• Project details

  • Leading Organization:
    United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
    Implementing Agency and Partnering Organizations:
    Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, Coastal Research Institute, The Egyptian Shore Protection Authority

    The essential objective is to integrate the management of SLR risks into the development of Egypt’s Low Elevation Coastal Zone (LECZ) in the Nile Delta.

    The dominant feature of Egypt’s Northern Coastal Zone is the low lying delta of the River Nile, with its large cities, industry, agriculture and tourism. The Delta and the narrow valley of the Nile comprise 5.5% of the area of Egypt but over 95% of its people of which 25% live in the Low Elevation Coastal Zone (LECZ) areas. The Nile Delta and Mediterranean Coast include 30-40% of Egypt’s agricultural production, half of Egypt’s industrial production. The three main Delta lagoons are Idku, Burullus and Manzala produce over 60% Egypt’s fish catch. Approximately 15% of Egypt’s GDP is generated in these LECZ (World Bank, 2005).

    As much of Egypt’s infrastructure and development is concentrated along the low coastal lands relying on the Nile delta for prime agricultural land, coastal inundation or saline intrusion will critically impact on Egypt’s entire economy. Observations confirm that sea-levels are already rising in the Nile delta due to a combination of factors including coastal sub-duction and reduced sediment loads due to the construction of the High Aswan Dam upstream. Land subsidence is currently estimated at 1-5 mm/year (Emery et al., 1988; El Fishawi and Fanos, 1989). The World Bank (2005) highlights the present coastal erosion of the Delta are aggravated by human interventions such as reduced sediment input, groundwater extraction, and hard engineering work in coastal strip.

    In addition to the current trends, Egypt’s Mediterranean coast and the Nile Delta are highly vulnerable to climate change induced Sea Level Rise (SLR). The Initial National Communication (INC) highlights Egypt’s Mediterranean Coast vulnerability to the impacts of SLR. A study conducted by Delft Hydraulics/CORI in 1992 developed a numerical model to assess vulnerability of the coastal areas to SLR of 0.3m and 1m. The study revealed that a 0.3m SLR would increase flood frequency from the present estimate of one in ten year flood to ten times a year.

    Several studies on the vulnerability of Alexandria, the second largest city in Egypt, indicated that a 0.3m SLR in Alexandria would inundate large parts of the city. This would result in land and property losses worth tens of billions of dollars, including damage to infrastructure, over half a million inhabitants to be relocated and approximately 70,000 lost jobs (Firhy et al, 1997, El-Raey et al 1999, El-Raey, 2004). Furthermore, the INC included another scenario with SLR exceeding 0.5 m over this century, that is predicted to result in devastating impact on Alexandria with an economic loss estimated of over US$ 35 billion including loss of 30% of the total area and 195,000 jobs, and relocation of more than 2 million people.

    In 1996, the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan in Egypt was initiated. Within the framework of the ICZM Plan, four national strategies were envisaged: shoreline protection; coastal land use; coastal marine water quality and marine resource preservation. The Egyptian Government has implemented several measures to address the multifaceted threats on coastal areas including issuing the environmental laws, constructing hard structures to protect coastal areas from erosion, and establishing a Coastal Zone Management Committee for the proper management and coordination (El-Raey, 2004).

    In addition, the INC and National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) include several proposed adaptation measures such as beach reinforcement and nourishment, construction of seawalls and breakwaters, tightening of legal regulations and enforcement of laws, adoption of integrated coastal zone management, change in land use and development of comprehensive monitoring and decision support systems.
    Despite these measures, numerous constraints remain in effectively implementing ICZM. For example, the Coastal Zone Management Committee has been inactive for several years, reducing policy dialogue and consistency analysis between governmental stakeholders. The Egyptian Shore Protection Authority has been focusing only on construction of coastal protection structures including jetties, groins, seawalls, and breakwaters to combat beach erosion, and reduce shoaling processes in the lagoons, and navigation channels in the Nile estuaries. The total cost of these activities is estimated at US$ 200 million over the last decade (World Bank, 2005). But only a small fraction of these infrastructural solutions have been implemented. This has led to the acceleration of beach erosion, degradation of recreational beach aesthetics, and impeding access to beaches. However, even if these measures were fully in place, some are “short sighted” without proper understanding of coastal dynamic and a steady sea level rise in the long term. Therefore, more sophisticated approaches are required to increase the coast’s robustness and ensure long term adaptation.


    Project Components:
    1. Regulatory Framework and Institutional Capacity
    2. On the ground measures
    3. Knowledge management
    4. Project management
    Expected Outputs:

    1. Regulatory Framework and Institutional Capacity - Enhanced capacity to improve resilience of coastal settlements and development infrastructure is strengthened

    •  Output 1.1 Coastal development legislation and regulations modified (focusing on ICZM and EIA);
    •  Output 1.2 Institutional capacity of NCZMC strengthened;
    •  Output 1.3 Information systems established that reflect climate change impacts/research on coastal zones
    •  Output 1.4 Budgetary planning of Shore Protection Agency enacted to reflect climate change risks

    2. On the ground measures - Innovative and environmentally friendly adaptation measures enforced within the framework of Nile Delta ICZM.

    • Output 2.1 Innovative adaptation pilot activities implemented to protect vulnerable coastal lagoons;
    • Output 2.2 Socio-economic assessment and adaptation option appraisal undertaken;
    • Output 2.3 Integration of climate risk assessment into the ICZM framework for the Nile Delta

    3. Knowledge management - M&E framework and knowledge management system in place

    • Output 3.1 M&E system with measureable indicators introduced;
    • Output 3.2 Lessons codified and disseminated through the Adaptation Learning Mechanism (ALM)
    • Output 3.3 Lessons disseminated throughout Egyptian Institutions
    Project Status:
    Under Implementation, Inception workshop held May 2011
    Project Details
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