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Coastal Adaptation Initiatives


A study in the journal Nature Climate Change has assessed the coastal adaptation efforts in various regions, including Indian coastal areas like Mumbai, Ghoramara in Sundarbans, Puri in Odisha, and the Konkan regions.

The study classifies these initiatives as ‘moderate-to-high’ concerning their adaptation measures.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Findings of the Study
  2. Coastal Adaptation
  3. Indian Government Initiatives for Coastal Management

Key Findings of the Study

Global Vulnerability and Economic Impact

  • Approximately 11% of the world’s population resides in low-lying coastal areas vulnerable to flooding.
  • These regions contribute around 14% to the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Adaptation Gap Assessment

  • Almost 50% of the surveyed regions showed significant gaps in adaptation efforts, with a focus on individual risks rather than addressing root causes of vulnerability.
  • About 13% of the case studies demonstrated high-to-very-high levels of adaptation, primarily observed in Europe and North America.
  • The remaining regions fell into the moderate category, including Australia and New Zealand.

Specific Region Assessments

  • In India, Mumbai, Puri, Konkan, and the Ghoramara region in Sundarbans displayed varying levels of adaptation measures.
  • Ghoramara exhibited generic adaptation plans but lacked locally tailored state-agency-specific strategies.
  • The Konkan region also lacked adaptation plans, failing to address multiple coastal hazards in the state’s action plan.
  • Mumbai possessed a climate action plan but faced challenges in accurately assessing risks and addressing the specific needs of vulnerable residents.
  • Puri, despite having action plans, lacked sector-specific adaptation strategies and the identification of high-risk communities.

Coastal Adaptation

  • Coastal adaptation involves a set of strategies and actions aimed at mitigating the impact of natural hazards and climate change on coastal regions.
  • Its primary objectives include safeguarding communities and infrastructure from rising sea levels, erosion, and extreme weather events.
Advantages of Coastal Adaptation
  • Economic Growth: Implementing coastal adaptation initiatives can stimulate economic growth by fostering climate-resilient infrastructure, renewable energy, and eco-tourism industries. This, in turn, generates employment and business prospects.
  • Ecosystem Restoration: Effective coastal adaptation can inadvertently lead to the restoration and preservation of natural ecosystems. This helps protect indigenous species and create habitats for endangered or vulnerable wildlife.
  • Disaster Resilience: Coastal adaptation plays a pivotal role in reducing the vulnerability of coastal communities to natural disasters. Measures such as resilient infrastructure, early warning systems, and natural barriers help mitigate the impact of events like storms, tsunamis, and sea-level rise, protecting lives, property, and livelihoods.
  • Food Security: Effective coastal adaptation practices, including aquaculture, sustainable fishing, and integrated farming, ensure a reliable supply of seafood and agricultural produce. This secures livelihoods for coastal communities and contributes to global food security.
Challenges in Coastal Adaptation

Diverse Stakeholders

  • Coastal adaptation involves various stakeholders, including government bodies, local communities, businesses, and environmental groups.
  • Coordinating these diverse interests and ensuring effective collaboration among them is often challenging due to differing priorities, leading to delays and conflicts.

Climate Uncertainty

  • Predicting future climate scenarios, such as sea-level rise and extreme weather events, is challenging.
  • Adapting to uncertain climate projections while planning long-term strategies can be complex, resulting in uncertainties in infrastructure and development planning.

Community Disruption

  • In some cases, coastal adaptation initiatives necessitate relocation or changes in land use, potentially fragmenting communities.
  • Dispersing or relocating populations may disrupt social structures and community cohesion, affecting their resilience and cultural practices.

Indian Government Initiatives for Coastal Management

Hazard Line

  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC) established a hazard line for India’s coast to manage shoreline changes resulting from climate change.

Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2019

  • The Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2019, aims to conserve coastal areas and livelihoods. It allows erosion control measures while defining No Development Zones.

Coastal Management Information System (CMIS)

  • The Coastal Management Information System (CMIS) collects near-shore coastal data to design and maintain protection structures at vulnerable stretches.

Successful Measures

  • Successful coastal erosion mitigation measures were demonstrated in Puducherry and Kerala, contributing to the restoration and protection of coastal areas.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023