Coastal Futures 2020
By Matthew Feguson
Following a very successful Coastal Futures conference at the Royal Geographical Society earlier this month, the team have been reflecting on some of the take-home messages and considering where our work fits into the big picture across the UK. From in-depth talks on climate science, sea-level rise and building resilience, to a thought-provoking session on communication of a climate change message, the conference provided a wealth of talks to challenge and encourage delegates.
Day one focused on the climate emergency, with coasts as the "frontline". Speakers from the Rising Seas Institute and London School of Economics laid out the scientific reality of the climate emergency, while delegates from the Environment Agency, Coastal Partnerships Network and The Crown Estate discussed adaptation work underway, marine spatial planning and the growth of offshore wind. Needless to say, delegates had plenty to think about and discuss over breakout sessions as well networking with colleagues new and old.
Day two sought to address the challenges of day one with the theme of 'ocean recovery and restoration'. After an opening address from the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment, Rebecca Pow, there were presentations on coastal fisheries, kelp forests and the Fisheries Bill. The JNCC team added a strong contribution to the programme, delivering a 20-minute talk on the UK Marine Strategy assessment of biodiversity as well as seven short talks, showcasing the diversity of work that we are delivering across the board.
The conference didn’t shy away from the nature of the climate emergency, presenting the stark reality of the numbers which provided a sharp focus to the opportunities and challenges of ocean recovery and restoration. The team came away both challenged by the magnitude of the climate emergency and energised to deliver important work to advise government on the future of nature conservation across the UK, the UK Overseas Territories and beyond.