Commission Report on Climate Change Adaptation in Oceans and Coastal Areas

Commissioned Report
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The oceans have been warming globally for the past 50 years, and since the early 1990s they have been warming about twice as fast as before that time. Ocean warming and associated environmental changes are projected to continue over the century, leading to more severe extreme weather events and an increased risk of coastal disasters such as storm surges. For people in coastal areas, whose livelihoods are closely linked to the ocean, are disproportionately vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, adaptation measures are an urgent issue. Concerns about the impacts of climate change on the oceans and coastal areas have been increasingly recognised since the beginning of the international climate change discourse, and the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) calls for adaptation through the conservation of coastal and marine ecosystems and management of coastal areas. However, the link between the ocean and climate change has long attracted attention. The preamble to the Paris Agreement in 2015, which explicitly states that attention should be paid to the importance of ecosystems, including the oceans, was a turning point, and these days, discussion on ocean and climate nexus has gradually been included in the official UNFCCC processes. The accumulation of scientific knowledge on climate change and the oceans through the IPCC Special Report on the Marine Cryosphere, adopted in 2019, has also played a significant role in growing interest in this topic. The first UNFCCC official climate change and ocean dialogue held in 2020 highlighted promoting the use of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) and boosting the process of developing national adaptation plans (NAPs) to facilitate ocean and coastal adaptation efforts under the UNFCCC. It has been widely acknowledged that it is important to better understand and make appropriate use of ocean and coastal ecosystem systems while addressing the impacts of climate change

Meanwhile, international momentum for adaptation in general is growing, with the UK as the COP26 Presidency in 2021, having identified adaptation and resilience as a priority theme for COP26 and launching a range of adaptation initiatives since 2020.  It is also important to incorporate an ocean and coastal perspective into these adaptation efforts. Therefore, there is a need to organize information to accurately assess the international status of adaptation in the ocean and coastal areas and to input knowledge to promote further adaptation measures. As adaptation needs vary considerably depending on local contexts, it is essential to simultaneously organize the consideration of adaptation measures at the regional and city levels. Against this background, this work will gather national and international knowledge, organize and analyze information on adaptation in marine and coastal areas.