Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Coming soon, a Mediterranean coastal risk index

Written by Christiane Navas, NICE on Wednesday, July 15th 2015 à 15:11 | Read 1094 times

In order to increase the efficiency of integrated management techniques for Mediterranean coastal zones in the face of the impact and variability of climate change, the Blue Plan is working on a coastal risk index.

Rabat, the Medina
Rabat, the Medina
MEDITERRANEAN. An often dense population and essential infrastructure for transport and economic activity, make coastal zones highly sensitive. These areas are especially vulnerable to the variability of climate change as confirmed by scientific studies.

It is essential to understand the vulnerability of Mediterranean coasts in order to provide appropriate decision-making tools to those in charge of designing adaptation strategies. This is the objective of the coastal risk index, which brings together the expertise of the Blue Plan teams with that of Acclimatise. “Designing an index is part of the ClimVar project which seeks to promote the use of integrated management systems for coastal zones as a tool to fight the impacts of variability and climate change” confirms Antoine Lafitte, researcher at the Blue Plan, “Methodology is required to identify zones at risk along the Mediterranean in order to map them and define priorities”. 

An innovative approach

Eleven countries (Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Croatia, Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia Herzegovina) are participants in this project which began in October 2014. Several variables have been used for the index, including risk exposure (population density, types of socio-economic activities etc.), vulnerability (coastal profile, resilience of ecosystems etc.) or pressure on coasts (storms, rising sea level, droughts etc.). Each variable is weighted according to different parameters. “This is a novel approach and a simple, efficient and inexpensive solution based on the use and analysis of available data. What is innovative here is that information is blended, which was rarely the case up till now”, adds Antoine Lafitte.

As well as a regional map of risk-zones in the Mediterranean, the index will allow national and even local maps to be made. Thanks to local level data this has already been done for the province of Tétouan in Morocco. This has inspired other regions which also wish to have their own local map. Work on the methodological side of the coastal risk index is nearing completion. The overall objective is to provide this tool to 21 countries around the Mediterranean in order that they adopt it in preparation for the impacts of climate-change to come.

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