Identify and assess vulnerability of coastal areas/features to sectoral pressures

Partner responsible - Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del País Vasco
While WP5 focused on the sectoral pressures this WP focuses on the vulnerability of marine ecosystems to such pressures. Most literature on vulnerability indicators related to the marine environment is concerned with risk assessment in ecosystems. In many cases, Relative Risk Models apply (Landis-Wiegers 1997). The WP involves the construction of a synthetic index of vulnerability to be calculated for all NUTS3 Eurostat geographical areas and, by aggregation, for all regions and countries in the European Atlantic Arc.

For this, we propose that vectors should be considered related to issues such as marine spills and water quality. External data sources will be used in order to construct primary indicators for the different vectors making up the synthetic index. Information gathered from WP5 and MS information from the first round of the MSFD assessments will also facilitate this process. Up to six NUTS3 rankings and GIS based maps are to be delivered plus one report analyzing the physical vulnerability of coastal areas/features to marine activities where the results obtained are analyzed from different physical, environmental and socio-economic perspectives. The mapping exercise will document vulnerable zones of the Atlantic Area, based on primary indicators and a final index. Metadata will characterize data sources and primary indicators. Compliant with spatial information standards, the maps will allow the visualization of vulnerable zones at different spatial scales.

This WP is innovative given that firstly, data on vulnerability of European coastlines have not been collected before in an organized and extensive manner. Secondly, the data will be statistically analysed to produce vulnerability rankings and GIS based maps at the coastal EU NUTS3 regional level. This will permit active collaboration between different local stakeholders and regional authorities in a way that has not been possible before as they that can use the primary indicators and vulnerability index to gauge the relative risks faced by each coastal region and, as a result, better design appropriate policies for their coasts' protection.
WP6 Actions and Outputs
Action #
Description of Action

Action 1:
Data gathering and compilation of indicators
An overall synthetic indicator of coastal vulnerability will be build which is based on primary vectors such as risk of marine spills, impact of the port facilities and impact of coastal activities, protected coastal areas and water quality. However, as there are no direct data on such primary indicators in one place, a database of actual data needs to be built from external sources for the different primary indicators making up the synthetic index and then construct primary indicators as proxies based on those data.

Action 2:
Data processing and construction of synthetic index
Based on the database collected in Action 1, primary indicators for the vulnerability vectors will be constructed to make up the synthetic indicator of vulnerability. In each of these cases, raw data from the database need to be processed with statistical methods in order to obtain the corresponding primary indicator. For this computer programs based on R scripts will need to be written. Finally, the five different primary indicators will be combined into the synthetic index of vulnerability.

Action 3:
Analysis and dissemination of results
The results in Action 2 will be analyzed from different physical, environmental and socio-economic perspectives. This leads to models that measure relative risk related to the marine ecosystems. Results will be disseminated at specific workshops related to the physical and socio-economic assessment of the vulnerability of coastal areas. In line with WP3, scientific information will be presented and discussed at various stakeholder fora and feed into case studies and capitalization.

Action 4:
Develop heat maps of vulnerability/capacity of Atlantic regions to grow while preserving the marine environment
This action will map the vulnerable marine zones of the Atlantic Area. It will use the spatial delimitation of vulnerable zones as analysed in the work package and will allow visualization of indicator maps. It will be implemented at different spatial scales. A catalogue of metadata will be developed describing data sources and indicators, and allowing multi-criteria search (geographic and thematic). Related documents and files will be associated to metadata specifying methodology and sources.