1963-2018 - 55 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: Social Dimensions of Sustainable Development

Transformative Adaptation: Tackling the Root Causes of Vulnerability to Climate Change in South East Asian Coastal Cities

Date: 21 - 22 Nov 2018

  • Time: 09.15 - 18.00
  • Location: Room I, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Donor(s): Federal Foreign Office, Germany

The effects of climate change on coastal cities call for rapid action to both reduce the extent of impacts and prepare for unavoidable ones. Adaptation measures in coastal cities often focus on either infrastructure-heavy, protective interventions, such as dykes and sea walls that aim to reduce hazard exposure, or community-based measures that seek to strengthen individual coping and adaptive capacities. Relatively little attention is paid to bridging the gap between the two and to finding policy solutions that can tackle the challenges of climate-resilient urban development in a more integrated manner.

Participants at this Expert Group Meeting will discuss the concept of transformative adaptation (understood as change that can overcome inequalities and root causes of vulnerability) as a means of integrating the social dimension into climate adaptation measures. They will assess its implications and potential to contribute to urban climate resilience and social development in two case study cities: Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam and Jakarta, Indonesia.

Expected outcomes

By contributing to a better understanding of transformative adaptation to climate change in the context of coastal cities in the developing world, participants in the Expert Group Meeting will contribute to identifying pathways toward policy change that tackle the root causes of disaster-related vulnerability. Outputs from the Meeting will include a position paper and policy brief on transformative change.


The Expert Group Meeting will bring a small number of researchers and experts based in Ho Chi Minh City and Jakarta to meet with international specialists based in Europe. A maximum of 15 participants will allow in-depth discussions and facilitate network building and follow-up collaboration.

The workshop is complemented by an UNRISD Seminar on 22 November, which is open to the public: Climate Change in Coastal Cities: From Vulnerability to Transformative Adaptation.