Tuesday, June 7, 2011

North African coastal cities face significant risks

Ammar Shikhani in the Global Arab Network: Three major North African cities – Alexandria, Casablanca and Tunis - face losses of more than $1 billion each, over the next two decades, as risks of natural disasters intensify with the onset of climate change. A ground-breaking study shows the increasing environmental threat the three cities face, such as flooding, storm surges and coastal erosion. Morocco’s Bouregreg Valley- an area slated for rapid development - could face major risks unless decision-makers employ climate-smart planning. Particularly, as they develop housing and commercial structures in low-lying, vulnerable areas.

The World Bank-led study, “Climate Change Adaptation and Natural Disasters Preparedness in the Coastal Cities of North Africa,” has been carried out between June 2009 and June 2011 with financial support from the Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), the Norwegian Trust Fund Private Sector and Infrastructure (NTF-PSI) and the Trust Fund for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development (TFESSD). The Arab Academy of Science, Technology and Maritime Transportation in Alexandria, and the European Space Agency provided analytical support. The Marseille Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI) has played a key role in the dissemination of the study and public discussion of its findings and recommendations.

…“Already, these cities experience comparatively high losses from natural disasters such as floods and storm surges,” says Anthony G. Bigio, Senior Urban Specialist at the World Bank, a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and coordinator of the study. “Climate change, under any scenario, intensifies the exposure.”…

Fishing boats in Casablanca's harbor, shot by Remi Jouan, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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