Climate Adaptation and Resilience: Challenges and Potential Solutions

Anticipatory Governance, Planning and Dialogue

by Pascaline Gaborit (Author)
©2022 Edited Collection 368 Pages


Climate change is one of the major challenges of our time. Escalating climate disasters like storms, floods, and dry spells lead to disruptions, social conflicts, and unrest. This book elucidates the reality of climate adaptation related challenges and needs in vulnerable territories. It considers cities, land use, anticipatory governance, and the role of civil society, as well as early warning systems and nature-based solutions. The research also highlights major obstacles such as funding, knowledge gaps, trade-offs, social justice, and multi-stakeholder cooperation. The book is unique in that it unites a variety of perspectives and examples from different regions to develop a thorough and nuanced perspective on potential climate change solutions and the barriers to behavioral change at all levels of climate-related decision making.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Content
  • Introduction Chapter on Climate Adaptation (Pascaline Gaborit)
  • Part I Governance and Policies
  • Chapter 1 Ambitions and Challenges of Climate Adaptation in Ten Cities (Pascaline Gaborit)
  • Chapter 2 Sustainable Local Economic Development and Gender Perspective in the Context of Climate Change Adaptation (Unang Mulkhan)
  • Chapter 3 Exploring Alternatives in Dealing with Climate Change and Land Based Conflicts (Arief Wicaksono and Ilya Moeliono)
  • Part II Successful Climate Adaptation Models and Early Warning Systems
  • Chapter 4 Urban Climate Resilience and Water: Successful Adaptive Planning, and Early Warning Systems (Pascaline Gaborit)
  • Chapter 5 System for Multi-hazard Potential Impact Assessment, Alert, Emergency Response Planning and Tracking (SMART) in Tamil Nadu India (Korlapati Satyagopal, Itesh Dash, Jothiganesh Shanmugasundaram, Ramraj Narasimhan, Subbiah Arjunapermal)
  • Chapter 6 Landslide Vulnerability, Risk and Resilience Management of Cultural Heritage Sites in the Western Slope of Lawu Mountain, Indonesia (Muhamad Iko Kersapati, Muhammad Attorik Falensky, Gina Fitri, Heri Purwanto)
  • Part III Nature Based Solutions and the Circular Economy
  • Chapter 7 Nature-Based Solutions in Climate Adaptation: A Shift from Specific, Isolated Tools to Large-scale Global Conservation (Pascaline Gaborit and Zoé Thouvenot)
  • Chapter 8 The Circular Economy from the Perspective of Local Climate Adaptation and Mitigation (Pascaline Gaborit)
  • Chapter 9 Indonesian Women in a Circular Economy: Waste Management Programs (Bulan Prabawani, Wiwandari Handayani, Dessy Ariyanti, Diana Nur Afifah)
  • Part IV Funding Climate Adaptation
  • Chapter 10 Sustainable Finance: The Hindered Potential of ESG Investing in Funding Climate Mitigation, Climate Adaptation and Resilience (Zoé Thouvenot)
  • Chapter 11 South Asia Region: Expanding Economy with Resilience and Adaptation Financing Challenges (Kamlesh Kumar Pathak )
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 12 Conclusion-Can Local and International Dialogue on Climate Adaptation Echo and Reinforce One Another? A Way Forward (Pascaline Gaborit)
  • Biographies and Acknowledgments
  • Contributions and Acknowledgments

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Introduction Chapter on Climate Adaptation

Pascaline Gaborit PhD

The aim of this book is to shed light on some realities of climate adaptation, resilience and the related challenges and needs in vulnerable and exposed territories. The book proposes a multi-disciplinary and multi-scale analysis of climate adaptation focusing civil society, governance systems and on dialogue and cooperation. It also identifies and analyzes a few solutions, policies and good practices such as early warning systems, nature-based solutions, and adaptive spatial planning. The book also focuses on conflict-solving approaches, and the importance of dialogue and accountability in creating meaningful climate attenuation solutions.


