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Building resilient coastal communities

Coastal urban areas are particularly exposed to the impacts of climate change and natural hazards, which tend to hit the poorest and most marginalised people the hardest. The recent flooding and tsunamis in Indonesia highlight the devastation caused by coastal hazards, and the urgent need to build the resilience of coastal communities.

By combining two different approaches to reduce vulnerability and exposure to hazards – disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaption (CCA) – UK and Indonesian researchers have developed new integrated DRR and CCA strategies that can protect centres of economic growth and protect homes, businesses and infrastructure in coastal urban areas.

The team assessed the existing capacity in Indonesia to tackle environmental threats and developed a clear policy statement on embedding the DRR and CCA strategies in Indonesia’s development plan. The team also assessed tsunami preparedness in Indonesia and other countries in the Indian Ocean.

This research influenced the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO and the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning on their approaches to assessing tsunami preparedness and priorities for capacity development of member states. The work has resulted in procedural changes to help workers carry out complex routine operations involved in receiving warning information and communications about impending natural hazards.

The research can be adapted for use in other coastal areas at risk, such as the UK, which is particularly vulnerable to sea level rise. The UK and Indonesian researchers have benefited from the opportunity to exchange knowledge and expertise, and the project has led to further funding to continue work on mitigating and adapting to the risk of environmental hazards.

"The research has helped us to carry out a comprehensive assessment of tsunami preparedness in Indonesia and other countries in the Indian Ocean, allowing us to improve our standard operating procedures."

Professor Dwikorita Karnawati, Chair of UNESCO IOC ICG/Indian Ocean Tsunami
Warning and Mitigation System and Director General of National Agency of Meteorology,
Climatology and Geophysics


Mainstreaming integrated disaster risk reduction and climate change adaption strategies into coastal urban agglomeration policy

Project leads: Professor Richard Haigh and Professor Dilanthi Amaratunga, University of Huddersfield, UK and Dr Harkunti Rahayu, Institute of Technology Bandung, Indonesia

Delivery partners: British Council, UK and Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education of the Republic of Indonesia