resilient Infrastructure Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo, Canada: 
  • Keynote on Combining Natural and Grey Infrastructure – with examples from Canada’s Eastern and Western Coastal Communities
  • 12:45 - 13:45 Panel discussion and Q&A from audience in Groningen and online. Facilitator: Joanna Eyquem. The panel discussion will be divided into two parts.
  • The first segment will present case studies on different options, covering challenges and successes to the implementation of NbS. The focus will be on key policy recommendations on how to get action going at the desired speed and scale, including making best use of the private sector.
    • Albert Vos, Project Manager, IBP Vloed: Eems-Dollard 2050 as a hybrid solution combining defensive infrastructure and NbS or Ecosystem based Adaptation: 
    • Ole Fryd, Associate Professor, Landscape architecture and planning, University of Copenhagen: Coastal protection examples from Denmark: Implementing the NbS agenda to protect, accommodate, retreat, or avoid
    • Moussa Sall, CSE and Didier Kabo, WACA: Dune reconstruction in Saint Louis, Senegal
    • Paul Sayers, Sayers and Partners: Decision-support and examples from the UK on how to inform decision-makers on coastal risk and adaptation
  • In the second segment, two other panelists joined the discussion to reflect on the upscaling and replicability of these cases to other areas, with policy recommendations. They were
    • Floris Boogaard, Senior Consultant, Deltares
    • Fen-Yu (Vicky) Lin, Project Manager and Water Pioneer, Blue 21: Floating development enabling NbS