Managing Climate Change in Coastal Megacities

For megacities located in low-lying coastal areas, the threat of climate change is an added stressor to rapid population growth, as well as economic, social, health and cultural challenges. For example, Bangkok’s population is threatened by sea-level rise and Manila’s to wind damage. Projections suggest Lagos will be the most affected by coastal inundations in Africa. Of Canada’s coastal cities, Vancouver is most at risk from sea-level rise. There is a need to build capacity to deal with climate-related hazards and extreme events by developing adaptation strategies for the most vulnerable.

The research

The overall objective is to develop the knowledge base and enhance the capacity of megacities to successfully adapt to and cope with the risks posed by climate change, including sea-level rise, in the context of urban growth and development. The specific objectives are to:

Advance knowledge of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction by:

  • characterizing climate-related hazards, vulnerability and risk;
  • understanding decision-making processes in governance and society; and
  • defining, qualifying, and quantifying the relationships between climate impacts, adaptation strategies, and socio-economic implications.

Develop strategies and methodologies for climate change adaptation by:

  • integrating adaptation and disaster risk reduction strategies and knowledge-based actions; and
  • constructing interdisciplinary simulation models to develop, test, and validate these knowledge-based actions.

Enhance practitioner and academic capacity and transfer knowledge by:

  • increasing the numbers of highly qualified people in Canada and around the world by mobilizing, exchanging, and translating knowledge; and
  • transferring knowledge to and building capacity in a broad selection of communities in selected sites and situations through workshops and effective communications and by facilitating existing networks and building new ones. 

Expected outcomes

The project aims to:

  • develop new integrated knowledge on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction strategies and their socio-economic and health implications;
  • develop integrated, interdisciplinary simulation models to develop, test, and validate knowledge-based adaptation actions;
  • train graduate students and practitioners in the field of adaptation to climate change in the context of megacities;
  • transfer knowledge and capacity to communities in Canada, Africa, and Asia;
  • enhance adaptation and risk reduction capacity;
  • plan safer cities;
  • and reduce socio-economic impacts as the climate changes. 


Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

End Date

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


60 months

IDRC Officer

David O'Brien

Total funding

CA$ 2,500,000


Thailand, Canada, Nigeria


International Research Initiative on Adaptation to Climate Change

Project Leader

Anond Snidvongs


Chulalongkorn University

Institution Country


Institution Website

Project Leader

Gordon McBean


University of Western Ontario

Institution Country


Institution Website