Much of Asia’s rapid population and economic growth is occurring in large coastal cities that are at high risk from sea level rise and climate change. Asia’s densely populated deltas and mega-deltas and other low-lying coastal urban areas are among those described in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report as “key societal hotspots of coastal vulnerability” with many millions of people potentially affected.
With the increase in population in coastal areas, there is an increased potential for loss of life and property. In recent years, there have been many incidences of severe flooding particularly when high tides were combined with storm surges and high river flows. The risks posed by climate change to Asia’s coastal population will persist, despite any greenhouse gas stabilization. Future sea level rise and climate change are unavoidable as a result of existing high atmospheric CO2 levels and projected growth in population and infrastructure.
Physical risks and vulnerabilities in these regions are often accompanied by a deficit of adaptive capacity (i.e., the ability to cope with the risk and vulnerabilities posed by climate change) as the cities generally lack necessary resources – financial, human, and institutional – as well as access to relevant scientific information. Despite the urgent threats posed by the combination of sea level rise and climate change, local governments and the international development community have not as yet seriously considered the implications of climate change and sea level rise on rapidly growing coastal populations and infrastructure. This argues for urgent attention to risk and vulnerability assessment, awareness raising, and integration of science into planning and policy for the potentially affected areas.
Cities at Risk Workshops
Cities at Risk I
26-28 February 2009, Bangkok, Thailand
With support from APN, ICSU and Ibaraki University (Japan) the first Cities at Risk workshop brought together nearly 80 scientists, urban planners and officials, and representatives of disaster management and development agencies to review scientific findings and projections regarding climate-related risks (e.g., sea level rise, extreme climate events, intensification of storms and storm surges) for Asia’s coastal megacities. Participants examined potential vulnerabilities and current coping mechanisms in the cities and then discussed actions, in both the short and long term, that would enhance the capacity of cities to manage the risks and vulnerabilities posed by climate change.
Cities at Risk II
11-13 April 2011, Taipei, Taiwan
With support from the Academy of Sciences located in Taipei, Taiwan and other partners, a second international conference – Cities at Risk: Building Adaptive Capacities for Managing Climate Change Risks in Asian Coastal Cities (CAR II) – was held. The conference aimed to assess progress, to consolidate a network of researchers, decision‐makers and institutions in the region and to identify priorities for the next several years. CAR II was sponsored by the IRDR International Center of Excellence and hosted by the Academia Sinica, Taipei. The conference was co-organized by START, the East-West Center and CCaR (Canada).
Cities at Risk – Africa Workshop
25-28 March 2013, Durban, South Africa
START and partners convened a four-day scoping workshop on “Cities at Risk: Africa” in March 2013 in Durban, South Africa. Attended by scientists, municipal representatives, and representatives of relevant African Universities and research centers, the event sought to assess the state of knowledge and capacity needs regarding vulnerability and risk in the urban sector, and to share knowledge, insights and experiences on pathways for effective climate change adaptation and resilience in African cities and urban systems.
For more information about workshops and/or follow-on activities, contact Clark Seipt, email@example.com
Last Updated on July 15th, 2013