Global and regional changes in socio-economic and climate condition will increase the risks at coastal areas. Traditional coastal defense measures are increasingly challenged by these changes and their maintenance may become unsustainable. For gaining the best results of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) measures, often not single ‘stand alone’ approaches will be the most successful, but cases where a combination of different measure are applied. These combinations can only applied depending on the local situation. Therefore in this guide, several DRR strategic alternatives are described (here is an explanation how to differentiate between these) in a more general way. The case studies emphasize the possibilities of combining different approaches. In some cases these combination might also highlight the possibility of co-benefits.

For example the case of Timmendorfer Strand shows a participatory approach that was used to find the best possibly solution for a coastal defense measure for different stakeholders in the community. In the case of Praia de Faro dune fences and a wooden pathway were constructed to rehabilitate the dune system. The usages of ecosystem based measures also often have beneficial effects. So the example of Terschelling not only promotes a dynamic dune management but also leads to a landscape being favored by tourists.

But with all these possible co-benefits it is always important to consider possible negative effects when implementing certain DRR measures due to the complexity of coastal systems. For example placing hard materials at the beach front (e.g. implementing hard structures such as rocks to avoid loss of sediment) can results in inflexibility of shoreline (no sand can be transported nor deposited) and eventually in the loss of the beach. It is important to clearly plan and analyze the measure beforehand, therefore several supporting tools have been developed for a better decision making.