The oceans cover almost three quarters of the Earth´s surface and provide food for billions of people. Jobs and income for communities worldwide depend on them, especially in developing countries. Specifically, coastal and marine areas account for economic, environmental, social and cultural values. Yet, the resilience of coastal socio-ecological systems is increasingly tested through the impacts of climate change and developments associated with rapid population and economic growth. Following the Blue Economy business model, exploitation of seas and oceans must balance economic productivity and associated human use with the protection of different habitats and species. Over 90% of all fish stocks are exploited beyond their sustainable limits. As millions of tons of waste end up in the oceans every year, land- and sea-based marine litter is a global concern with far-reaching consequences for ecosystems, the economy, human health and food supplies.
Therefore, effective and sustainable coastal and marine governance is of increasing importance. It has to take into account a multitude of topics such as conservation and management of marine and coastal biodiversity, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, sustainable tourism development, pollution control and waste management as well as disaster risk and climate change mitigation and adaptation. But spaces and processes associated with coastal and marine areas are often not bound by sectors or administrative borders, hence tackling these challenges and their related objectives requires cross-sectoral, interregional and international stakeholder coordination and cooperation.
GFA concept and services
Taking the multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral nature of marine and coastal governance into consideration, GFA offers a holistic approach. Apart from an internal thematic working group, the company benefits from its interdisciplinary regional departments, supported by the expertise of technical departments and teams. From feasibility studies to practical implementation advice and policy support, GFA and its partners offer a broad range of expertise and services:
- Coastal and marine protected areas
- Climate change adaptation and mitigation
- Marine spatial planning
- Integrated coastal area management
- Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture
- Disaster risk reduction & coastal protection
- Marine pollution and waste management
- Sustainable tourism development
- Offshore energy and resource use