ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE AND DISASTER PREPAREDNESS IN THE COASTAL CITIES OF NORTH AFRICA ALEXANDRIA WORKSHOP: VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT JUNE 15TH AND 16TH, 2010 Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transportation – Miami Campus
SUMMARY REPORT 1. Introduction The Alexandria workshop was organized jointly by the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, by the World Bank and by the Center for Mediterranean Integration of Marseille. The event was an important step in the process of implementing the regional study on “Adaptation to climate change and disaster preparedness in the coastal cities of North Africa”, which is managed by the World Bank and addresses these issues in the three coastal cities of Alexandria, Casablanca, and Tunis, and in the urban development area of the Bouregreg Valley in Morocco. The regional study, launched in June 2009, is co-financed by the Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction (GFDRR), by the Norwegian Trust Fund NTF-PSI, and by the Trust Fund for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development (TFESSD), financed by the Governments of Norway and Finland, which are all administered by the World Bank. The study is carried out by an international consortium of companies, competitively selected, headed by Egis BCEOM and comprising IAU-IF and BRGM. The Alexandria part of the study benefits from the partnership established between the Arab Academy and the World Bank, whereby the Arab Academy contributes technical and financial resources for its implementation, by making available its academic and professional staff and its facilities. In addition, the European Space Agency has financed on a pro-bono basis the intervention of Altamira, a service provider, to carry out the land subsidence part of the Alexandria urban vulnerability assessment. The Center for Mediterranean Integration of Marseille, of which Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia are founding members, provides the regional platform for the dissemination of the results of the study. The objectives of the seminar were to a) present the preliminary results of the urban vulnerability assessment, produced jointly by Egis BCEOM consortium and by the Arab Academy; b) receive the comments and clarification of Egyptian national and local stakeholders; and c) engage the stakeholders in the reflection and priority-setting for the second phase of the study, which will consist in the preparation of an adaptation and resilience action plan.
The seminar was attended by about 65 participants, about half of whom traveled to Alexandria from Cairo. In attendance were representatives of key local and national institutions, such as the Alexandria Governorate, the General Organization for Physical Planning, the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, the Red Crescent Society, the Coastal Research Institute, the International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction, and numerous staff from the Arab Academy itself. 2. Opening session The seminar was officially opened by Dr. Mohamed Farghaly, Director General of the Arab Academy, who reiterated the importance of the study, both at the local and the regional scale, and illustrated the work that the Arab Academy is doing in the area of disaster risk reduction across the Arab world, acting on a mandate of the Arab League to improve the capacity of individual countries to manage such risks. Dr. Farghaly noted the on-going collaboration in this field with the World Bank, GFDRR, and ISDR. Introductory statements on behalf the local and national authorities were made by H.E. Gen. Safaa Kamel, Deputy Governor of Alexandria, and by Dr. Fatma Abou Shouk, Head of the Environmental Management Sector, Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency. Their supportive statements as to the importance of the study confirmed the positive and on-going collaboration between the study team and the Governorate of Alexandria and the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency since the identification of the activity in September 2008, when these relationships were formally established. Mr. Sidi Boubacar, Deputy Head of the Cairo Office of the World Bank, confirmed the importance of the regional study as a key tool to assess the growing vulnerabilities of coastal cities in the region, and to assist central and local Governments in facing the new challenges that emerge from climate change. 3. Profile of the Alexandria study Mr. Anthony G. Bigio, World Bank Task Team Leader, outlined the objectives of the regional study, its innovative aspects, and the partnerships established in the three participating countries. He also illustrated the complexity of the assessment which addresses current as well as future vulnerabilities. Mr. Tamer Abougharara and Mr. Yves Ennesser, Project Team Leaders respectively for the Arab Academy and for Egis BCEOM, illustrated the methodology of the assessment and clarified the roles of each party in the preparation of the vulnerability assessment. Finally Dr. Mohammed El Raey, Executive Director of the Regional Center for Disaster Risk Reduction of the Arab Academy, who also chaired this session, presented the scientific and technical dimensions of the study. In the first technical presentation of the seminar, Mr. Oscar Mora, Altamira Study Manager, presented the scientific basis for interferometric studies conducted with the use of satellite imagery to calculate land movement, be it of elevation or subsidence. This technology, which has been developed in the past ten years, is now widely used to calculate land subsidence and has been applied to about one hundred European cities already, via the Terrafirma project. Mr. Mora then presented the results of the interferometry applications for the city of Alexandria, which show localized but important phenomena of land subsidence in some areas of the city. These now need to be interpreted geologically in order to assess their relative importance. The presentation helped to dispel the notion of a â€œsinking Alexandriaâ€?.
