Think Ecosystems: Healthy Ecosystems are the Foundation for Sustainable and Integrated Coastal Management

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  • ANDERS F. POULSEN International Consultant, Strandvejen 210, 6854 Henne, Denmark Forest Department of Myanmar / Embassy of Denmark in Myanmar


Ecosystem approach, Ecosystem-based adaptation, Ecosystem management, Integrated coastal management, Nature-based solutions, Natural resource management


The coming decade will be extremely important in terms of steering the world onto a sustainable development path as we are facing multiple global challenges from climate change, biodiversity loss, pandemics, poverty, and inequality. The global community increasingly recognizes the urgency, for instance through its commitment towards fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030. This "deadline" coincides with a recent declaration by the United Nations (UN) to declare the decade 2021 to 2030 as the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration, recognizing the crucial role that nature and ecosystems play for sustainable development. Coastal areas are particularly vulnerable, exposed as they are to the impacts of climate change, and with large coastal populations dependent on, and often competing for, dwindling coastal resources. Sector-based coastal resource management is no longer an option as broader, ecosystem-based management frameworks are needed, that include all coastal sectors and acknowledge the values of ecosystems as foundations for sustainable resource utilization, and as solutions towards adapting to climate change. If more holistic approaches to coastal management have been adopted that build on the true values of nature and ecosystems, it will be possible to manage coastal resources and biodiversity in a sustainable manner that creates synergies and co-benefits rather than causing conflicts between stakeholders and sectors. For this to happen, some challenges need to be overcome. First, all the coastal stakeholders, including in particular the coastal communities, have to be brought together and be part of the decision-making process and management plans. Second, the existing institutional structures have to be transformed to ensure better collaboration and coordination across the current sector and institutional boundaries. This paper discusses some emerging trends in integrated coastal resources management, and outline needs for the world and its coasts to enable the move towards a sustainable future.

Author Biography

  • ANDERS F. POULSEN, International Consultant, Strandvejen 210, 6854 Henne, Denmark Forest Department of Myanmar / Embassy of Denmark in Myanmar
    I have worked for 30 years on issues related to sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region, with a focus on the interface between natural resource management, biodiversity conservation and climate change adaptation. During this period, I worked on long-term assignments in the following countries: Papua New Guinea, Bangladesh, Laos, Thailand, Capbodia, Vietnam, Iran, and Myanmar


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How to Cite

POULSEN, A. F. (2021). Think Ecosystems: Healthy Ecosystems are the Foundation for Sustainable and Integrated Coastal Management. Journal of the Indian Society of Coastal Agricultural Research, 39(2), 221-228.