A Framework for Cloud to Coast Adaptation: Maturity and Experiences from across the North Sea

Paul Sayers, Berry Gersonius*, Gül Özerol, Erwin Nugraha, Cor A. Schipper

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
43 Downloads (Pure)


The low-lying coastal areas of the countries around the North Sea are exposed to flooding and the influence of sea level rise. The countries in the North Sea Region need to continue to adapt if the associated risk is to be well-managed into the future. In addition to reducing flood risk, adaptation measures can bring development opportunities for those same places. These opportunities, however, are unlikely to be achieved through a ‘defence only’ paradigm, and instead a new approach is needed that simultaneously reduces risk and promotes liveable places, ecosystem health and social well-being. The building blocks of this new approach are promoted here and are based on an adaptation process that is collaborative and takes a whole-system, long-term perspective. The approach developed through the Interreg funded project, C5a, brings together governments, practitioners and researchers from across the North Sea to share policies, practices and the emerging science of climate change adaptation and enabling sustainable development. The new approach reflects a Cloud to Coast management paradigm and emerged through a combination of knowledge exchange and peer-to-peer learning across seven case studies. Central to the case studies was a maturity analysis of existing capabilities across the North Sea countries and their ability to adopt the new approach. This paper presents the results of this analysis, including the common challenges that emerged and the methods and examples of good practice to overcome them. Building upon these findings, the paper concludes by presenting four priority policy directions to support the uptake of the Cloud to Coast approach.

Original languageEnglish
Article number950
Number of pages15
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2022


  • climate change adaptation
  • coastal protection
  • flood risk management
  • maturity analysis
  • resilience
  • sustainable development
  • systems approach


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