Ocean and Coastal Policy Program News

Global Alliance Releases New Tools to Guide Evidence-based Solutions Across Health, Development, and Environment

The Bridge Collaborative, a global alliance of 90 organizations from 23 countries, today released two new tools to assist decision-makers solving big challenges facing health, development, and the environment. The Bridge Collaborative Practitioner’s Guide on Principles and Guidance for Cross-sector Action Planning and Evidence Evaluation and the policy-focused Call to Action for Health, Environment, and Development Leaders were developed to accelerate progress toward building a shared, cross-sector evidence base that informs strategies, shapes policies, and directs funding decisions to achieve concrete solutions.

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Ocracoke Island by William Britten Photography

The Blue Economy Makes Waves in Policy Circles

The blue economy concept could help policy makers more fully consider the marine environment together with economic growth to help meet the United Nation’s oceans sustainable development goal. John Virdin, director of the Ocean and Coastal Policy Program at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, is studying how governments in the United States and abroad might apply the blue economy concept to increase rates of economic return without depleting or damaging ocean ecosystems, which would put not only natural resources but also jobs and economic growth at risk. 

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Survey Gauges Top Leaders Views of Environmental Policy Landscape

In spring 2017, researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions set out to determine what and how a broad cross-section of thought leaders at private corporations, nonprofits, government agencies, and universities think about emerging environmental trends, risks, and opportunities. Through the Emerging Environmental Issues Survey, the researchers aimed to assess both the reach and the manageability of environmental change.

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Building a Blue Economy in North Carolina

The ocean economy contributed $2.1 billion and 43,385 jobs to North Carolina’s economy in 2013, according to a new report by North Carolina Sea Grant and Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Ocean and coastal resources played an even larger role in the state’s coastal counties, providing 6.5 percent of gross domestic product, or GDP, and supporting 13 percent of employment. And according to “North Carolina’s Ocean Economy: A First Assessment and Transitioning to a Blue Economy” report co-author Tibor Vegh, these figures are most likely low. “Our estimates represent a snapshot in time only for the sectors where we could find economic data,” Vegh, a policy analyst with the Nicholas Institute, tells CoastWatch.

Workshop to Share Experiences of Support to Small-Scale Fisheries

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions' Ocean and Coastal Policy Program intern Jill Hamilton writes about a two-day workshop hosted by the Nicholas Institute and the Nicholas School of the Environment that explored global support efforts to small-scale fisheries. The meeting, which gathered practitioners, philanthropists, fishers and scientists from across the globe, examined the Food and Agriculture Organization's voluntary guidelines for securing sustainable small-scale fisheries, the first internationally-agreed-upon tool to address small-scale fisheries, released in 2015

GRID-Arendal Wins Creative Map Award

At the Norwegian Esri User Conference, Grid-Arendal’s Levi Westerveld and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions’ Linwood Pendleton and partners were awarded the Most Creative Map Award for "Endangered Reefs, Threatened People," a story map that explains human dependence on coral reefs and the threats these reefs are facing from climate change and ocean acidification. 

Update on the Nicholas Institute’s Ocean and Coastal Policy Program

Ocean and Coastal Policy Program director John Virdin discusses core research focused on economic growth from the ocean, climate change mitigation, and fisheries and food security now underway for the Duke student publication, Upwelling.

Research Maps Countries that will be Most Impacted by Large-Scale Coral Reef Loss

New evidence from Duke environmental researchers points to the devastation coral reefs could face in the next few decades—which would affect human populations around the world. ”Some scientists have held out hope that there would be reef areas that could escape the harm of climate change, but we find that most reefs will be affected by either warmer seas or more acidic oceans,” said Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Linwood Pendleton. “2016 has been one of the worst years in memory for coral bleaching. This fact is demonstrated by this year’s bleaching event that affected nearly all of the Great Barrier Reef.”

Transitioning to a 'Blue Economy' can Reshape the Ocean Landscape

In The Hill, the Nicholas Institute's John Virdin and the World Bank's Pawan Patil write that as we enter a period of uncertainty in both international and climate policy following the United States presidential election, identifying a concept that can help find the wins between the economy and the environment is even more important. In the ocean, policymakers are asking if this may be achieved, in part, under the new concept: Blue Economy. 

Coral Decay: Scientists Pinpoint Regions Where Declining Coral Reefs could Impact People the Most

Rising carbon dioxide levels amplify the risk of elevated sea surface temperatures and ocean acidification, and these two global stressors may severely harm warm-water coral reef ecosystems and the people who depend on them. PLOS One Research News features a Q&A with Linwood Pendleton, senior scholar at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, and lead author of a new study that uses an indicator approach to identify where coral reef-dependent people were most likely to be affected by rising CO2 levels by 2050.