Coastal zones tend to be popular, high-population areas that also attract yet-more people for work and leisure. As such, these zones are also areas of high ecological impact and conflict among parties. Aiming to resolve and manage the conflicts was the EU-funded project: SECOA 'Solutions for environmental contrasts in coastal areas'. The group studied eight internationally important cities and nine areas of regional importance in Europe and Asia. The 11-member consortium included European partners, plus one member each from Israel, India, and Vietnam. The project ran over four years till November 2013. The research confirmed climate change as one of the most important challenges for coastal regions. Consequences include flooding from sea-level rise, plus more frequent and intense flooding caused by storm surges and storm-related rainfall. The project also studied human mobility in all its forms and its role in shaping conflicts. The group considered all elements of the conflicts, environmental and social, using the DPSIR approach. DPSIR stands for driving forces, pressures, states, impacts and responses that influence interactions between society and the environment. In addition, the study developed a comprehensive conflict assessment framework. SECOA noted a lack of any master plan for sustainable natural resource management and resolution of conflicts in coastal urban areas. Such plans would be desirable. Pilot studies showed the value of conflict resolution through a scenario-building methodology, which helps players see the big picture and supports decision-making. The pilot studies also showed the need to build public awareness, empower risk groups and increase support for mitigation. The consortium simulated the effects of various coastal management mechanisms and demonstrated the results in a simple public way. The outcomes provide the basis of a decision support tool for policy-makers. The team also developed a further tool: "Finger Prints", which explains interrelationships between conflict components. The SECOA project should improve our understanding of the social, economic and environmental factors affecting coastal area conflicts. The information may be used for developing effective management plans and policy.
Coastal, conflict, regions, population, environmental, impact, Europe, Asia, DPSIR, resolution, scenario-building