Innovative Approaches for Strengthening Coastal & Ocean Adaptation: Integrating Technology & Nature-based Solutions
To address the progressive impacts and challenges of climate change, there is an urgent need to adopt innovative adaptation approaches such as those that integrate both technology and nature to enhance the resilience of coastal and ocean-dependent communities. This policy brief summarizes actions and recommendations for scaling up innovative approaches to achieve multiple benefits for people and nature. The findings are based on the outcomes of a series of events on integrated adaptation approaches organized by UNFCCC Technology Executive Committee (TEC), UNFCCC Nairobi Work Programme (NWP) Expert Group on Oceans, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the Friends of Ecosystem-based Adaptation (FEBA) Network in 2021 as part of Technology Day.
Innovative climate adaptation approaches that integrate both technology and nature-based solutions offer the potential to be more robust, comprehensive, and cost-effective than either solution alone. In coastal and the ocean contexts, these solutions include early warning systems for extreme events, hybrid approaches to reduce the impacts of storm surges and sea level rise such as restoration of coastal vegetation alongside engineered seawalls, investments in nature-based infrastructure, new technologies to reduce harmful fishing practices, ecosystem-based marine spatial planning with coherent networks of marine protected areas, and coastal hazard mapping. However, despite the pressing adaptation needs of coastal and island communities, knowledge, capacity, and financing gaps and challenges prevent the widespread implementation and mainstreaming of these integrated approaches.
This policy brief provides an overview of the value of integrated adaptation solutions and the challenges and opportunities to increasing their uptake and scaling, including through interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral approaches based on partnerships; supportive policy and regulatory frameworks; sustained, innovative and accessible financing; and use of evidence-based targets.
The key findings of this brief include the need to:
- Undertake co-production of localized adaptation solutions that combine scientific, local and indigenous knowledge, engage diverse stakeholders, and distribute benefits equitably across and within communities.
- Collaborate on trans-disciplinary research and encourage mutual learning through long term monitoring and evaluation programs. This will facilitate the development of robust evidence, data, and standards that document the role of natural assets, coastal and marine nature-based solutions (NbS), and green-gray infrastructure to support coastal and marine climate adaptation outcomes.
- Address the barriers that restrict access to financing, including perceptions of and risks associated with innovative and nature-based approaches, in order to scale up integrated adaptation solutions.
- Foster enabling policy and regulatory frameworks to support the uptake and implementation of integrated adaptation solutions in national climate strategies, local planning and regulations, and international standards and codes for civil engineering and construction.
- Build cross-sectoral partnerships, including with the private sector, to exchange knowledge and ideas, develop innovative technologies, and bolster the business case for integrated adaptation solutions.