Project co-financed by the LIFE Program
EU financial contribution 55%
LIFE20 CCA / ES / 001641

The first technical workshop of the LIFE Garachico project, entitled “Flexible Adaptation Measures for the Management of Urban Coastal Spaces in a Context of Climate Change”, was held today, April 24, 2024, in the Isla Martiánez Room, located in the emblematic Lago Martiánez in Puerto de la Cruz. The LIFE Garachico pilot project, which is led by the Department of Ecological Transition and Energy of the Government of the Canary Islands and has the collaboration of ten partners, promotes the adaptation of coastal urban areas of Macaronesia to possible marine flooding, a consequence of climate change. 

All this through the adoption of a series of strategies that increase the resilience of these areas against extreme coastal events, current or future.  

The objective of this workshop has been to address in an interdisciplinary and applied manner the philosophy of flexible adaptation measures in coastal urban spaces in the face of climate change and explore their application for the management of these spaces, as well as present success cases where they have been began its application, generating a common vision within the framework of Macaronesia and identifying specific problems from the perspective of the attendees.    

This first technical event of the project has focused on identifying the advantages and possibilities offered by flexible adaptation measures, as well as on the identification of the key actors who will take an active part in the regional platform for decision-making. Finally, the specific case of Garachico was addressed in a general way.    

The opening of the event was led by the Department of Ecological Transition and Energy of the Government of the Canary Islands and the Puerto de la Cruz City Council. In his speech, the general director of Ecological Transition and Fight against Climate Change, Ángel Montañés, pointed out the good results that the project is having, “a pioneer in the fight against climate change on the islands” and that seeks, “not only the adaptation of the territory but also of the people who live in it, guaranteeing their safety in the face of events that will become more and more frequent.”

“From the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Energy we work on adaptation and mitigation measures against climate change, so that the Canary Islands suffer these situations as little as possible, and LIFE Garachico is creating an unparalleled network of knowledge to achieve that objective,” said Montañés. .    

For his part, the Councilor for Sustainable City of the Puerto de la Cruz City Council, David Hernández (ACP), highlighted the importance of participating in this project “to undertake all the urban planning actions that are currently being carried out in the city but, above all, for future planning that takes into account the impact of climate change on the care of people and the sustainable urban development of the municipality.” For Hernández, “all this should be reflected along with the improvement of mobility and the renaturalization of spaces in the updating of the town's planning.”

Professor Ángel Lobo Rodrigo, from the Department of Basic Legal Disciplines of the University of La Laguna (ULL), addressed the “Competencies of Public Administrations in the face of threats in the coastal zone due to climate change.” During his speech, he explained the complexity of the administrative procedures for carrying out works in the maritime space and the need to clarify the powers of the different administrations to adapt coastal urban areas to climate change. Lobo Rodrigo focused on practical scenarios for flood risk management in Garachico, offering legal perspectives on proposed solutions.    

Next, Javier López Lara, Head of the Climate Risks, Adaptation and Resilience Group at IH Cantabria, presented the “Flexible adaptation plans against the risk of coastal flooding.” López Lara examined rigid adaptation strategies and proposed a flexible adaptation strategic framework that supports local and regional managers in making decisions based on acceptable risk levels and the implementation of continuous monitoring and follow-up measures, through the active social participation.    

Laura Comes Aguilar, technical coordinator of the LIFE Garachico project at TRAGSA, presented the “Strategic Flexible Adaptation Framework for flood-prone urban coastal areas”, presenting the MEAF developed in the project, designed to manage flood risks in coastal urban areas. In his speech, he highlighted “the urgent need to have effective adaptation strategies in the face of coastal flooding due to climate change in the Macaronesian region.” The project, he explained, “will generate tools and apply effective measures to anticipate, prepare and mitigate damage caused by floods, increasing the resilience of coastal communities.” In addition, he stressed the importance of “collaboration between multiple stakeholders” to face the challenge of flooding suffered by the island territories.    

The session continued with a focus on “Social perception and resilience of populations in coastal areas in the face of climate change”, presented by Josué Gutiérrez Barroso, professor of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Sociology area and Carla González Cruz, social anthropologist and researcher at the University of La Laguna. In their interventions they highlighted the importance of active community participation and the combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches to understand and improve the resilience of coastal communities. They also highlighted the need for strategies based on solid scientific knowledge to ensure effectiveness in intervention with different social groups.    

A pioneering project that focuses on adaptation to climate change 

The LIFE Garachico project was launched in 2021, with 55% co-financing from the European Commission's LIFE program.    

In 2024, the project is focused on validating the calibration of the early warning system for predicting flood events, drafting action protocols to respond to adverse meteorological phenomena and installing a series of measures to reduce the possible havoc caused by floods, such as the lowering of the road, the adaptation of the parking areas and the installation of anti-impact benches that reduce the energy and damage that the waves cause.    

In addition, we will work in coordination with the General Directorate of Security and Emergencies and the CECOES to reduce action and response times once there is a flood risk alert.

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