REGIONs4CLIMATE / Resilient Regions / South Aquitaine

South Aquitaine

Location: Southwest coast of France, Area of Saint Jean de Luz

Population: 679,354

Area: 7,645 km2

Population density: 89 inhabitants per km2

Region-important activities: South Aquitaine is a coastal region in the south-west of France. The local economy is strongly linked to the Atlantic Ocean - from sailing to fishing, logistics to nautical sports, and tourism to marine resource enhancement. The coastal opening to Atlantic waves and the multiple bays with sandbars and shallow rocky platforms make it a regular location for surfing championships.

Challenges and solutions

Due to its exposure to the Atlantic Ocean and highly urbanised and populated waterfront, the region is primarily concerned with coastal risks, especially coastal flooding occurrences, with consequences predicted to be amplified by climate change.

An Adaptive Use Strategy depending on the real-time risk exposure of these waterfront areas will be developed to create a balance between population safety, infrastructure protection and preservation of economic activities.

Local authorities and stakeholders will be involved in the co-designing of the new management strategy.

Saint Jean de Luz Baie.
Source: Observatoire de la côte de Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Agence Odds, 2020

South Aquitaine has committed to

Developing an Adaptive Use Strategy for waterfronts based on real-time risk knowledge

Improving the local monitoring and forecasting capacity for the impacts of extreme ocean storms on the coast

Creating sustainable and innovative long-term coastal defence systems

Several innovative actions


Training local administrations, coastal users and citizens about the risks and need for adaptation that climate change poses to their lives near the coast.

Saint Jean de Luz Baie Vue Semaphore.
Source: Isabelle Larronde


Monitoring and forecasting coastal dynamics and ocean storm impacts in real-time to help in implementing the right measures at the right time and place, to lower coastal risks at the local scale.

Saint Jean de Luz Sainte Barbe.
Source: Observatoire de la côte de Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Agence Odds, 2020


Generating tools and services to support the preservation of coastal economic activities.

Assessing, communicating, and mitigating costs related to climate impacts based on these tools.

Saint Jean de Luz Erromardie.
Source: Observatoire de la côte de Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Agence Odds, 2020

Policy and governance

Improving public management strategies on urbanised waterfronts exposed to climate risks, and supporting the development of long-term adaptation policies including both coastal defence and retreat options.

Saint Jean de Luz Baie Grande Plage.
Source: Isabelle Larronde

Faster Adaptation Challenge Suite

South Aquitaine is part of the Faster Adaptation Challenge Suite, whose frontrunner region is the Basque Country. The Challenge Suite recognises the need for innovation and faster adaptation to combat climate change and reduce climate-related risks while safeguarding coastal ecosystem integrity.

Through these proposed demonstrations of innovation actions, South Aquitaine is well on its way to becoming a leading example of climate resilience in Europe.

Regional contact points

Pays Basque 
Aurélie Bocquet-Escourrou


Discover the other regions in the Faster Adaptation Challenge Suite



Basque Country




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