BC3 press releases: Marta Olazabal of BC3 will spearhead the research to assess the adaptation policies of large coastal cities worldwide

“Marta Olazabal of BC3 will sprearhead the research to assess the adaptation policies of large

In a competitive international process, AXA Foundation selected the research project of Marta Olazabal, senior researcher of BC3, to which it will allocate 130,000 euro for two years.

The project will evaluate the quality and effectiveness of public climate change adaptation policies and the investments cities are conducting in this regard on a worldwide scale.


Extreme event in Zarautz, Basque Country. February 2014. Photo by Asier Aranzadi.

Rising sea levels and extreme weather events threaten extensive areas of the planet, coastal cities inhabited by millions of people among them. The danger looming over them has been and still remains a constant source of preoccupation. An endless stream of measures of every sort have been applied since 1997, reliant on international commitments and conventions such as the recent Paris Agreement of 2015. Nevertheless, the scientific community and political authorities do not have sufficient qualified information to evaluate the global impact of these adaptation policies. This is the purpose of the research to be financed by the AXA Fund and spearheaded by the researcher, Marta Olazabal: to design, develop and coordinate an experiment on an international scale to assess the quality and effectiveness of public adaptation policies and the investments made by cities, specifically in the areas most affected by sea-level rise and under greater pressure from extreme climate phenomena.

The research project, to be carried out over a period of two years, has an endowment of 130,000 euro and, according to the researcher “will provide qualified information regarding the results of investments made to date, to help orient adaptation policies suited to the different risk profiles of each location”. The BC3 researcher underscores the importance of availing of information that will enable the evaluation of the efforts undertaken, since “thanks to continuous scientific advances, we have better climate models at our disposal that allow for the greater effectiveness of adaptation policies. It is fundamental for these policies to evolve and be subject to revision every once in a while”.

The Project will make it possible to contrast the data existing on specific risks related to climate (through the database developed by BC3 on climate risks in 120 coastal cities) and data to be gathered on public climate adaptation policies and investment in those cities of over 1 million inhabitants. The project will facilitate making the connection between the regulatory efforts of local governments and these scientific risk models and, therefore, can offer a framework of reference based on a greater understanding of the opportunities for reducing risk (when and how) and the effectiveness of urban interventions in increasing the adaptability of cities to climate change.


  • Marta Olazabal, BC3 senior researcher, specialises in urban sustainability and resilience and climate change governance. She has been part of the BC3 team since 2012.
  • The AXA Foundation is a philanthropic organisation dependent on the AXA insurance company, which maintains a Fund to promote scientific research for purposes of social progress. In its 10 years of activity, the AXA Research Fund has allocated 180 million euro to fund 563 projects in 35 countries. At its 10th anniversary, it recently renewed its commitment to the promotion of the sciences and announced an additional endowment of 50 million euro for the next five years, to focus on two priority areas: energetic transition and women’s health.


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