The Kosrae Shoreline Management Plan
The consequences of climate change and sea-level rise will not create any new hazards on Kosrae. Rather they will enhance existing coastal hazard issues. Over the next one to two generations, and beyond, climate change will progressively increase the frequency and magnitude of coastal hazards such as erosion, wave overwash and flooding resulting in increased impacts and damage to existing property, infrastructure and communities on Kosrae.
Increasingly it will make the situation too difficult for those currently located in exposed areas. Considering actions to reduce the present risks to communities and infrastructure on Kosrae is a vital first step. We already understand that existing natural weather events, climate and sea-level variability can cause change and damage in Kosrae’s coastal zone. Addressing these known issues of exposure is an effective way to start to reduce the coastal hazard impacts posed by future climate change.
Adapting to these future impacts needs to start now and will require a different approach to development on Kosrae than has been practiced over the last 2 to 3 generations. Fundamentally this will mean a much greater emphasis on preventative measures that remove exposure to coastal hazards, rather than a primary focus on trying to protect through building seawalls.
The Kosrae Shoreline Management Plan provides a strategic roadmap to assist in reducing coastal hazard risks to the natural environment, communities and infrastructure over the next 2 generations.
By the 2050s (2 generations time) Kosrae needs to have made significant progress in implementing an adaptation strategy that repositions the majority of existing critical infrastructure and property away from the beach/storm berm areas, reclaimed areas of mangrove and low-lying wetland swamp to slightly higher ground around the base of the volcanic part of the island.
Without such a change in development direction, Kosrae will find it ever more difficult and expensive to protect and maintain infrastructure and property in the present coastal zone. Given limited resources it is important to invest now to reduce vulnerability and avoid the far more significant impacts of climate change that will occur over the latter half of this century and beyond. If action is delayed it will become increasingly difficult or impossible for Kosrae authorities and community to respond appropriately.