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The transformative potential of managed retreat in the face of rising sea levels

The effects of climate change – such as sea-level rise – are likely to provoke unprecedented movement of people over the coming decades.

It is estimated that between 350 and 630 million people will be affected by sea-level rise over the next 80 years, and many of these people may relocate in search of safety, resources and opportunities.

Movement on such a scale will undoubtedly have enormous humanitarian, environmental and geopolitical implications. Planned relocation or resettlement – also known as managed retreat – has been practised around the world for centuries but is attracting increased attention as a climate adaptation strategy. Research on cases of managed retreat in diverse locations around the world suggests that it could make a significant contribution to wide-scale, positive social transformation in the direction of sustainability, but there are also significant risks.

Download The transformative potential of managed retreat in the face of rising sea levels.

This Knowledge Brief is based on AR Siders, Idowu Ajibade, David Casagrande, Transformative potential of managed retreat as climate adaptation, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Vol. 50, 2021, 272-280,


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