As the proportion of the world population living near coasts increases during the 21st century, coastal environments may be degraded by multiple stresses arising from local to global scale drivers (e.g. water use, influx of sediments and pollutants, ecosystem degradation, river flooding, shoreline erosion, storms, tsunamis, relative sea level rise, aggregate extraction etc.). Decision making, social adaptation and building governance to enable resilience against coastal risks is difficult because of the complex interactions between these drivers and competing concerns (e.g. human migration, lifestyles, land use, and ecosystems services).
Assessments of what makes a system vulnerable vary greatly from one case to another due to the conjunction of multiple drivers (e.g. type of hazard, environmental context, socio-economic development, social situation, risk management) and local circumstances. This situation often results in the development and use of specific local approaches that are not generic enough to be used elsewhere, and therefore inhibit the wider sharing of knowledge (e.g. between nations).
To tackle such problems requires a significant directional change in the science we need to undertake. We need to develop novel, transferable, coastal vulnerability assessment approaches to facilitate decision making for 'wicked' problems that inevitably involve trade-offs (e.g. between ecosystems services and livelihoods or lifestyles).
To globally capitalize on local and national expertise, this CRA is promoting the development and comparison and transfer of coastal scientific approaches which link researchers to decision makers and communities. The focus of this call is on the vulnerability, resilience and adaptation options of coastal societal, managed and natural systems to multiple drivers. This may be within different environments (e.g. estuaries, deltas and bays) and in areas of different societal development (e.g. post-industrialisation, emerging, developing countries or regions).
Recognising this, and the value of interdisciplinary and comparative approaches, the Belmont Forum and G8HORCs are calling for research groups, from at least three diffferent countires, involving natural and social scientists to co-design and develop, in conjunction with users, medium sized projects that address either one or both of the following work packages: