Climate vulnerability, impacts and adaptation in Central and South America coastal areas
Low-Elevation Coastal Zones in Central and South America are exposed to climate-related hazards (sea-level rise, climate variability and storms) which threaten the assets (people, resources, ecosystems, infrastructure, and the services they provide), and are expected to increase due to climate change. A non-systematic review is presented focusing on vulnerability elements, impacts, constraints to adaptation, and their possible strategies. The analysis emphasises the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Reasons for Concern (e.g., threatened systems, extreme events, aggregated impacts, and critical thresholds), particularly on sea-level rise, degradation of mangroves, and invasive alien species in Central and South America focusing on case studies from Uruguay and Venezuela. Despite recent advances in coastal adaptation planning in Central and South America, there is an adaptation deficit in the implementation of measures and strategies against climate-related hazards, such as sea-level rise. Adaptation constraints are linked with poverty, resource allocation, lack of political will, and lack of early warning systems for climate-related hazards. Non-structural adaptation measures such as community-based adaptation and ecosystem-based adaptation are not fully mainstreamed into national plans yet. Government-level initiatives (e.g. National Adaptation Programmes of Action) are being developed, but a few are already implemented. In addition to specific thematic measures, the implementation of non-structural approaches, National Adaptation Programmes of Action and early warning systems, based on the reasons for concern, should foster adaptive capacity in coastal areas.