4. Vulnerability assessment findings
This session was facilitated by Dr. Ali Amasha, Arab Academy Project Coordinator, and provided the opportunity for technical staff from the Arab Academy and from Egis BCEOM to present specific aspects of the vulnerability assessment. A summary of the report was also made available to all participants in both English and Arabic, and was used as a reference for the presentations. a) Climatic aspects, Dr. Ali El-Hadidi, Arab Academy Dr. El-Hadidi presented the climate work that has been carried out in the framework of the regional study, and that has been developed for the four urban locations by MĂŠteo Maroc, the national meteorological institute of Morocco, with the inputs from national expertise from Tunisia and Egypt. With reference to the 2030 horizon, dynamic downscaling of the climate scenarios has been developed from three ENSEMBLES European project models with IPCC scenario A1B, and from the MĂŠteo France ARPEGE-Climat model with IPCC scenarios A1B, A2 and B1. These modeling results indicate that Alexandria should get warmer, on an annual scale, between +1.2 C and +1.9C by 2030. In addition, based on a critical analysis of the IPCC projections and the later references in the literature on the subject, a sea level rise of 20 cm by 2030 is assumed as the reference level. However, a certain level of uncertainty was noted for all future climate projections, due to the variability of the models and to the downscaling itself. b) Geotechnical and seismic, tsunamic risks, Ms. Sara Hamdy, Arab Academy The presentation concentrated on the very particular geological nature of Alexandria, which was originally built on a hard ridge overlooking the Mediterranean sea, while the areas surrounding it are either wetlands, lakes, or recent deltaic deposits, located below sea-level. Ground instabilities, mainly related to the subsidence process, occur on the borders of lakes Al Boulayra and Mariut. Northern Egypt is at the edge of a zone of active tectonic convergence between the European and African plates. Probabilistic assessment of the risk of earthquake indicates that the Alexandria urban area is subject to a moderate risk corresponding to an intensity of about 56 MSK for the 100 year return period, and around 6 MSK for a 475 year return period. Given the nature of the built environment, the constructions at risk would be the adobe or non-reinforced concrete ones. The risk of tsunami was also assessed, and despite the historical record, was considered negligible as these events are very rare, with a 6 percent probability in 50 years. c) Coastal erosion and urban vulnerability, Eng. Samar Hafez, Arab Academy The Alexandria coastline consists of more or less extensive sandy beaches separated by rocky points. The slope of the seabed varies greatly and in some tracts of the coast it is quite steep, increasing the wave impact on the shoreline. Beaches of the Alexandria metropolitan area are experiencing slow but chronic long-term erosion, estimated at 20 cm per year. In addition, the recent construction of the Corniche motorway has accelerated the disappearance of sandy beaches between El Montaza and El Silcila, on a 15 km stretch. The entire coastal area is subject to a risk of occasional submersion, especially when high tides coincide with storm surges. Urban vulnerability maps were developed to localize all of these phenomena, and integrate the sensitivity of the different urban areas according to their density and quality of the construction and infrastructure present.
d) Urban planning issues and sensitive urban components, Mr. Yves Ennesser, Egis BCEOM and Mr. Victor Said, IAU-IF Alexandria currently spans over 230,000 ha and hosts a population of about 4m, which is projected to increase to 6.5 by the year 2030. The city has historically expanded in a linear fashion along the coastline stretching north-east to Abukir and beyond, and to the village of El Deir to the south-west. Given the expected grown of urban coverage, there will be a significant pressure to urbanize inland, over the lakes, wetlands and rural areas that are below sea-level, and whose marine protections are represented by late 19th century structures. In terms of vulnerabilities, the cumulative result of these changes may be an increased exposure of the poorest populations living in precarious conditions, the appearance of new scattered settlements on sites relatively exposes to climatic risks, such as the Mariut lake and the shoreline and the expansion of informal settlements in areas subject to natural hazards. e) Economic valuation of climate change impacts, Mr. Yves Ennesser, Egis BCEOM The presentation centered on the methodology utilized to calculate the economic value of the potential damages resulting from the climate change and natural disaster risks for the 20102030 period, calculated on the basis of a Business as Usual scenario, whereby no action would be taken to mitigate such risks during the next twenty years. Such calculations will be completed by averaging out the yearly loss and calculating the cumulative value by 2030. The importance of establishing such value will be to justify in economic terms the investments that would be required to mitigate such risks, with particular reference to the physical infrastructure protection. Clearly, other measures to be implemented in the next twenty years will not be valued in cost terms, as they will be related with land-use management and urban planning, where the reduction of risk will be obtained via pre-emptive rather than remedial measures. f)
Institutional evaluation of natural disaster preparedness, Mr. Yves Ennesser, Egis BCEOM The Government has in the past few years reinforced the decision-making and coordinating roles of the Information and Decision Support Center, which reports to the Prime Ministerâ€™s Office, and of the Civil Protection Administration, acting as its operational arm. While the first is organized as a decision-making body with a role of oversight over the activities of line Ministries with reference to risk management, the latter has an operational intervention mandate. Although there is general agreement over the overall improvement of quality and efficiency of command and control procedures, there is room for improvement in terms of a greater awareness of the changes imposed on the countryâ€™s environment due to climate change, which still seems a controversial issue for the Egyptian Meteorological Agency. In addition, responsibility for climate change adaptation appears to be located both with the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency and with the Information and Decision Support Center. In terms of operational capacity to manage natural hazard risks at the local scale, a greater preparedness of the local population could be achieved by implementing information campaigns and by establishing early warning systems.
