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Coastal Perspectives

Theme 2023-2024

Rising sea levels due to climate change increase the risk of flooding and erosion in coastal areas. Historically, coastal protection measures in Sweden have been limited, but we now need to step up. However, climate adaptation is hampered by limitations in knowledge about the consequences of climate change - and future developments and governance systems are not updated to address these new challenges.

The Theme will explore novel approaches to accelerate society's ability to make decisions based on scientific and local perspectives and a wider range of knowledge sources.

In creating a framework to combine multiple coastal perspectives and define needs for research and decision support the Theme strives to develop novel paradigms for co-production, communication, and use of knowledge for sustainable coastal management.

Historically, due to land uplift and limited coastal risks, few coastal protection and adaptation measures have been implemented in Sweden. The relevant governance systems are, therefore, not up to date with the anticipated challenges. Decision and planning processes with consequences hundreds of years into the future require that decisions are made under uncertainty. A too narrow range of perspectives and decision processes that fail to address uncertainties may lead to maladaptation.

The work revolves around six subthemes: Decisions and values, Timescales, Communication, Memory Cultures, Uncertainty, and Data and evidence. Examples of questions used as points of departure are;

  • What type of knowledge is needed for coastal decisions in the future and is it available today?
  • What types of data and evidence are most critical or relevant for complex and uncertain planning problems?
  • What changes, risks, and tradeoffs are society and its citizens willing to accept?
  • What are reasonable planning horizons for the future?

The sub-themes address different aspects but also tie into each other and will stimulate new ways of thinking towards a more holistic decision-making process for coastal adaptation.