‘Human induced climate change including more frequent and intense weather events, has caused widespread adverse impacts and related losses and damages to nature and people beyond natural climate variability’ (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change 2022)

‘Approximately 3.3 to 3.6. billion people live in contexts that are highly vulnerable to climate change (…) Vulnerability is higher in locations with poverty, governance challenges and limited access to basic services and resources, violent conflicts and high levels of climate-sensitive livelihoods (eg. small holder farmers)...’ (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change 2022)

Climate change is one of the major systemic threats of our time. 2021 and 2022 have been marked by extreme climate events: unprecedented heat waves in Europe, in the Mediterranean, in North America, and in South Asia, droughts, desertification, and forest fires, unprecedented floods in Northwest Europe, and in Mozambique; tropical storms like Hurricane Yaas in Bangladesh1 and storm Ana in Madagascar2, as well as, consecutive cyclones Batsirai and Emnati of 2022, make up just a handful of the many natural disasters around the ←11 | 12→world. Impacts are countless. An estimated 10 million people are suffering from famine in the horn of Africa in June 2022.

Summer of 2021 was the hottest summer on record over countries like the United States and Tunisia with temperatures reaching over 50°C in some areas. Summer of 2022 reached records of temperatures in Western Europe due to a ‘double Jetstream effect’ (Rousi et al. 2022), including in France, in Portugal, in Spain and in the UK. These heat waves caused the ‘invisible and silent’ death of several thousands of people in each of these countries, and especially in cities more severely hit by the heat island effect. There was a myriad of unprecedented wildfires. The Dixie fire in California in the summer of 2021 resulted in the loss of 390,000 hectares of land and wildlife and has been recorded as the largest single fire on record in the state. Across the summers of 2021 and 2022, major wildfires occurred across many parts of the Mediterranean region with Algeria, Southern Turkey, Greece, Southern France, Spain and Portugal especially affected, accelerating a vicious circle of climate change with the destruction of important carbon sinks3. In the Gironde region in France, around 20 000 ha (200km²) have been burnt in the fires of July 2022, which is equivalent to twice the surface of the city of Paris. Another major consequence of climate change are floods. On the 14th and 15th of July 2021, Western Germany and Eastern Belgium received 100–150 mm of rainfall over a wide area on already saturated ground, causing flooding, landslides, and more than 200 deaths and many people homeless. At the same time, in the Henan province in China, flash floods were linked to more than 302 deaths, with reported economic losses equivalent to 17.7 billion US dollars (UNFCCC 2021). No area in the world seems spared by climate disasters. An unprecedented heat wave also hit India and Pakistan in April 2022, Niger is severely affected by water scarcity, a drought related disastrous famine is present in the horn of Africa, and floods in the North East of Bangladesh in June 2022 stranded 4 million of people in need of shelter, food, and clean water4.

Most of the human losses linked to climate change were overlooked, as they did not account for famines, malnutrition and other health-related deaths. Indeed, the latest IPCC report (2022) is raising the alarm on the impacts of climate change on the most vulnerable areas: ‘Increasing weather and climate events have exposed millions of people to acute food ←12 | 13→insecurity and reduced water security with the largest impacts observed in many locations, and/or communities in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, small islands, and the Arctic (…) Jointly, sudden losses of food production and access to food compounded by decreased diet diversity have increased malnutrition in many communities’ (IPCC, 2022:11). The famine in the South of Madagascar in 2021 and 2022, which was directly related to the crop failures caused by reduced rainfall, is another example of the increased death toll that is not always attributed to climate change, but where climate change is an important factor together with poverty and lack of infrastructure. The horn of Africa is also deeply hit by famine and malnutrition, caused by violent conflicts and by severe increasing droughts. Currently the life of 10 million people is threatened by famine and malnutrition in this region of the world.

