Ocean and coastal systems transformation: consultation for a ten-year strategy on sustainable oceans and coasts

Dr Taryn Laubenstein1, Dr. Tayanah O’Donnell1

1Future Earth Australia, Canberra, Australia


As a coastal nation, Australia is dependent on the health, resilience, and sustainability of its oceans and coasts. Yet a range of issues threaten these connected ecosystems and the human settlements that depend on them. Promoting health and resilience in the face of these issues will be challenging, particularly because of the multiple overlapping sectors that draw on ocean and coastal systems. A coordinated, systems-based approach is required that brings researchers, governments, industries, and communities together to develop a shared vision and to design and implement enduring solutions locally and at scale. To support this vision, we are in the process of developing a national, ten-year strategy for sustainable ocean and coastal systems. Drawing off a series of national consultation workshops with stakeholders from government, industry, academia, and civil society, as well as targeted expert interviews, we are developing clear, actionable strategies for achieving healthy and resilience oceans and coasts for all of Australia. Together with a transdisciplinary Expert Reference Group, we are integrating the findings from these workshops and interviews into the strategy, to be released in late 2020/ early 2021. Here, we present the preliminary results of our consultation process, including common issues and ideas that emerged across the nation, as well as site-specific challenges and suggestions. We also discuss our strategies for engaging across multiple disciplines and sectors in the ocean and coastal space, and compare and contrast this process with a similar process we ran last year around sustainable cities.


Dr Laubenstein is a Research and Policy Officer at Future Earth Australia, a national branch of the international Future Earth research network. She is a qualified scientist and science communicator, having recently completed her PhD in marine biology at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies in Townsville, and works at FEA to promote transdisciplinary and cross-sectoral knowledge sharing in the ocean and coastal sphere.