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Future Earth Coasts

FUTURE EARTH COASTS  (FEC) is a project to support sustainability and adaptation to global change in the coastal zone.
Their goal is to strengthen the science-policy interface and contribute to securing sustainable coastal futures in the new epoch called the Anthropocene. They aim to develop a scientific and technological community from all disciplines for the co-design and co-production of knowledge that will engage with policymakers, business, industry and other stakeholders.


FEC video

Watch a short video outlining
the Future Earth Coasts project


Future Earth Coasts is a core project of Future Earth. Aligned to the structure of strategic and integrated Earth system research under Future Earth, their work is organized in three inter-related themes:

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Dynamic coasts 
Coastal systems and regional seas are constantly changing as a result of biophysical and socio‐economic activities. Work will focus on synthesizing existing understanding of the changing state of coasts in terms of risks and future trends and can include:

  • Building on the LOICZ sediment model by adding the ecosystem, geomorphology and governance dimension

  • Identifying socio-economic drivers of change on the coast

  • Developing typologies of coastal vulnerability and resilience at various spatial and temporal scales

  • Application of ecosystem models for assessing impact of anthropogenic activities on coastal biodiversity and resultant future changes in ecosystem productivity in hotspots

  • Identifying and assessing links and feedbacks between social and ecological systems in the coastal zone

Human development and coasts 
Coastal change potentially threatens human well‐being. This WG will synthesize the impacts of coastal change on economy and society to understand the interactions between vulnerabilities at the local, regional and global scale, and can include:

  • The development of biophysical constraint models for sustainable development goals

  • Ecological economics

  • Studies of wellbeing

  • Sustainability indicators

Pathways to coastal sustainability 
Identifying and choosing possible pathways to sustainability. Work will identify horizon scanning/scenario processes to identify options for societal transitions towards sustainability. Furthermore, it will aim to understand how society, and its institutions, can be empowered to make decisions that resolve conflicts and lead to increased action and behavioural change, and can include:

  • Development and application of methodologies for governance baseline assessments taking into consideration incorporation of ICZM practices in coastal management

  • Global comparative analysis of decision making processes in the coastal zone

  • Discourse analysis and participatory frameworks

  • Stakeholder mapping

  • Behavioural sciences, psychology

  • Devising science-based adaptive management addressing adverse impacts in the coastal zone

  • Cataloging bright spots and dark spots of decision making at the coast

Their vision is to support transformation to a sustainable and resilient future for society and nature on the coast by facilitating innovative, integrated, collaborative and impactful research and knowledge mobilization.
Future Earth Coasts is 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, contributes to achieving the SDGs and social learning. FEC therefore provide a platform for networking, delivering ‘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.
FEC are building a global platform for international scientific collaboration that: 

  • Strengthens global partnerships between researchers, funders and users of research

  • Enables integrated research on grand challenges and transformations to sustainability

  • Communicates science to society and society to science

FEC are a core project of Future Earth. Their work, in partnership with other Future Earth Core Projects, is structured to support the delivery of science-derived solutions that address global environmental and societal challenges, and designed to broaden global change science to promote a transition to sustainability.

The challenges of achieving sustainable development are complex and interrelated questions centred on how to balance:
Equity | Justice | Resilience | Economic opportunity | Infrastructure development | Ecological management | And more

FEC's hotspots

Future Earth Coasts has identified critical features of coastal systems [Hotspots] that are particularly vulnerable to coastal change and critical to the sustainability of coastal socio-ecological systems.

Small Islands are vulnerable to global and climate change including extreme events, sea-level rise and the risk of inundation, population pressure and issues of decreased ecological diversity e.g. in coral reefs, mangroves. Vulnerable human communities on islands require transformational approaches to deal with a diminishing and degrading terrestrial and marine resource base.

Urbanisation is a process shaping human well-being and ecological integrity today, with a concentration of issues often found in coastal megacities. This topic is acquiring new urgency with rapid migration to coastal megacities and urban areas.

The Arctic is experiencing rapid loss of ice and permafrost is thawing, accelerating coastal ero-sion, damaging infrastructure, and inhibiting access to food, with negative impacts on tradi-tional lifestyles, health and wellbeing. Vulnerable Arctic coastal communities need transform-ative strategies and enhanced capacity to adapt and transition to safer futures.

River mouth systems such as deltas and estuaries, and lagoons, are at risk from climate change and sea-level rise, damming of rivers, seawater intrusion, groundwater and other fluid extraction, acidification of estuaries and intensifying anthropogenic activity, which increases the fluxes of nutrients and contaminants with negative impacts on the wellbeing of ecosystems and human health.

Future Earth Coasts participates and contributes to a wide range of events world wide. 
Furthermore we aim to provide pertinent events that are of interest to
our community.

