Coastal developing nations are looking to the ocean to provide opportunities for sustainable economic growth through resource exploitation (e.g., mineral extraction) and livelihood diversification (e.g., tourism, aquaculture, and blue carbon initiatives) and to support food security (e.g., fisheries and aquaculture).

At the same time, coastal ecosystems and the services they provide are under threat from growth in human activities, including the demands of increasing population size and global markets, the desire for economic growth, and the impact of global climate variability. The impact of multiple stressors on the ocean is expected to increase as the human population grows towards 9 billion by the year 2050.

The success of a sustainable ocean-based economy, or Blue Economy, depends on the state of the marine environment. ACCORD is delivering vital scientific understanding about the marine environment for marine policy makers, managers, and financial investors.

ACCORD focuses on the coastal and marine environments of South East Asia and the Western Indian Ocean, which are rich and diverse, possessing high levels of biodiversity and productivity. The programme addresses two big challenges for eight countries in these regions:

  • Sustainable growth of, and resilience to change for, the Blue Economies of partner countries
  • Resilience to natural hazards including impact-based, climate-proof coastal flood warning systems

Working with our international ACCORD partners, our research is helping to provide answers to policy questions for marine management. We are supporting our overseas partners to develop sustainable marine economies and boost their resilience to natural hazards.

Prof. Kevin Horsburgh, NOC Chief Scientist for International Development

The evidence and tools provided by this research will allow decision makers to include the needs and values of some of the poorest and most vulnerable groups who depend on the coast.

ACCORD addresses and contributes to six UN Sustainable Development Goals

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Beneficiaries and Capacity Building

ACCORD is working in partnership with our international partners to develop resilience to natural hazards and the growth of Blue Economies, by supporting decision-makers in identifying ways to adapt to the next century of environmental and climatic stressors. Protecting critical ecosystems and habitats requires an ecosystem-based, multidisciplinary approach to inform integrated management strategies. The primary beneficiaries are policy makers, resource managers and coastal managers. The benefits are an increased knowledge base and local capability and capacity to deliver up-to-date relevant information. The ongoing partnerships developed in ACCORD will provide a foundation for future collaboration for transdisciplinary oceanographic research that will deliver the scientific evidence vital for marine decision-making. This will directly help our overseas partners in their attainment of UN Sustainable Development Goals.


ACCORD is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) as part of a National Capability, Official Development Assistance award (NC-ODA). The research programme is delivered jointly by the NOC and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML).