Who we are:

Future Earth Coasts is a Global Research Project of Future Earth, a platform for translating sustainability knowledge into action that includes a number of United Nations agencies, intergovernmental bodies and organisations such as the International Council for Science.

Future Earth Coasts builds on over 20 years of global scientific experience and applied research—originally the Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone (LOICZ) project of the former International Geosphere Biosphere Programme and the International Human Dimensions Programme.

This work includes numerous books, publications and State of the Coast reports and networks like Lagoons for Life (L4L) and Ocean Acidification Africa (OA-Africa).

First started in 1993, LOICZ has involved scientists from across the globe investigating changes in the biology, chemistry and physics of the coastal zone. Since 2003 LOICZ expanded its areas of research to include social, political and economic sciences to better address the human dimensions of the coastal zone. Results have been published in peer-reviewed journals, books and a Report and Studies Series. From 2015, LOICZ has become a core project of the new Future Earth initiative under the new name of Future Earth Coasts.

We have signposted our goals and expectations for Future Earth Coasts in a document to stimulate an open and wide ranging consultative and engagement process to develop a new ten year plan for Future Earth Coasts to generate the knowledge needed to advance sustainability of coastal socio-ecological and geographic systems.

Future Earth has been established by The Science and Technology Alliance for Global Sustainability, a partnership for global sustainability including researchers, funders and users of knowledge. It has a 10 year mandate to develop knowledge for responding effectively to the risks and opportunities of global environmental change and for supporting transformation towards global sustainability.


What we are:

We are first and foremost a community of organisations, scientists and practitioners from all disciplines of science, engineering, the humanities and law whose work addresses Global Environmental Change.

We seek to develop links with those involved in policy-setting and governance of coastal regions across the World. We aim to be a platform for international engagement to ensure that knowledge is generated in partnership with society and users of science. We aim to support adaptation to global change by linking natural and social sciences with knowledge of coastal communities at global, regional and local scales.

Our outputs are focussed on providing a knowledge base to address the risks and opportunities arising from global coastal change.

Read about LOICZ/FEC on this publication from 2015 highlighting the past, present and future endeavours of the project.

How we work:

Future Earth Coasts provides a platform for networking and providing ‘added value’ to the outputs of our community to explore and understand the drivers and social-environmental impacts of global environmental change in coastal zones.

We do this by providing opportunities for people to contribute to new outputs that address one of our three core themes. These outputs will build into our flagship outcome to identify new and alternate coastal futures to accelerate our transformations to a sustainable world from our current ‘business as usual’ unsustainable practices.

The purpose of Future Earth Coasts is to:

  • Focus attention on grand challenges on the World’s coastlines.
  • Connect coastal researchers, practitioners, Indigenous Peoples, activists, businesses, youth, and decision-makers.
  • Build and bridge scientific, local, and Indigenous knowledge.
  • Support the next generation of coastal leaders and custodians.
  • Advocate for equitable and sustainable coastal development.
  • Enable community resilience and adaptive capacity.
  • Translate coastal sustainability values and knowledge into action.

We partner with individuals, programmes, projects, and organisations to contribute to our vision and research priorities and goals for engagement and capacity building.

The work of Future Earth Coasts is guided by an Executive Committee and implemented by a distributed International Project Office. In addition to that our Regional Engagement Partners act as ‘local’ offices alongside the distributed IPO to coordinate and promote coastal global change research at the regional and local level as well as to facilitate links and exchanges between international, national and local science policy. Read more about our organizational structure here



FEC video

Watch a short video outlining
the Future Earth Coasts project

Watch the Video

Our lead host institution:

Future Earth Coasts’ head office is hosted by the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) in Bremen, Germany.

In research and education the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) in Bremen is dedicated to the better understanding of tropical coastal ecosystems such as mangroves, sea grasses, coral reefs, estuaries and upwelling systems. As an interdisciplinary Leibniz institute the ZMT conducts research on the structure and functioning of tropical coastal ecosystems and their reaction to natural changes and human interactions. It aims to provide a scientific basis for the protection and sustainable use of these ecosystems. The ZMT works in close cooperation with partners in the tropics, where it supports capacity building and the development of infrastructures in the area of sustainable coastal zone management. The ZMT is a member of the Leibniz Association.

Read more about the other host institutions of our distributed IPO here.