Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world and borders on the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. The country´s marine-coastal zones display a great variety of strategic ecosystems coral reefs, mangroves, sea grass areas, and beaches, among others. These landscapes and ecosystem present a key role in Colombia´s exposure to climate change; as they provide protection against sea-level change, climate regulation and climate change hydrology, and erosion control (UNDP 2014). However, these ecosystems have been subject of degradation due to unplanned development of economic activities. This has resulted that erosive processes are affecting a quarter of the Colombian coastline. Coastal areas on the Caribbean Sea (23%) and the Pacific (25%) have been categorized as critical, where erosion is affecting coastal ecosystems and infrastructure.
PortEconomics member Gordon Wilmsmeier in his latest portstudy, describes the relevance of climate change adaption and mitigation for the Colombian port system and discusses the identified threats and general adaptation and mitigation needs in the national port climate change action plan. Colombia´s climate action plan, or Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), includes the goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2030, as compared to a projected business-as-usual scenario. Colombia’s INDC document stresses that climate action is fundamentally a development issue (Colombian Government, 2015). Thus, innovative and strong development in the various sectors of the economy will support efforts to reach this goal. Therefore, the second part of Gordon’s study focuses on mitigation efforts by presenting results for current baseline measures for implementing and monitoring mitigation matters in the port sector.
The portstudy has been included in the Maritime Transport and Regional Sustainability book- edited by PortEconomics members Adolf Ng and Jason Monios, along with Changmin Jiang- is a critical examination on how the maritime transport sector helps regions to achieve their sustainability goals, especially focusing on the challenges posed by climate change.