Global Coasts-related projects

IUCN projects of relevance to the Global Coasts Initiative operate at various scales, in and between regions and can be classified according to the following themes: Ecosystem Monitoring, Working with Industry, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction, Ecosystem Restoration, Marine Protected Areas, Sustainable Use of Oceans and Marine Resources, International Coastal Zone Management and lastly Protecting Marine Species and Habitats. Some projects listed can cover more than one of these themes.

Ecosystem Monitoring

Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN)

Ameer Abdulla working on a coral reef survey in the Farsan Banks in the Red Sea.

Coordinated by IUCN in association with a range of institutional partners, such as NOAA, UNEP and ICRI, the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) works through a global network of stakeholders to support the management and conservation of coral reefs. GCRMN and its members aim to strengthen the scientific understanding of the status and trends of coral reef ecosystems at different places around the world and make the data publicly available.

Working with Industry

Sakhalin Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel

Western gray whale

Since 2004, IUCN has worked with Sakhalin Energy in order to provide advice and recommendations on how the company can minimize risks associated with its operations on the Western Gray Whales and their habitat. As one part of this broad initiative, in 2006 IUCN created a panel of independent scientists – the Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel (WGWAP) – which provides scientific advice and recommendations on the company’s operational plans and mitigation measures.

Fair Coasts Initiative

Lagoon fisherman, Barren Isles archipelago, Mozambique Channel

The Fair Coasts Initiative is working with various stakeholders, including the Government of Mozambique, the tourism sector, local communities and Oil and Gas companies to establish and monitor biodiversity action plans (BAPs), community development plans (CBDs) and sound working practices to ensure the sustainability and fairness of gas exploration and production within Cabo Delgado Region of northern Mozambique.

The Living North Sea Initiative (LINSI)

Brent B platform - North Sea

LINSI is a cross-sector collaboration of key stakeholders, NGOs and industries that aims to improve the status of the North Sea ecosystem. It will seek to stimulate collaboration between OSPAR nations to achieve a holistic and integrated management approach. Its particular focus will be to evaluate the positive and negative environmental, social and economic impacts related to the decommissioning of offshore oil and gas installations and other such infrastructures in the North Sea.

Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction

Tackling Ocean Acidification

Collecting benthic organisms for ocean acidification pertubatino experiments, Svalbard, Norway

IUCN, through its coordination of the International Reference User Group on Ocean Acidification (iOA-RUG), will draw together a wide range of end users to support the work of leading scientists on ocean acidification to facilitate the rapid transfer of knowledge and help the effective delivery of quality science with a view to influencing policy on this emerging threat.

Ecosystem Management and Disaster Risk Reduction


The well-being of people all over the world depends on the various goods and services provided by ecosystems, including food, fuel, construction materials, clean water and air, and protection from natural hazards. Ecosystems, however, are under increasing pressure from unsustainable use and other threats including outright conversion. To address this concern, IUCN promotes the sound management of ecosystems through the wider application of the Ecosystem Approach – a strategy for the integrated management of land, water and living resources that places human needs at its centre, through the Ecosystem Management Programme.

Blue Carbon

The “Blue Carbon Policy Framework” outlines opportunities for including the conservation of coastal areas in climate change policies and financing processes.

Over the last few years, IUCN has taken a leading role in promoting the protection and restoration of coastal intertidal habitats as a means of mitigating the effects of climate change and building resilience into coastal communities. It does so through partnership on policy development and scientific coordination on blue carbon issues, by raising awareness and through the distribution of publications highlighting the latest science.

Building Coastal Resilience - Southeast Asia Project

Building Coastal Resilience

IUCN's Building Resilience to Climate Change Impacts―Coastal Southeast Asia Project, funded by the European Union, aims to increase adaptive capacity of people and the ecosystems on which they depend to cope with the anticipated impacts of climate change and plan for Disaster Risk Reduction, through sound governance and planning.

Ecosystem Restoration

Mangroves for the Future

A team of three people assess seagrass coverage on a mudflat

Mangroves for the Future (MFF) is a partnership-based initiative promoting investments in coastal ecosystems that support sustainable development.MFF provides a collaborative platform for the many countries, sectors and agencies tackling the challenges to coastal ecosystem conservation and livelihood sustainability and is helping them to work towards a common goal.

Marine Protected Areas

Coastal spatial planning and management of marine and coastal resources in West Africa

Fishermen unloading fish, Mauritania

The IUCN Regional Office for West and Central Africa has a diverse portfolio of projects on coastal and marine themes. These include the restoration and protection of coastal habitats to reduce erosion; the coordination between and sustainability of marine protected areas in the region; and increasing capacity for better management of transboundary fish stocks.

