Sino-Australian Joint Research Center for Coastal Zone Management

Introduction of the Center

The world’s coasts are under extreme pressure as a result of large populations living near the sea, more people migrating to the coasts and the likely impacts of enhanced climate change such as sea-level rise and changed weather patterns. These zones play a critical role in human activities, through human food supply, shipping, employment and recreation.

As indicated by Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in his recent address to the 60th anniversary of Chinese Academy of Science, the over-development of the coastal zones imposes far-reaching challenges on society for a sustainable use of coastal resources. The pressures have led to serious degradation of coastal ecosystems in many countries and there is an urgent need for dramatically improved management regimes to tackle the problems. Significant research into the changes in coastal areas and their causes has been undertaken, but this research effort has not been fully reflected in coastal zone planning and management activities, thus affecting effectiveness of the coastal zone management (CZM) system. One of the main causes of this problem is that policy and law cannot provide effective instructions and guidance for the sustainable development of coastal zone areas. This topic is one of significant current interest, and this proposal aims to investigate the reasons for this poor integration and how they may be improved.

The objectives of this joint research centre are 1) to develop a state-of-the-art integrated coastal zone marine forecasting and management system in order to address above issues in coastal zone management; 2) to provide best research supervision and training facilities to the students in the field of coastal zone management in China and Australia; and 3) to enhance research capacity for collaboration by forming a network of coastal scientists, engineers and managers from Australia and China.

The centre will establish five research programs to address key issues in coastal oceanography, coastal engineering, remote sensing, marine policy and law, climate change and socio-economics:

●   The coastal oceanography focuses on evaluation of coastal ocean observing and forecasting system and its socio-economic impact.

●   The coastal engineering concentrates on engineering issues in the risk management in coastal infrastructure.

●   The remote sensing concerns the gap of Chinese/Australian capacity for utilizing spaceborne measurements in the framework of an operational ocean forecasting system.

●   The marine policy and law aims at analysis of similarities and differences of legal and regulatory frameworks related to the CZM of the two countries.

●   The climate change and socio-economics focuses on planning policy formulation to deal with the major socio-economic impacts of climate change on the coast.


◇  Prof Xiangmin Xu (徐祥民) (China)