Port/Coastal Infrastructure Adaptation And Extreme Weather Events: The Case For Urgent, Global Action

Sept 1, 2017 -- The tragic impacts of Hurricane Harvey this week have highlighted again the devastating effects that extreme events can have on ports and coastal infrastructure. These events can immediately and significantly affect people, livelihoods, communities, businesses and economies. Due to the interconnectedness of the global economy - and the role of maritime industries as the connective tissue for that economy - these effects quickly spread from the local scale to have national and international consequences.

Extreme events can cause the closing of ports, disruption of land transport, shutting of airports, interruption of water and food provision, loss of energy production or delivery, shuttering of businesses, etc. This loss of essential infrastructure, goods and services immediately affects the ability to deliver emergency humanitarian aid and assistance, exacerbating the human tragedy. Over the longer term, recovery at all levels is constrained by the extent to which the return of this underlying fabric of modern society to pre-impact functioning is delayed, creating significant business and economic loss.

The threat posed by extreme events is magnified many-fold in developing countries, especially those for which a single or a few major port cities are both the lifeline to the global economy and the economic hub and powerhouse for the nation. This is particularly true for all small island developing states (SIDS), which are thus highly vulnerable and a high priority for port and coastal adaptation.

The need to ensure that ports and critical coastal infrastructure across the globe are adapted, ready and resilient to handle the effects of extreme events has never been more clear and compelling.

The SOS 2017 session on “Extreme Weather Events and Port Resiliency: Advancing Coastal Infrastructure Adaptation, especially for Island and Developing Countries” will address:
• How can the ocean business community best ensure that ports and essential coastal infrastructure are being adapted to ensure resiliency to sea level rise and extreme events, especially in in small island developing states (SIDS) and developing countries?
• How can the ocean business community best collaborate with other key stakeholders, e.g. multilateral/bilateral development assistance, national governments, science institutions, etc.?
• What is the best way to develop and implement a global, multi-stakeholder leadership alliance to ensure ports and coastal infrastructure worldwide are ready, resilient and able to minimize the impacts of extreme events on communities, businesses and economies?

Experts and representatives from the ocean business community and other stakeholders are invited to get engaged as speakers or participants in the SOS 2017 session on this critical issue by contacting the WOC at info@oceancouncil.org.

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©2017 World Ocean Council | 3035 Hibiscus Drive, Suite 1, Honolulu, Hawaii 96815 USA

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