Webinar II in the Future Earth South Asia webinar series was a platform for seven speakers comprising experts and professionals representing various stakeholder nations of South Asia Hub to highlight and share information about the risks faced by coastal communities and the potential pathways. The threats due to sea-level rise and saltwater intrusion under the changing climatic conditions including water security issues were discussed. Various challenges that we need to focus on to address the issues were raised during the webinar. Few important adaptation measures like Nature-based Solutions (NbS) and hybrid solutions were also emphasized that could form part of the pathways to tackle these issues. Major highlights from the webinar are the following:

  • Climate change-induced sea-level rise and saline water intrusion adversely affect the coastal water resources rendering them non-usable for the communities.
  • Sea level rise, population explosion, land use land cover changes, coastal flooding, and water quality issues (including rising sea temperature) create a compounded impact on communities, especially for the small island countries of Mauritius and the Maldives
  • There is an urgent need for a better science-policy interface where the issues and potential solutions are brought in front of the policymakers as well as have better coordination between the institutions
  • Local action is very important when it comes to sustainable solutions
  • Sustainable use of ocean and coastal resources are needed to drive economic growth and improve livelihoods of coastal communities
  • Proper measures are required to manage water and climate adaptive water strategies so as to increase the resilience of ecosystems.
  • Hard solutions like grey infrastructure are less durable and research that backs hybrid nature-based solutions will help in making a change

Recommendations highlighted by the speakers include public participation including the local communities, public education program, a multi-disciplinary approach to coastal ecosystem problems, conflict analysis and resolution through public participation, need to re-tool traditional approaches to water-based sciences incorporating data sharing and adaptive planning, hybrid solutions that incorporate soft infrastructure like NbS with hard infrastructure.