Globally, approximately 3.3 to 3.6 billion people live in contexts that are highly vulnerable to climate change (IPCC, 2022: 13). No region is spared by the increase in climate-related disasters, while the link between climate change and the direct impacts is not always possible to demonstrate directly when the climate-related event is occurring. Preliminary ‘rapid attribution’ studies5 have been carried out for the heatwave in northwest America in June and July and found out that the heatwave is ‘still rare or very rare in today’s climate but would have been virtually impossible without climate change.’ Global sea level changes primarily result from ocean warming via thermal expansion of sea water and land ice melt, for example, from glaciers, which is creating concern of sea level rise, floods, soil erosion, and further climate change and climate related events as oceans are accumulating heat and are the most important carbon sinks for GHG emissions6. As a reminder, oceans account for 90 % of the total accumulated heat that has been gained by the planet due to climate change. Human vulnerability to climate-related disasters is higher in locations with poverty, governance challenges, and limited access to basic services and resources, violent conflicts, and high levels of climate-sensitive livelihoods such as farmers with small plots of land (IPCC 2022). Cities paid a heavy toll for this situation, as they accommodate populations with a high density including vulnerable groups, but also because cities are exposed directly to hazards: These include heat waves with impacts on vulnerable populations such as aging ←13 | 14→populations and children and flood exposure in the vicinity of riverbeds and coastal exposed areas. The 2022 IPCC report also explicitly mentions that vulnerability increases in informal settlements.

Map 1.Source total precipitation anomaly in Jan-Sep 2021 w.r.t. reference period 1951–2000. Blue indicates more precipitation than the long-term means while brown indicates less than usual rainfall totals. The darkness of the color represents the amount of the deviation (Source: Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC), Deutscher Wetterdienst, Germany).

Southeast Asia and Africa are highly vulnerable to climate disaster risks. Africa is highly impacted by droughts, desertification, and increases in temperatures, which affect water resources, ecosystems, rain-dependent agriculture, and communities (Gaborit, 2021). South Asia (Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Southern India) and Southeast Asia are directly exposed to floods and to sea level rise (Map 1), as well as to heat waves and increasing temperatures. 8 of the 10 countries in the world with the largest number of people living in low altitude areas are in Asia. This includes China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, and the Philippines (Climate Central 2019). Other countries like the Maldives are equally dangerously affected. Here again, civil society organizations and governance systems such as local governments and cities are at the forefront of the climate battle. Recent studies show that a city like Manila could be entirely underwater by 2050, while cities like Jakarta are ←14 | 15→threatened by subsidence or ‘sinking’ below the sea level. The city lost 3–10 cm already in some areas already due to groundwater extraction among others, leading to increased floods. As we will detail later in this book, this situation of vulnerability in large, but also in medium-sized cities, can also have cascading or compound effects on water access and landslides.

In 2015, the signatory countries of the Paris Agreement agreed to fight against climate change and to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 or 2°C. Seven years later, the efforts towards climate mitigation and adaptation are even more urgently needed – including scientific research on the topic. Climate change impacts are causing systemic cascading and compounding risks in different regions, where cities, civil society, and communities are at the forefront of adaptation, planning and resilience. We could assume first that there is a direct benefit for territories (and government tier levels) to invest in climate adaptation and resilience, as the investments will benefit to the protection of their own territories and communities (on the contrary to climate mitigation where the benefits are globalized, asking different countries and actors to act simultaneously). Our analysis tends to show however that in either case - of climate adaptation and climate mitigation- stakeholders and decision makers will be forced to make trade-offs to implement the necessary changes and investments.

The aim of this book is to develop different angles of approach, multi-disciplinary expertise, multi-scale analysis, and food for thought on the systemic risks, interdependencies, and possible solutions for climate adaptation and mitigation from the global level to the local level with considerations and frameworks for cities, civil society, and governments. This book is of interest for researchers, experts, decision makers, but also for any person working on climate adaptation, resilience and Dialogue. It focuses on climate adaptation challenges in Indonesia, India, Europe and other parts of the world and brings research findings, as well as a few specific examples of practical solutions and good practices. We approach interrelated systemic risks induced by climate change before considering possible solutions and success factors. Additionally, we demonstrate that governance, cooperation, nature-based solutions, green and circular economy as well as funding and financing climate adaptation can raise concerns in their implementation, even when technical solutions exist. We will focus on the Asian-Pacific Region, especially Indonesia and India, but with examples of successful developments globally.