In closing the first day of the workshop, Dr. Mohammed El Raey, Executive Director of the Regional Center for Disaster Risk Reduction of the Arab Academy thanks the presenters for their contributions, reminded the audience of the complexity of the analytical work that has been carried out, and highlighted the good collaboration between the Arab Academy and the Egis BCEOM teams.
5. Working groups on the Adaptation Action Plan The morning of the second day was facilitated by Anthony G. Bigio, Task Team Leader, World Bank. He introduced the subject of the Adaptation Action Plan, which is going to be the output of the second phase of the study. An Adaptation Action Plan has to provide specific indications as to what needs to be done, by which agencies, and with what means. The participants broke up into three groups, according to the main subjects of the Action Plan, and the summary of their findings is reported hereunder. •
Group A. URBAN PLANNING. Facilitators: Dr. Ali Amasha, Arab Academy, Mr. Victor Said, IAU-IF The group provided various given that GOPP is preparing a new Master Plan for Greater Alexandria. Besides the importance of establishing a quality plan, the group expressed concern as to the enforcement capacity of regulations and land-use; as to the transparency in the way subdivision and building licenses are given, and informal structures and “kiosks”, including commercial ones, are allowed to be built on the beachfront. Sprawl should be controlled to avoid construction over rural areas and wetlands. The Master Plan should take into account the specific vulnerabilities of the periurban areas, and allow for open areas where the population could gather in case of danger. It should also provide for green areas within and around the city, to improve its environmental qualities. The Government should encourage climatically sustainable, “green” construction, by allocating prizes to developers and builders, who currently are not committed. The EEAA monitors industrial and commercial pollution, but not residential pollution which is under the purview of Municipalities. These are unprepared to control environmentally damaging activities and urban sprawl. Satellite observation could provide an objective way of monitoring urban grown and illegal construction.
Group B. COASTAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION. Facilitator: Dr. El Raey, Arab Academy The group stated the need for a “shoreline management plan” to be elaborated in a participatory manner, and for a regulatory protection of the coast-line against abuses. Coastal erosion and submersion risks illustrated by the study should be taken into account. The group also recommended that marine protection structures should be built with natural materials instead of concrete. A number of agencies and institutes are key for the development of a comprehensive plan: Coastal Protection Authority; Coastal Zone Management Department of the EEAA; Coastal Research Institute; Alexandria Wastewater Company; and Lake Mariut Management Authority. The group noted, however, that the reporting of these agencies to different Ministries makes the institutional coordination very challenging, and resulting in a fragmentation of responsibilities.
Group C. INSTITUTIONAL PREPAREDNESS. Facilitators: Mr. Tamer Abugharara, Arab Academy, Mr. Yves Ennesser, EgisBCEOM The group suggested that the institutional assessment be completed by looking at the strengths and weaknesses of each institution involved in disaster risk reduction. An in-depth review of preparedness should be taking place at the Alexandria Governorate level, including the earlywarning systems, the communication systems in place, the logistical means available to the Civil Protection, and so on. The group recommended that capacity building measures be included in the Adaptation Action Plans, to improve the ability to respond to emergencies of the various urban departments. This will require a mobilization of additional human, technical and financial resources. While at the central level the IDSC is the key institution, the Governorate has a key role to play at the local level, and should be supported further.
6. Next steps in the preparation of the Action Plan and workshop summary Mr. Tameer Abou Gharara, Arab Academy and Mr. Yves Ennesser, Egis BCEOM, presented to the participants the plans of the two organizations for the preparation of the Alexandria Adaptation Action Plan. This will follow the completion of the vulnerability assessment report, expected by end of July. Following that milestone, the teams will work on the preparation of a draft action plan, which will incorporate the suggestions obtained from the groups, and address the various areas of vulnerability identified. The draft action plan will be discussed with and enriched by the suggestions and comments of the various Egyptian institutions that are responsible for its various aspects, and that will be called upon for the specific aspects of the actions envisaged. A regional conference is being planned for January 2011, as announced by Mr. Anthony G. Bigio of the World Bank, for the purpose of bringing together the key representatives of all the cities taking part in the regional study (Alexandria, Casablanca, Tunis and the Bouregreg Valley in Morocco). The conference participants would be jointly reviewing the draft Adaptation Action Plans for each city, comparing them and enriching them via this regional cross-fertilization. The outcome of the event would be the regional validation of the Adaptation Action Plans, which will be the final product of the study. In closing, Dr. Mohammed El Raey of the Arab Academy thanked the participants for their active contributions to the workshop, expressed the commitment of the Arab Academy to its partnership with the World Bank in this and other regional efforts across the Arab region in the area of disaster risk reduction, and his teamâ€™s satisfaction at the technical collaboration with the Egis BCEOM consortium in the implementation of the Alexandria urban vulnerability assessment.