By Saskia Marijnissen, Regional Technical Adviser, Ecosystems and Biodiversity, UNDP Africa
From the mouth of the Mississippi to that of the Nile, communities have been drawn to coastal flood plains throughout the centuries. Where rivers and oceans meet, nature is at its best, and river sedimentation provides rich soils that greatly benefit agricultural productivity as well as fisheries. At present, an estimated 60 percent of our global population lives along estuaries and coastlines – making them among the most heavily populated areas of the world...
In Bangladesh, we successfully supported coastal communities to reduce their vulnerability to floods through afforestation while simultaneously generating income opportunities through sustainable forestry, agriculture, and aquaculture.
In Sierra Leone, where over 3 million people live in increasingly vulnerable coastal areas, we helped the Government take an integrated approach to managing risks in the face of climate change, by protecting coastal habitats and incorporating scientific data in decision-making processes.
In the Kingdom of Tonga, which consists of 169 Pacific islands that are extremely vulnerable to sea level rise and flooding from storm surges, we are working together with research institutions and the Government to protect communities through a combination of infrastructure and nature-based solutions. This includes restoration, rehabilitation and management of coastal ecosystems as part of a Ridge to Reef approach, through coastal habitats and lagoons to fringing coral reefs.