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PEARL : Preparing for Extreme And Rare events in coastaL regions


Coastal floods are regarded as one of the most dangerous and harmful of all natural disasters. Rapid urbanisation in coastal areas combined with climate change and poor governance can lead to a significant increase in the risk of local pluvial flooding coinciding with high water levels in rivers and high tide or storm surges from the sea, posing a greater risk of devastation in coastal communities.

There is a need to improve forecasting, prediction and early warning capabilities using state of art science and technology to help policy makers and emergency services to develop robust risk reduction strategies. However, forecasting and prediction is only part of the answer. Of equal importance is the ability to effectively warn the population in areas that will be affected, and that warning systems for the general public are integrated into broader management strategies and supported by appropriate institutional and organisational arrangements. Preparing for effective response to extreme events not only involves technology but also significantly social, economic, organisational and political considerations. The PEARL project seeks to fill in the lack of interaction between social aspects and technical measures – appearing to be a major hindrance for solving some of the greatest problems associated with floods and flood-related disasters.

Based on the belief that problems are best solved by attempting to correct or eliminate root causes, as opposed to merely addressing the immediately obvious symptoms, the PEARL project aims at developing adaptive risk management strategies for coastal communities focusing on extreme hydro-meteorological events, with a multidisciplinary approach integrating social, environmental and technical research and innovation. PEARL will consider all fundamentals in the risk governance cycle, focusing on the enhancement of forecasting, prediction and early warning capabilities and the building of resilience and reduction of risk through learning from experience and the avoidance of past mistakes.

Project information

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - UNESCO

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - UNESCO (France)
Technische Universitaet Hamburg (Germany)
DHI Forening (Denmark)
National Technical University of Athens (Greece)
Stiftelsen Sintef (Norway)
Universite de Nice - Sophia Antipolis (France)
King's College London (United Kingdom)
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine (United Kingdom)
The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom)
Cetaqua, Centro Tecnologico del Agua, Fundación Privada (Spain)
United Nations University (Japan)
Max Planck Gesellschaft Zur Foerderung der Wissenschaften E.V. (Germany)
The University Of Exeter (United Kingdom)
Artelia Eau et Environnement SAS (France)
GISIG Geographical Information Systems International Group (Italy)
World Meteorological Organization (Switzerland)
International Water Association (United Kingdom)
Hydrometeorological Innovative Solutions (Spain)
Satways - Proionta Kai Ypiresies Tilematikis Diktyakon Kai Tilepikinoniakon Efarmogon Etairia Periorismenis Efthinis Epe (Greece)
Hydrologic Research BV (The Netherlands)
Technische Universiteit Delft (The Netherlands)
Public Works Research Institute (Japan)
Asian Institute of Technology (Thailand)
National Taiwan Ocean University (Taiwan)
Universitaet Stuttgart (Germany)

Source of funding
European Commission - Seventh Framework Programme

Reference information



Coastal floods, urbanisation in coastal areas, warning system


2014 - 2017

Climate impacts

Flooding, Sea Level Rise, Storms


Vulnerability Assessment, Adaptation Plans and Strategies, Sector Policies


Coastal areas, Disaster Risk Reduction

Geographic characterization


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