Resilient Communities

Marettimo, Italy

Coastal communities are the primary victims of ocean acidification, fish stock depletion, and unsustainable marine practices. Over the past 100 years, the average ocean surface temperature has progressively increased every decade, with provisions to a 1-4°C increase by 2100. Fishing and aquaculture activities employed 59.6 million people in 2016 alone, 85% of whom lived in Asia. Besides their vulnerability linked to climate change and natural disasters, the current rate of fish stock depletion makes coastal communities at risk in terms of food security, as fish proteins are essential food of their diets. Moreover, as the global pandemic has made even more evident, the majority of the coastal population are unable to cover their food demand with locally grown food, being dependant on the international food market and the potential interruption in the food trade.

[Water]: Studies confirm that tropical sea surface temperatures may accelerate intense flooding events and hurricanes, which in turn disrupt water and sanitation infrastructure for communities. Besides, the increase in sea-level rise, flooding, and over-pumping of groundwater, which represents the  primary source of freshwater for more than one billion people living in coastal regions increase the chances of saltwater intrusion in coastal aquifers.

[Mediterranean foodscape]: Minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, iron and iodine in marine products are abundant in most aquatic foods, and fish can play an extremely important role as a very good source of essential nutrients, particularly as a source of micronutrients, where other animal source foods are lacking.

[Proteins & New foods]: The fish are the single largest sources of mercury for humans through fish eating, especially when opting for large predator fish, such as tuna or monkfish. Also plastic represents another challenge affecting the protein intakes coming from oceanic food: the global plastic production exceeds 300 million tons of plastic every year, while 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans annually, the Arctic included.

[Humana Communitas]: Between 100-300 million people living in coastal areas are at increased risk, due to loss of coastal habitat protection, such as coral reefs bleaching, that protect coasts from floods and coastal erosion. Equally, corals provide communities food and medicinal compounds. Turning their goods and environmental services into economic terms, corals are worthy $9.9 trillion per year.

Participants will analyse the concepts of resilience and resilient coastal communities, but also the degradation of the marine environment, mercury and plastic contamination, mitigation & adaptation remedies and saltwater intrusion in freshwater systems. Specific attention will also be paid to inclusive decision making as a form to strengthen resilience.