Multifaceted approaches to adaptation are needed
Effective adaptation requires ‘fit-for-purpose’ risk assessment procedures at local and facility levels, bridging of potential data and knowledge gaps, and the development of appropriate technical and management solutions that reduce vulnerability and allow for decision-making under uncertainty. In this context, supportive legal and policy frameworks have an important role to play, and some progress has been made in this respect recently, with climate change adaptation increasingly being integrated into national policy and planning instruments, as well as into some legal instruments, such as the EU Climate Law, which entered into force for all EU Member States in July 2021 and envisages strong action on adaptation (Art. 5), together with regular monitoring and reporting.
Also important are standards, guidance, methodologies and tools and training materials, such as those developed by UNCTAD and its collaborating academic partners, to assist stakeholders on the ground.
To assist in the process of transport infrastructure adaptation and resilience building, the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action has developed a number of recommendations for different public and private stakeholders, together with milestones towards 2050 (for 2025, 2030 and 2040). Accordingly, by 2025, all new transport infrastructure and systems – and by 2030 all critical transport infrastructure and systems – should be climate-resilient to at least 2050. By 2040, all critical infrastructure and systems should be climate-resilient to at least 2100.
The International Standardization Organization has developed two standards to assist in adaptation and related vulnerability and risk-assessments; PIANC, the global Association of Waterborne Transport Infrastructure has produced detailed technical guidance on adaptation planning for ports, as well as on selecting, designing and evaluating options for resilient infrastructure; and the European Commission has developed detailed technical guidance on the climate proofing of infrastructure, which will be relevant for environmental impact assessments required under EU law, and for EU infrastructure project funding (see also relevant links below).
While these developments are encouraging, reflecting a growing recognition of the need for urgent action, translating timely ambition into climate-resilience of seaports on the ground action will require coherent and concerted efforts, as well as technical and human capacity building and finance, particularly for developing countries.
European Commission Technical guidance on the climate proofing of infrastructure in the period 2021-2027 (2021)