Lessons learnt and best practices of managing coastal risk from local communities’ perspectives

MSP Global - Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO)


The coast forms a dynamic, interface zone where the realms of land and sea meet. It is characterised by some of the world’s most sensitive ecosystems, such as mangroves, wetlands, coral reefs, dunes and beaches. Unlike watersheds, coastal areas have no natural, clear nor precise boundaries. They are continuously subjected to the natural processes of weathering, coastal erosion, coastal flooding and sea-level rise. The impacts of these processes and events vary from one coastal zone to another depending on the geology and geomorphology of the coast and its exposure to natural processes.

Sea Basin(s): 
Application in MSP: 
Unknown effect
Not sector specific
Type of Issue: 
Environment aspects
Land-sea interactions
Resilience to climate change
Type of practice: 
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Cross-border / trans-national aspect: 
Coherence with other processes: 
Integrated Coastal Zone Management

Questions this practice may help answer:

  • How do natural hazards affect local coastal communities?
  • How are coastal risks managed in southern countries?
  • Which adaptation measures can be taken to face coastal risks?

Implementation Context:

This work is part of the activities  led  by  the  MSPglobal  Initiative  of  the  Intergovernmental  Oceanographic  Commission  (IOC)  of  UNESCO  and  the European  Commission,  and  is  supported  by  the  Government  of  Sweden.  It relates to the project's 2020 regional and global development actions in support of  Ocean Literacy for all and the worldwide Joint Roadmap on marine spatial planning  process  in the context of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

Aspects / Objectives:

The objective is to present how various hazards affecting coastal areas impact local communities in selected countries, and how these matters are being managed by national, regional and local governmental institutions.


To carry out this work, previous and ongoing national public strategies, plans and actions  dealing  with coastal  zone  management coastal  risk management and conservation of coastal areas were reviewed by IOC-UNESCO, supported by a group of international consultants. Scientific publications and technical reports addressing coastal hazards and the vulnerability of coastal communities, and publications by diverse bodies of the United Nations were included in this work. Finally, interviews were conducted by international consultants in each analysed country.

Main Outputs / Results:

This report highlights lessons learned and good practices from coastal communities regarding coastal risk management.


This document focuses on a specific case study. Nevertheless, the good practices presented are to be shared to improve coastal risks management worldwide.

Responsible Entity:


Costs / Funding Source:

This publication was produced with the financial support of Sweden.

Contact person: