Coastal adaptation along the Spanish coast. How are we doing?

19:00 Tuesday 28 May




Uxia Lopez-Doriga (Spain) 1; Jose A. Jimenez (Spain) 1; Jochen Hinkel (Germany) 2; Alexander Bisaro (Germany) 2

1 - Laboratori d'Enginyeria Marítima, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya BarcelonaTech; 2 - Global Climate Forum, Berlin

According to the Spanish Government, adaptation to climate change (CC) is a National priority objective due to the high vulnerability of the Spanish coast to climate variability and change. Within this context and to cope with expected changes in a proactive manner, a National Adaptation Plan was approved in 2006 and, just looking to the coast, the Spanish Strategy of Coastal Adaptation to CC was approved on December 2016. The purpose of this work is to analyze “direct” investments in adaptation measures along the Spanish coast during the last years, where “direct” refers to investments explicitly linked to (and “labeled” as) adaptation to climate change. To do this end, we perform a multidimensional analysis in which we include criteria related with economical (budget, costs), financial (funding), technical (design, performance, durability, suitability), environmental (benefits, impacts), spatial representativeness (location, importance), legal (changes on plans and laws), and social issues (acceptability, conflicts, costs and benefits distribution).

As in most of countries, investments in adaptation along the Spanish coast are essentially driven by public funding and, in consequence, to perform this analysis we have compiled data from relevant stakeholders such as the Spanish Government, Regional and Local Governments and EU. To be consistent with the Spanish Strategy, measures are classified into three categories (structural – physical, social and institutional); and into three subcategories according to the typology and purpose (protection, accommodation or retreat).

One of the main characteristics of current investments done in “structural measures” is that, they have been mostly designed to solve current coastal problems along the Spanish coast (e.g. storm-induced damages, structural erosion) and, consist of maintenance/restoration works in beaches and structures. In this line, less than 10 % of the total budget was assigned to ecosystem-based measures such as recovery and maintenance of wetlands.

When we consider all actions funded by the central government to date, 75% of the investment was aimed to protection measures. In addition to this, during 2017 the Spanish Government distributed 3 million € to regional governments to let them to “downscale” the Spanish strategy to the regional scale (information measures). In this work we shall provide an up-to-date picture on public-funded investments in adaptation to CC along the Spanish coast considering the different stakeholders. To put them in perspective, they will be compared with investments done during the last years to preserve our coasts under current climate scenario.