Harm Schoten | 20.03. 2023

Coastal gathering during the technical workshop of the Interreg PACCo project on strategies for coastal adaptation to climate change, March 2023 in Dieppe, Normandy, France. Hosted by Eurosite member Conservatoire du Littoral, in cooperation with (among others) National Trust UK, Environmental Agency UK, Rijkswaterstaat, Eurosite


Everyone loves the coast. It gives a sense of freedom. Are you – like me – also always curious about what lies beyond the horizon, what is under the water, what lies behind the dune?

Coasts suffer from their success. Today, the demographic trend is that people are moving to the coast for a better life. To accommodate the people, houses are built. To protect the people, coastal safety measures such as dikes and dams are built. To feed the people, fish stocks are exploited, and agriculture is intensified.

The State of Nature in Europe report shows that along with peatlands and grasslands, coastal, marine and dune habitats are in the most unfavourable conservation status. And the trend is worsening. Climate change, sea level rise and soil salinisation will affect badly how we live and work near the coast.

But the people’s love for the coast is also its survival.

In the future, nature-based solutions for the coast must become standard, working with nature, not against it. Working with natural processes in coastal areas leads to less erosion, more sedimentation, more carbon sequestration, lower maintenance costs, more extensive fish stocks, and flood prevention.

The research on coastal restoration projects in France and throughout Europe shows that an ecosystem-based approach is more sustainable. There are uncountable benefits for the people, the planet, and the economy.

Our French member Conservatoire du Littoral, in close partnership with Eurosite and with contributions from more than thirty European and Mediterranean institutions and organisations – in the framework of the 2022 French Presidency of the Council of the European Union – has developed a Policy Paper on Coastal Adaptation to Climate Change. The Paper was launched during COP 27 at Eurosite’s Annual Meeting and contained recommendations for natural coastal strategies.

So, let’s future-proof our coasts!