The Smart Coasts project conducted a virtual 3-day workshop between July and August 2020 with participation of more than 130 persons representing different organizations and stakeholders from the four Mesoamerican Reef countries: Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras.
The purpose of the workshop was to share project goals, provide update on objectives, and discuss the vision for linking climate science and ecosystem service analyses.
During the workshop, the modeling approaches, methodology, and draft results were shared for the project's integrated assessments of climate change impacts, risks, and ecosystem services as well as the optimal strategies for ecosystem-based adaptation that are under consideration. The workshop also allowed for discussion of opportunities for integrating scientific results into local, national, and regional management policies and plans.
The Smart Coast project is helping to enhance adaptation and resilience knowledge and capacities at local, national and regional levels by contributing to policies and action plans, and making science and best practices available in relevant fora. As part of this process, a Regional Working Group (RWG) was established to offer inputs, assist in information dissemination and on the ground adaptation implementation. The RWG includes a representative sample from academia, conservation, development aid, and government from the four Mesoamerican Reef (MAR) countries.
On June 17th, 2020, the project held its second meeting of the Regional Working Group in which draft project results for the region were presented, discussed and validated. Feedback received are being integrated within the project’s ongoing analyses. Additionally, since the project allows for two-way information exchanges, a coastal vulnerability assessment case study for Utila, Honduras was also shared, with discussions on how this location may be able to benefit from the information generated by the project.
An important part of incorporating ecosystem services information into climate adaptation planning for marine protected areas and the coastal zone is understanding how technical information can be used to inform decisions. With this is mind, the Smart Coast project has, as part of its objectives and activities, the building of local capacity to undertake ecosystem service modeling and necessary stakeholder dialogues needed to facilitate knowledge transfer and information uptake. This is being achieved via implementation of a Smart Coast Training of Trainers program; commenced in 2019 with 16 enrolled individuals from the MAR. Between April and June 2020, the project held it 5th and 6th training sessions for the trainees. These were focused on the following topics:
• Marine InVEST Recreation Model (Intro to Model Theory and data)
• Marine InVEST Recreation Model Deep Dive into Technical Aspects of Running Model