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WMO, UNESCO Initiatives Aim to Increase Coastal Resilience

unesco-wmo22 January 2014: The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have announced their participation in two initiatives being undertaken to develop risk management strategies and tools for weather and water-related extreme events and to increase the resilience of coastal communities. The projects are titled, 'Preparing for Extreme And Rare events in coastaL regions (PEARL) project'; and 'Resilience-Increasing Strategies for Coasts – toolKIT (RISC-KIT).' RISC-KIT has 18 partners from 10 countries and two international organizations, while PEARL, a four-year research project (2014-2018), is a consortium of 24 partners. Both projects are receiving significant funding from and were launched by the European Union (EU).

PEARL aims to develop adaptive risk management strategies for coastal communities by integrating social, environmental and technical research and innovation, and by bringing together experts in hydro-engineering and risk reduction and management to share best practices. PEARL will examine seven case studies within the EU and five outside the EU (two from the Caribbean and three from Asia) to develop a holistic risk reduction framework through, inter alia, including key actors in the process. More specifically, PEARL is focused on seven clusters: understanding vulnerabilities and risk in coastal regions; understanding hazards under extreme events; holistic and multiple risk assessment; flood early warning systems for coastal regions; decision support and policy development for strengthening resilience; case studies; and dissemination and communication.

RISC-KIT addresses low-frequency, high-impact hydro-meteorological events, providing policymakers with concrete instruments and methods for enhancing protection of coasts from sea flooding, coastal erosion and sudden floods. RISC-KIT will provide tools and management approaches to reduce risk and increase resilience through four open-source and freely accessible products: a Coastal Risk Assessment Framework to identify risk areas (or hotspots) at the regional level; a flood warning and decision support system for the hotspots; a web-based guide with innovative, cost-effective, ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction measures; and a coastal risk database with physical, demographic and economic data. These tools are meant to enable coastal managers, decision makers and stakeholders to utilize the best prevention, mitigation and preparedness measures for their coastal areas. After initial testing in ten European countries, RISC-KIT is intended for use throughout the world. [WMO Press Release] [UNESCO Press Release] [PEARL Website] [RISC-KIT Website]