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Climate change adaptation in coastal cities of developing countries: characterizing types of vulnerability and adaptation options

Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change
Tu Dam Ngoc Le
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s11027-019-09888-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Facing the increasingly adverse impacts of climate change, many coastal cities in developing and least-developed countries have shaped their climate adaptation plan. This study aims to unpack the state-of-the-art municipal adaptation planning in developing countries. The paper seeks to understand the types of vulnerability and explore planned adaptation options through a content analysis of adaptation planning documents in 45 selected coastal cities in developing countries. The result shows the complexity of vulnerabilities that are not only climate change impacts, but more importantly, the socio-economic sensitivity, the insufficient infrastructure system, and limited adaptive capacity. Adaptation responses, correspondingly, address primarily current vulnerabilities rather than future climate change impacts. Local climate change adaptation in developing countries, therefore, cannot separate from socio-economic development and capacity enhancement. A coordination mechanism for inter-policy is necessary to manage the trade-offs between multiple priorities.

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