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Developing a local adaptation strategy for the coasts of Ílhavo and Vagos using a participatory approach


The coastal stretch between Ílhavo and Vagos in the West coast of Portugal is one of the most vulnerable low-lying coasts in Europe when it comes to storm surges and flood risks. From the geomorphological point of view, it is a dune barrier along a stretch of nearly 20 km, belonging to the municipalities of Ílhavo and Vagos. It extends from the mouth of the Ria de Aveiro lagoon (main entrance of Aveiro Harbour) and the beach of Barra to the beach of Areão, along a low-lying sand spit between the sea and a lagoon.

This study followed a participatory action-research approach. Local actors understood climate change could aggravate the coastal erosion problem that they already have. There was no local adaptation strategy to deal with medium or long-term impacts. Central to this research was the possibility of engaging different stakeholder groups (i.e. residents, national, regional and local administrators, policymakers, NGOs, fishermen and farmers, business owners) in a collective dialogue, informed by expert knowledge on climate impacts and adaptation options for the region. The Scenario Workshop method was used to provide the context for the co-design of an action-plan. The Adaptation Pathways and Tipping-Points method was used to produce dynamic adaptation pathways. These pathways (i.e. the adaptation actions represented over time and according to tipping-points) were then analysed further through a cost-benefit analysis. Results of the analysis were presented to local stakeholders.

Reference information

EU FP-7 project BASE – Bottom-Up Climate Adaptation Strategies towards a Sustainable Europe

Published in Climate-ADAPT Sep 13 2016   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Dec 12 2023

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