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The Arctic Gateway

Session time: 10 Dec 2020 7:00AM - 8:30AM GMT

General information

Ports, maritime transport and associated coastal infrastructure are critical to the global economy and national economies. They are especially the lifeline of connectivity for the economy, culture, and social well-being of Small Island developing states (SIDS) and coastal/archipelagic developing countries. Ensuring the resilience, operability and sustainability of ports and critical coastal infrastructure in the face of climate change is essential to the sustainable Blue Economy.

This special SOS 2020 session will address:

  • How can the ocean business and investment community best collaborate to ensure that ports and coastal infrastructure are adapted to ensure resiliency to extreme events and sea level, especially small islands and developing countries?
  • How can the ocean business and investment community best engage with the public finance community to advance coastal infrastructure adaptation, e.g. Green Climate Fund, multilateral/bilateral development assistance, national governments, etc.?
  • What is the best way to develop and implement a “”Grey/Green/Blue” approach to coastal infrastructure and adaptation, i.e. including, “Green infrastructure” (Nature- Based Solutions) and optimizing Blue Carbon benefits?


  • Chris Allen, Senior Consultant, Buildings, Infrastructure + Advanced Facilities – Advance Planning Group, Jacobs


  • Nicolas Swetchine, Group Head, International Key Accounts and Infrastructure Markets, LaFargeHolcim
  • Patrick King, Vice President, Global Director for Ports and Maritime, Jacobs / Luce Bassetti, Community of Practice Lead, Coastal Planning and Engineering, Jacobs

Commentator Panel

  • Cynthia Jaggi, Director and Founding Partner, Climate Adaptive Infrastructure
  • Joshua Berger, Founder and Board Chair, Washington Maritime Blue
  • Shimrit Perkol-Finkel, Co-Founder and CEO, Econcrete

Climate change, especially stronger/more frequent extreme weather events (e.g. hurricanes/typhoons) and sea level rise, are already affecting ports and coastal areas around the world. Extreme weather 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.

In the case of extreme weather events, the loss of port and coastal infrastructure functions immediately affects the ability for emergency humanitarian aid and assistance to be delivered, exacerbating the human tragedy. Over the longer term, economic and social recovery at all levels is constrained by the extent to which the return to pre-impact functioning is delayed, creating significant impacts to business, government and communities.

These climate change impacts are especially severe in developing countries, notably in SIDS and archipelagic countries, where there are usually long-term effects and long recovery times. In these areas, governments may have limited ability and resources to ensure that ports and coastal infrastructure are prepared, adapted, resilient and able to respond and recover after disasters occur. 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.

Action is needed to reduce the risks and downtime experienced by ports and critical coastal infrastructure following extreme events and take long term climate projections into account during the (re)development of facilities. Major finance institutions recommend that port owners and operators -and the banks and investors that finance them - factor the long-term implications of climate change into decision making for their port development plans, which helps to de-risk the investment in this infrastructure.

A systematic approach is needed to accelerate the adaptation and resiliency of port and coastal infrastructure. This should include an integrated “Grey, Green, Blue Infrastructure Strategy” for resilience, i.e. efforts should encompass: 1) Grey Infrastructure - the necessary built port and coastal environment, 2) Green Infrastructure - the “nature based solutions” that support natural systems to protect and maintain the integrity of coastal areas, and 3) Blue Infrastructure - the coastal habitats that are important for carbon sequestration, e.g. mangroves, seagrass beds.

The World Ocean Council (WOC) is working to bring together senior representatives from port users (e.g. shipping, cruise tourism, fishing, etc.), ports, engineering and construction, weather forecasting firms, investment, insurance, and others to catalyse international private sector leadership, collaboration and action. The group would engage with governments, bilateral, multilateral and inter-governmental organizations and other stakeholders in an international effort is needed to share experience, methods and results in addressing the challenges of port/coastal infrastructure resiliency.