Uhinak positions itself as a single Congress bringing together all the actors involved in climate change: scientists, local governments and business
- Researcher Rafael Sardá will deliver the opening speech for the second Uhinak event.
- The Conference on Climate and Coastal Change will be held at Ficoba on September 27 and 28.
(Irun, 13 July 2016).After the success of the first Uhinak event, the Cross-Border Conference on Climate and Coastal Change continues to strengthen its identity, consolidating its aim of becoming a point of encounter between scientists, local governments and business geared to initiating the joint planning of the future of our coasts in the face of climate change, while seeking to understand climate change managers’ needs and provide scientific solutions.All three areas will be represented on the conference panel, which combines 12 guest speeches with a further 20 selected from an open call.
Rafael Sardá, a Scientific Researcher from Spain’s National Research Council (CSIC), currently researching at the Coastal and Marine Socio-Ecological Systems Unit of the Blanes Advanced Studies Centre (CEAB), will deliver the opening lecture at the second Uhinak conference.
Mr. Sardá’s focus is on boosting the so-called Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM), which favours a long-term balance between the benefits of economic development and human use of coastal areas, the benefits of protecting, preserving and restoring the coast, those of reducing the loss of human lives and property to a minimum and the advantages deriving from public access and enjoyment of these areas, all within the limits set by natural dynamics and the carrying capacity of the natural systems.
Rafael Sardá holds a Biological Sciences degree from Barcelona University and a PhD in Zoology and develops applied research on the boundary between social and ecological systems, how these systems interact, how they respond to current and emerging problems on a local and global level and the role of science and regulatory activity in this field.
Xabier Irigoyen, the Director of the Red Sea Research Centre of King Abdullah Science and Technology University (KAUST University, Saudi Arabia), will be another important speaker at the event, givinga lecture entitled “Changes in the Ocean: Do we Really Care if Polar Bears Die Out?”,which will recap on the changes observed in the oceans and the effect of their global impact on a local level, discussing issues such as temperature, sea level, diversity and acidification.
Mr. Irigoyen has a PhD in Oceanographic Studies (1994) from the University of Bordeaux I (France) and since 1994 he has worked successively at the Marine Science Institute (CSIC, Spain), Plymouth Marine Laboratory (UK, 1996-2000), the Southampton Oceanography Centre (UK, 2000-2002) and AZTI (Spain, 2002-2011), before joining KAUST University (Saudi Arabia) in 2011.He has also been a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Plankton Research and Scientific Data and Assistant Manager of Marine Biology and of Frontiers in Marine Ecology.
Presentation of the Marea project:the 2013/2014 storms
The 2013 and 2014 storms had a heavy impact on the Basque Coast and also on public opinion, on both sides of the border.They undermined natural resources, damaging numerous coastal works, flooding buildings, seriously affecting businesses along the coast and even endangering the safety of property and people.
These recurrent events generated strong waves which, combined with high tide coefficients, caused sediment drag, loss of sand from the beaches and erosion of the rocky cliffs.Wave surge and consequent flooding occurred in low waterway areas all along the Basque Coast, damaging local infrastructures such as the retaining walls at the beaches of Anglet, the façade of Biarritz Casino, the parapet walls of Port-Vieux beach, the Bidart seafront, the breakwater at Les Alcyons in Guéthary, the breakwaters on the beaches of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, the seafront promenades at Zarautz and even the dams and bridges of Donostia-San Sebastián.
In view of this critical situation, local governments along the Basque Coast immediately undertook numerous restoration works and began a profound reflection on the measures needing to be taken to improve risk prevention and impact mitigation.These bodies now wish to improve their knowledge of the hydrodynamic processes affecting the coast in order to better anticipate coastline management and optimise their response to extreme situations of this type.In fact, the members of the Basque Coast Scientific Interest Group created a cross-border work team in July 2015 called the “Coastal Risk” team, focusing on setting up projects to respond to the local governments’ concerns in this area.
With this initiative, the Basque Coast Scientific Interest Group sought to bring together its different powers in order to develop synergies, correlating scientific knowledge with the local governments’ management requirements.The aim is to set up applied research projects to cater to the coast’s operational management requirements, reaffirming a “research-action” stance and enabling local governments to strengthen their powers with regard to two critical problems:the quality of bathing water and coastline management.The subject matter of the project is well-suited to the Uhinak conference and its results will be presented at this year’s event.
Like last year, the Uhinak conference is structured into different thematic areas:climate change challenges on the coast of the Bay of Biscay, impact and adaptation of coastal uses, tools to be developed and used for change management and decision-making, the impact of extreme events and their effects on future uses of the coast.These topics will be approached from the cross-border perspective provided by the relevant local government actors taking part in Uhinak and the participating scientists and researchers.
The main difference this year is that the geographical sphere has been extended to include the entire Bay of Biscay, from Galicia to Brittany.
Another novelty at the second Uhinak event is the creation of a Technical Committee including representatives from the Basque Government, the Gipuzkoa Regional Government, the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment, BC3, EUCC Atlantic Center, the Basque Country’s Official Association of Civil Engineers, Gis Litoral Basque, the Sustainability Observatory/Cristina Enea Foundation and AZTI.
The second Uhinak Cross-Border Conference on Climate and Coastal Change, organised by Ficoba and AZTI (the expert Technology Centre specialising in Marine and Food Innovation), will basically maintain the same features as last year’s event.The speakers’ and participants’ evaluation of last year’s conference highlighted the numerous different audiences who could participate, as it was not specifically geared to the scientific world but also to technicians and managers.This appreciation has encouraged us to continue on the same path this year, seeking to understand local governments’ needs in order to provide scientific solutions.