The programme includes the IDRC Davos 2016 agenda of sessions, plenary sessions, special panels and workshops. Click on the session title for more details.

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Session 20: Harmonizing DRR and CCA in Urban Areas
Tuesday, 30/Aug/2016:
3:45pm - 5:15pm

Session Chair: Anamaria BUKVIC, Virginia Tech
Session Chair: Florian ROTH, ETH Zürich
Room: Schwarzhorn

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Pathways for Coastal Adaptation in Metro Vancouver

Alexandra Heather RUTLEDGE

University of Waterloo, Canada

Coastal megacities are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Climate change and sea level rise present tremendous risk for damage and loss in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia. The combination of sea level rise and intensified storms under a changing climate can result in storm surge, erosion, and flooding. Such scenarios have the potential to overwhelm local resources in such highly urbanized landscapes. With looming climate change impacts, awareness of the risks has spurred the need for updated coastal adaptation planning and policy responses. Metro Vancouver is dominated by structural adaptation methods, with heavy emphasis on coastal engineering infrastructure, such as dikes and seawalls. Non-structural adaptation methods, such as managed retreat, receive less attention. Municipalities are faced with mounting responsibility, conflicting priorities, and a reduction of funding and support to for present and future adaptation needs. The purpose of this research is to uncover the factors that influence the choice between traditional, engineering methods, verses a diversified, non-structural approach to coastal adaptation and planning. Furthermore, the research aims to uncover the barriers, as well as the opportunities for improvement in coastal adaptation for an urban environment more resilient to climate change and sea level rise. Through secondary data collection and key informant interviews with actors involved in coastal management, planning, and decision-making, this research explores and presents preliminary results for the potential application of managed retreat as a climate change adaptation strategy for sea level rise and flood resilience. While local in context, this research on Metro Vancouver can be used as a comparative piece for lessons learned and knowledge sharing. Climate change is a global endeavour, and understanding why barriers emerge to implementing adaptation, and identifying pathways for overcoming barriers, is crucial to lessen the consequences of climate change and move towards transformation and resilience.

Advancing Coordination Between DRM and CCA in Integrated Flood Risk Management


1Danish Coastal Authority; 2Technical University of Denmark

Flood hazards in coastal regions induce risks toward lives, property, economy and the environment. In need of sustainable and holistic actions to reduce risks, these should include innovative Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) measures. While differing on important parameters such as political commitment, awareness and uncertainty of the hazard/risk, commonalities between DRM and CCA can also be identified that affect human settlement, institutional adaptation, and the economy. This supports coordination of mitigation and adaptation measures to create resilience and sustainable solutions that take into account present and future outcomes. Adaptation must be integrated in existing policy making and be a planning process priority to become effective, however. In relation to coastal hazards in Denmark, deficits are identified in how DRM is brought into effect, e.g. though lack of planning and awareness. This, we argue, may be the golden opportunity to improve the national DRM-CCA integration.

Past coastal risk mitigation and adaptation in Denmark only focused on structural measures. Due to its long coastline this is neither a sustainable nor an economically feasible solution ahead, and emphasis on non-structural measures is crucial. From qualitative research, we show that for the Danish case this should include: new policies, legislative changes, a higher degree of preparedness, and an improved awareness among stakeholders and civil society. The shift towards non-structural measures is hampered by lack in coordination that should be improved to agree e.g. on an acceptable risk definition and to avoid duplicating efforts. To advance awareness and coordination between DRM and CCA and to improve measures, a bottom-up approach could by initiated by civil society using recent flood events to exert pressure on the national government, and in a top-down approach the government could identify the needs among the civil society to include these in the decision-making process.

Managed Retreat for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction: A Comparison of Three Coastal Megacities


1University of Waterloo, Canada; 2University of Waterloo, Canada; 3Balsillie School of International Affairs, Waterloo, Canada; 4All Hands Volunteers, Nepal

Managed retreat is increasingly being looked to as a proactive disaster risk reduction strategy for coastal megacities facing climate change, but the degree to which managed retreat is used appears to be highly variable and context-dependent. Research was carried out in the cities of; Lagos, Nigeria; Manila, Philippines, and; Vancouver, Canada, under the “Coastal Cities at Risk (CCaR): Building Adaptive Capacity for Managing Climate Change in Coastal Megacities” program funded by Canadian IDRC. The main goal of the research was to determine the extent to which manage retreat was seen as a viable climate change adaptation option. Anticipating that there could be significant barriers to the use of managed retreat, a secondary goal was to identify barriers preventing the use of managed retreat as CCA. Research methods included semi-structured key informant interviews, review of secondary data/literature, and in the Manila and Vancouver cases, direct observation of regions where managed retreat would be most useful. The research revealed significant variations across the three cases. Manila has adopted proactive managed retreat more than the other two cases, while Vancouver fell at the opposite end of the spectrum, demonstrating the most significant array of barriers to the use of managed retreat. Lagos has had limited experience with managed retreat, and appears to use the approach opportunistically. The presentation concludes with general recommendations for cities exploring the possibility of adding managed retreat to their CCA toolkit.

The Process of Involving Citizens in the Planning of “Green Cities”


University of Stuttgart, Germany

Diverse efforts are underway to plan cities so they are both more resistant to climate change and, in some instances, may even help avoid negative influences on climate. Some examples include: sustainable energy-production, new “clean” mobility concepts, energy efficient housing, and the planning of green urban zones.

In Germany, urban planning directives require citizen involvement at several stages of the process. However, the definition and implementation of what constitutes “involvement” can vary greatly. The challenge is to discover which participation processes slow down the planning and which may lead to potentially faster implementation of new ideas. Furthermore, how can the results of any process count as a positive contribution to protect the climate? And lastly, what method of participation builds trust between the governmental or corporate authorities and the citizens?

Two German city cities will be presented as examples of our facilitation processes (Stuttgart and Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler). In semi-structured interviews, we asked the leading city authorities for their input on what conflicts and challenges exist regarding climate change for their particular cities and areas. Building on these interviews, we developed a process to include citizens as “experts” of their own neighbourhoods in the planning process. The results of this process need to be approved by the city authorities to become effective. Likewise, citizens must feel that their input is valued and utilized.

Working with the students of our new Master Program “Urban Planning and Citizen Participation” we attempted to identify “success factors” of fair participation. The result of our research has been the development of guidelines for successful participation in climate change programs for urban planning and citizen involvement. The outcome of the research will be presented along with a definition of what we mean by “success” regarding results for “green cities” with less environmental footprints.

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