About Climate Adaptation Efforts in Santos Coastline, Brazil

It is now well-known that coastal living countries are the frontline of climate change impacts presenting vulnerability to natural disasters and other climate hazards. Specially, in developing countries, there is greater vulnerability and environmental risks, related to populous irregular settlements common in coastal areas. The Baixada Santista, particularly Santos and São Vicente estuarine system located in the Southern Coast of São Paulo, Brazil, is a clear example of such a problem. In this talk I will present how Santos City Council is in its first steps of dealing with climate change impacts. A Local Committee for Climate Change Adaptation has been established by local law by the end of 2015 and, since then, this Committee has the main task of supporting the development of public policies to deal with complex interactions in political and social responses and reflecting upon potential strategies to adapt to challenges posed by climate change. Considered of the most vulnerable cities in the coast of São Paulo, Santos is the first coastal city to develop a climate adaptation plan at the local level. With a population around 400 thousand inhabitants from which 99% living in the low-lying insular area (39.4 km²), Santos is a region highly vulnerable to climatic events with most of its territory is located in lowland region with most of its territory located in lowland region with an average altitude of less than 10 meters. Local government buildings, most of the port infrastructure and public services such as hospitals, public schools, public transport stations, and police stations are in the insular region too. Additionally, the region hosts the largest port of Latin America, the Port of Santos.  Santos Council and the established Climate Change Committee have the formidable task to create an implement the local climate change adaptation program in a national, and local, context surrounded by fragmented and inadequate public policies.


About the Speaker:

Debora de Freitas is a Lecturer at São Paulo State University (UNESP) – Institute of Biosciences. Her research explores how people and the coastal environment can cope to each other towards a more sustainable and resilient world with specific projects on socio-environmental resilience, climate adaptation, marine and coastal governance, science for environmental policy, and spatial planning.  She also teaches courses on integrated coastal zone management, environmental education and policy, and differential vulnerability. Between her academic degrees Debora worked with local government as Environmental Supervisor in Southern Brazil. She is also an Australian Global Alumni Ambassador for Brazil, a diplomatic volunteer position in which she as a unique opportunity of raising the profile of Australia’s world class education system and strengthening ties between Australia and Brazil.    


Level 4
Global Change Institute Building (20)
Staff House Road ST LUCIA CAMPUS
Meeting Room 471