CliSAP successfully finished in 2018. Climate research continues in the Cluster of Excellence "CLICCS".

Cairo Climate Talks: CliSAP expert delivers lecture in Egypt about coastal protection


Egypt’s densely populated coasts span 3,500 kilometers. Rising sea levels would have disastrous consequences along these shores. But how can we protect this exceptionally vulnerable area from climate change impacts? On the occasion of the “Cairo Climate Talks” at the beginning of June, CliSAP researcher Dr. Michael Link provided an assessment of the problem. The two-day international conference held at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Cairo focused on integrated coastal management (ICM).

Just one building block: even near Alexandria breakwaters are set up.
Mohamed Bayoumi, Dr. Michael Link, and Dr. Khaled Kheir El Deen (left to right) discussing coastal protection issues.

If the sea level in the southeastern Mediterranean rises by one meter, thousands of local residents will be forced to relocate. This would affect important industrial areas in harbour cities such as Alexandria, Danita, or Port Said as well as the Nile Delta—the country’s granary. Egypt would face tremendous costs. Only extensive shoreline countermeasures could induce mitigation.

Conflict researcher Michael Link explained how coastal protection measures, which have helped preserve the German Wadden Sea, could be adapted for Egyptian needs. “A closed dike line, however, is not an option for the Nile Delta. One should rather build on natural phenomenas—such as dune formations—combined with an array of technical solutions.”

This approach calls for thorough planning. “Egypt has already presented designs for integrated coastal management; the only hitch is their implementation,” says Link. The country is undergoing upheaval and facing countless challenges as it seeks a way to abolish dictatorship between Islam and democracy. “Against the backdrop of religious and political conflicts it is extremely difficult to establish procedure, rules, and structure in situ,” the German researcher points out. Yet all three are essential components of an urgently needed integrated coastal management system.