The book is unique in that it unites different perspectives and examples from different countries and regions to develop a thorough and ←15 | 16→nuanced perspective on potential climate change solutions and the barriers to behavioral change at all levels of climate-related decision making.

The aim of the book is also to bridge a knowledge gap on climate adaptation and on the proposed solutions. It is split into 4 parts:

  • Part I: Governance and Policies
  • Part II: Successful Climate Adaptation Models and Early Warning Systems
  • Part III: Nature-Based-Solutions and the Circular Economy,
  • Part IV: Funding Climate Adaptation.

This publication is considering the challenges and solutions for the adaptation of territories to climate change. It approaches the governance actions, the cooperation of stakeholders, engineering and nature-based solutions, and finally questions of finance and funding.

The objective of the book is to create a joint publication between European and Asian researchers, on climate adaptation as a concept, and on solutions notably for cities. The authors illustrate through a cross-disciplinary analysis and complementary chapters, the coping strategies that have emerged to face climate change in particular in Indonesia and in India, but also at a larger scale.

This introduction will explore the broader picture of climate adaptation. It will first give the rationale behind the chapters of this book (part I) and then introduce the book’s approach, methodology and chapters (part II). Part I. will explore the impacts of climate change and the vulnerabilities (or why this book?) (1), consider the systemic threats induced by climate change (2), elaborate on the concepts of climate adaptation and resilience (3), before highlighting the lack of funding (4), and the necessity to strengthen climate mitigation (5). This part also explains why the focus of the book looks towards Asia. Part II will go through the multi-scale and multi-disciplinary analysis, the field methodology, before approaching the structure of the book and the presentation of the individual chapters.

Part I The Broader Picture of Climate Adaptation

1. Why This Book? Climate Impacts and Vulnerabilities

The effects of climate change are already known and experienced in different areas of the world, with variable intensity, but it is impossible ←16 | 17→to deny that they are already occurring. Forecasts and projections are based on different scientific scenarios. The human loss calculations related to climate change appear far below the exact fatalities where climate change acted as amplifier for other causes of loss of human life when considering droughts, famines, and other related problems (e.g. in Southern Madagascar in 2021 and in the horn of Africa as well as in Niger in 2022). It is foreseeable that climate extremities and disasters such as typhoons, floods, sea level rises, and extended dry spells become more frequent. The disruptions in the ecosystems and water resources jeopardize the wellbeing of populations and can lead to displacements, unrest, and potential conflicts (Glasser 2020, IPCC 2021). In this context, islands and coastal areas like the Indonesian archipelago, Bangladesh, the Maldives and other regions such South East Asia and Africa are becoming increasingly vulnerable to climate disasters (Nicholls et al. 2007). According to the recent IPCC report, half of the world’s population is now living in areas that are vulnerable to climate disasters (2022), and solutions are urgently needed to cope with this situation (and to reverse the trend when possible).

Fig. 1:Cascading effects of Climate Change

Tab. 1: Table on the impacts of Climate Change. Source Author.



ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2022 (August)
Bruxelles, Berlin, Bern, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2022. 368 pp., 31 fig. col., 27 fig. b/w, 12 tables.

Biographical notes

Pascaline Gaborit (Author)

Pascaline Gaborit is the director and founder of the Pilot4dev think tank: www.pilot4dev.com. Her main research areas and interests include climate adaptation, resilience, security, oceans, cities international cooperation, culture, conflict prevention, and gender.


Title: Climate Adaptation and Resilience: Challenges and Potential Solutions