Future Earth Coasts

Future Earth Coasts ‘Tour de Coasts’ at SRI 2024: Uniting Global Voices for a Sustainable Coastal Future

Helsinki, Finland l14 June 2024

The Future Earth Coasts (FEC) has taken a significant step forward in advancing coastal sustainability through its innovative ‘Tour de Coasts’ initiative. This pioneering effort was showcased during the FEC Interactive Roundtable ‘Tour de Coasts: Unveiling Global Coastal Sustainability Insights’, held on June 14th at the Sustainability, Research and Innovation Congress (SRI) 2024 in Helsinki, Finland.

As part of this initiative, FEC conducted a series of interactions aimed at fostering meaningful knowledge exchange and identifying key gaps and solutions in coastal sustainability. This collaborative effort, co-designed by the FEC core team and experts from the University of South Carolina, involved a comprehensive questionnaire based on previous research to gather diverse perspectives.

Launched in March, the survey has garnered responses from participants in 67 countries across the globe. The culmination of these efforts was presented at the SRI 2024 Interactive Roundtable, providing an exceptional platform to share the survey findings and gather further insights. The ‘Tour de Coasts’ team presented their current findings and facilitated an interactive roundtable discussion, engaging SRI attendees in a collaborative exploration of coastal sustainability issues. Participants’ insights led to an informative and stimulating discussion on identifying research priorities in global coastal communities.

The session featured Lightning Talks from FEC representatives located in Argentina, the USA, and Ghana, each bringing unique perspectives on coastal sustainability. These talks highlighted regional challenges and innovative solutions, emphasizing the global nature of the initiative. An interactive survey conducted during the session involved participants from various regions around the world, working and researching in areas such as Asia, North America, South America, Europe, and Africa. Coastal sustainability, as described by the respondents, carries different meanings in different contexts but commonly emphasizes harmony with nature, ecosystem resilience, and meeting the needs of current and future generations.

Several major barriers to achieving coastal sustainability were identified by the participants, including pollution and coastal degradation, climate change, economic conflicts, and insufficient education and governance. Specific issues mentioned include land ownership and tenure rights, community motivation and inclusion, long-term livelihood visions, and enhancing biodiversity and carbon capture.

Participants’ contributions to coastal sustainability primarily involve providing decision-makers with essential data, building human capacity, promoting policy reviews and stakeholder engagement, and facilitating knowledge exchange and science communication. These efforts aim to guide decision-makers, empower communities, enhance environmental literacy, and explore the impacts of long-term processes and extreme events on coastal evolution.

Additionally, participants ranked the 12 research priorities identified in previous studies, with the most relevant priorities being effective and inclusive communication, modeling, using crises to inform, technology and increased connectivity, and individual, cultural, community, and ecological health. These priorities reflect the key areas and future directions of global sustainability research.

The discussion in the session aimed to identify commonalities and differences in survey results and engage a diverse array of stakeholders in co-producing knowledge on coastal sustainability. This initiative has not only enriched the understanding of coastal sustainability challenges and opportunities but also paved the way for actionable solutions on a global scale.

The ‘Tour de Coasts’ session at SRI 2024 highlights the importance of collaborative efforts in addressing complex sustainability issues and emphasize the critical role of diverse perspectives in driving meaningful change.

The survey is still open: bit.ly/tour-de-coasts.

Join us in shaping a sustainable future for our coasts and oceans!

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