Have your event listed here by sending details to: 








MarSocSci Webinars | Engaging the Blue Economy through Transdisciplinary Action Research

24 August 2020


VIRTUAL: IMCC 6: 6th International Marine Conservation Congress

24-27 August 2020

Kiel | Germany

POSTPONED: ECSA 58 - EMECS 13 - Estuaries and Coastal Seas in the Anthropocene

< please refer to event website

Hull | UK

POSTPONED: 5th Symposium on the Ocean in a High-CO2 World

< please refer to event website

Lima | Perú

CANCELLED: Society and the Sea: The Values of the Ocean and Coasts for Sustainable Development


Greenwich | UK

POSTPONED: Our Coastal Futures 2020 | Future Earth Coasts Open Science Conference

< please refer to event website

Gold Coast | Australia

The Geological Society of America meeting

25-28 October 2020

Montreal | Canada


EGU General Assembly 2020 | 3–8 May 2020 | Virtual Event

Nansen Tutu Center 10th anniversary symposium: Ocean, weather and climate, science to the service of society | 10-12 March 2020 | Cape Town, South Africa

Workshop: Coasts as complex systems – tools and services for climate change adaptation in coastal urban settlements | 9-13 March 2020 | Zanzibar, Tanzania

X Congreso de la Red Latinoamericana de Ciencias Ambientales "Interdisciplina, ambiente y gestión:
hacia la construcción de nuevos paradigmas | 4-6 March 2020 | Punta del Este, Uruguay"

AGU Ocean Sciences Meeting 2020 | 16-21 February 2020 | San Diego, USA

EuroLag 9th Conference | 20-24 January 2020 | Venice, Italy


AGU Fall Meeting 2019 | 9-13 December 2019 | San Francisco, USA

Maritime Spatial Planning Forum: Global Meets Regional | 19-21 November 2019 | Riga, Latvia

CHEERS @ Bordeaux « Global changes in estuarine and coastal systems: innovative approaches and assessment tools » conference | 4-8 November 2019 | Bordeaux, France

Our Ocean 2019 | 23-24 October 2019 | Oslo, Norway

Marine Regions Forum | 30 September - 2 October 2019 | Berlin, Germany

ICYMARE - International Conference for Young Marine Researchers | 24-27 September 2019 | Bremen, Germany

9th ICE Coastal Management conference | 16-19 September 2019 | La Rochelle, France

ICMGP 2019 - 14th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant | 8-13 September 2019 | Krakow, Poland

Future Oceans2 - IMBeR Open Science Conference 2019 | 17-21 June 2019 | Brest, France

Geoscience & Society summit | 18-21 March 2019 | Stockholm, Sweden

Scenarios Forum 2019 - Forum on Scenarios for Climate and Societal Futures | 11-13 March 2019 | Denver, USA

World Ocean Summit 2019 | 5-7 March 2019 | Abu Dhabi, UAE

ASLO: Aquatic Sciences Meeting | Planet Water | 23 February- 2 March 2019 | San Juan, Puerto Rico

4th XMAS | Xiamen Symposium on Marine Environmental Sciences | 6-9 January 2019 | Xiamen, China


2018 AGU Fall Meeting | 10-14 December 2018 | Washington D.C | USA

11th International Forum on Urbanism (IFOU) Congress 2018: Reframing Urban Resilience Implementation: Aligning Sustainability and Resilience | 10-12 December 2018 | Barcelona | Spain

COP24 KATOWICE 2018 - United Nations Climate Change Conference | 2-24 December 2018 | Katowice | Poland

Coastal Hazards in Africa | 4-5 October 2018 | Tetouan | Mexico

ICES/UNECE Symposium: Management tools and standards in support of Sustainable Development Goal 14 ''Life below water'' | 9-12 October 2018 | Reykjavik | Iceland

Littoral 2018 | 15th Coastal Conference | 22-26 October 2018 | Leeuwarden | The Netherlands

CoastGIS | Spatial Planning and Climate Change | 27-29 September 2018 | Ísafjörður | Iceland

The 8th China-Japan-Korea IMBeR Symposium | Marine Biogeochemical Sciences for the sustainability of the West Pacific Biosphere | 17-19 September 2018 | Shanghai | China

3rd meeting of the RSA Research network on Sustainable Transitions in the Coastal Zone | Governance and Sustainable Citizenship in the Coastal Zone | 13-15 September | Seyðisfjörður | Iceland

Society and the Sea 2018 | The values of the Ocean and Coasts for Sustainable Development | 6 & 7 September | London | UK

ECSA 57: Changing estuaries, coasts and shelf systems - Diverse threats and opportunities | 3-6 September | Perth, WA | Australia

GEF-IW/UNDP/IOC-UNESCO 2nd Annual Africa Regional Network Meeting | 3-4 September | Dakar | Senegal

World Water Week - Water, ecosystems and human development | 26-31 August | Stockholm | Sweden

4th GEO Blue Planet Symposium | Our future is blue: Linking Ocean and Coastal Information with Societal Needs | 4-6 July | Toulouse | France

AMSA 2018 | Canyons to Coasts | 1-5 July | Adelaide | Australia

Adaptation Futures 2018 | Dialogues for Solutions | 5th International Climate Change Adaptation conference | 18-21 June | Cape Town | South Africa

WATER CONNECTS ! | ASLO 2018 Summer Meeting | 10-15 June | Victoria | BC | Canada

4th International ICES/PICES/IOC/FAO Symposium: The effects of climate change on the world's oceans | 4-8 June | Washington DC | USA

The Africa Day of Seas and Oceans 2018 | Encouraging Solutions to Marine Environmental Degradation and Sustainable Resource Management | 23-24 May | Monrovia | Liberia

Workshop for Sustainable Development Goals | 26-30 April | Taipei | Taiwan

7th International Conference on Environmental Future | Humans and Island Environments | 16-20 April | Honolulu | Hawaii

2018 Cities and Climate Change Science Conference | Edmonton | Canada

2018 Ocean Sciences meeting | 11-16 February | Portland | Oregon | USA

World Urban Forum | 7-13 February | Kuala Lumpur | Malaysia

OESC /ESA/FEC Workshop on Utilising Earth Observation to support Blue Growth and Risk Management in the Caribbean | 23-26 January | Saint Lucia