Climate change

Responding to Rising Seas

OECD Country Approaches to Tackling Coastal Risks

Published on March 06, 2019

Also available in: French

There is an urgent need to ensure that coastal areas are adapting to the impacts of climate change. Risks in these areas are projected to increase because of rising sea levels and development pressures. This report reviews how OECD countries can use their national adaptation planning processes to respond to this challenge. Specifically, the report examines how countries approach shared costs and responsibilities for coastal risk management and how this encourages or hinders risk-reduction behaviour by households, businesses and different levels of government. The report outlines policy tools that national governments can use to encourage an efficient, effective and equitable response to ongoing coastal change. It is informed by new analysis on the future costs of sea-level rise, and the main findings from four case studies (Canada, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom).


Acronyms and abbreviations
Executive summary
Rising risks in coastal zones
The challenge of coastal adaptation
Emerging approaches to coastal adaptation
Aligning coastal risk decision making and funding responsibilities on the German Baltic Sea coast
Coastal infrastructure realignment and salt marsh restoration in Nova Scotia, Canada
Clifton to Tangoio Coastal Hazards Strategy 2120, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
“Rollback” in North Norfolk, United Kingdom
National adaptation plans
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Video interview on responding to coastal risks 

Watch this video to learn how the OECD recommends tackling the issue 


WEBINAR Video recording: responding to rising seas  

Coastal regions are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, due to their exposure to the combined effects of sea level rise and intense storm events. Coastal risks are set to intensify in the future, with the potential to bring unprecedented costs to livelihoods and economies. How can governments identify, prepare for and respond to these risks?

On 6 March 2019, Lisa Danielson of the OECD Environment Directorate and Alexander Bisaro of the Global Climate Forum discussed how OECD countries are responding to these risks, and what more could be done in the future. The presentation was based on the above report.


POLICY Highlights

Download the Policy Highlights (PDF) 



Related work



  • For more information, please contact Lisa Danielson, Policy Analyst, Climate Change Adaptation, OECD Environment Directorate.



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