World Commission on Protected Areas (Marine)

St Lucia Marine Protected Area, South Africa

WCPA – Marine is the world's premier network of Marine Protected Area (MPA) expertise. Its mission is ‘to promote the establishment of a global, representative system of effectively managed and lasting networks of MPAs’. With members in many of the countries of the world that border an ocean or sea, WCPA-Marine works to: - Convene, coordinate and network, in order to help governments and others to plan, develop and implement MPAs, MPA networks, and the global system, and integrate them with all other sea and coastal uses and maritime sectors; - Ensure better application of the best science, technical and policy advice on MPAs, MPA networks, and the global system; - Generate, synthesise and disseminate knowledge on MPAs, often in the form of best practice advice, to a diverse range of players.


Mano de muerto (Alcyonium glomeratum)

The Mediterranean Sea possesses important biodiversity and unique biological values with a high level of endemism of marine fauna and flora. As a consequence of this necessity of marine habitat protection to promote sustainable marine resource use and marine biodiversity conservation, a number of international efforts and nations have committed themselves to the creation of networks of marine conservation zones. NEREUS is a development of the inception project named Med-RAS project , funded by MAVA and Total Foundations in 2009 and 2010. Its main objective is “to gather, produce, synthesize and communicate information on the marine environment (species, features, resources and threats) and to identify conservation priorities sites in the Mediterranean Sea”.


A Sabella Spallanzanii in the Mediterranean sea, near Escala, Spain

Created in 1991, the MedPAN network acts to build the capacity of MPA managers around the Mediterranean basin through the exchange of best practice and the development of tools for the management of MPAs. MedPAN also contributes to the establishment of a representative and coherent ecological network of MPAs, which is a step beyond the more traditional approach of designing MPAs as single independent entities. The creation of an ecological network of effective MPAs is the fundamental base to protect biodiversity and provide ecosystem services for people inhabiting them. The IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation is a partner of the MedPAN association supporting projects originating from the network.

Cook Islands MPA

Cook Islands seascape

The Cook Islands Marine Park covers 1,065 million square kilometres, the largest area ever dedicated by a single country for integrated ocean conservation and management. IUCN has partnered with Global Blue to organise field activities to identify where and how the area is currently being used, what natural resources and habitats it hosts, and how they can be preserved sustainably. The goal is for this vital research to enable the local government to move forward with the establishment of the national marine park, the largest ever declared by a single country.

Sustainable Use of Oceans and Marine Resources

Sea for Society

Trawler, Hobart harbour, Australia

The Sea For Society (SFS) project brings together researchers, marine and terrestrial actors, civil society organisations (CSO’s) and individual citizens and youth in a mutual learning, consultation process and joint action to consider key questions, extract cross-cutting issues and propose challenge-driven solutions in order to ensure a sustainable management of marine eco-system services by European citizens. SFS will provide feedback from consultation process both to RD governance and maritime governance, shaping a new concept of Blue Society and improving the governance of research related to the oceans and seas at regional, national and European level.

International Coastal Zone Management


Poster EU Pegaso project

The Mediterranean and the Black Sea basins have, and continue to suffer severe environmental degradation. In many areas this has led to unsustainable trends which have impacted on economic activities and human well being. To address those problems, many efforts have been deployed for developing Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) in the region. The PEGASO project continues ICZM efforts, supporting new coastal and marine integrated approach policies through three innovative actions: 1. Create an ICZM governance platform as a bridge between scientist and end-user communities, going far beyond a conventional bridging. 2. Refine and further develop efficient and easy-to-use tools for making sustainability assessments in the coastal zone. 3. Implement a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) to organize and standardize spatial data and support information sharing.

Protecting Marine Species and Habitats

Marine Managed Areas of the Maldives

Manta Rays in the Maldives

Through the support of various partners, including Kuoni, Global Blue, Total Foundation and the French Ministry for Sustainable Development, IUCN has worked to build capacity in the Maldives for the identification, establishment and management of Marine Managed Areas (MMAs). These areas cover hotspots of marine biodiversity and harbour abundant but vulnerable marine species such as whale sharks and manta rays, which remain the focus of the Global Blue project. A key component of the above projects is the monitoring of the most valuable areas to ensure that they are managed in such a way that remain productive and resilient in the face of climate change and other threats.