Policy ForumDisaster Management

A global strategy for protecting vulnerable coastal populations

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Science  12 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6202, pp. 1250-1251
DOI: 10.1126/science.1254629

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The 2014 Working Group II report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that lowlying coastal areas are increasingly exposed to risks from sea-level rise, flooding, and extreme storm events (1). Low-lying coasts of developing countries in particular face two types of vulnerability: (i) a lack of capacity to respond quickly and effectively to natural disasters and (ii) declining protection for people and property as coastal habitats disappear. A science-based global strategy for protecting coastal populations should address both sources of vulnerability, through investments in short-run emergency response and long-term coastal adaptation.