Accepting Solutions

Coastal Communities

How can coastal communities mitigate and adapt to climate change while developing and prospering?

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Challenge Overview

Over 30% of humanity lives near coasts, ranging from massive cities to key ports and naval bases to small islands. The effects of climate change – including sea level rise, stronger storms, ocean warming and acidification – are causing increasing negative impacts on these communities’ lives and livelihoods. For the 600 million people supported by the fishing industry, a majority of them women, overfishing, pollution, and acidification threaten their livelihoods and the fragile ecosystems on which they depend. In cities and elsewhere, some communities already face regular flooding due to higher tides, some will see more frequent natural disasters, and others will see tourist-attracting coral reefs or surfing fade.

Further, as 60% of global GDP and 90% of global trade moves through coasts, increased flooding or damage to port infrastructure poses risks for communities and businesses alike, whether or not they are near the ocean. In addition, coastal and ocean ecosystems absorb 25% of our excess CO2, but are often degraded through coastal development, making climate change harder to mitigate.

While facing numerous impacts, coastal communities from Puerto Rico to Dhaka also have the potential to demonstrate resilient and sustainable ways of living near and with the ocean. Doing so will require people to have access to new technological solutions—along with new ways to envision and enact hard decisions about economies, society, and infrastructure. The Solve community aims to find innovative solutions to support and enhance coastal communities, while mitigating and adapting to climate change. To do so, Solve welcomes solutions from innovators around the world that:

  • Increase the viability and scale of sustainable economic activity from oceans, ranging from fishing to energy production to tourism

  • Provide cost-effective infrastructure approaches to improve resilience in the face of increased storm-, sea-, and tidewater

  • Rebuild or replicate mangroves, corals, and other ecosystems to restore historic functions, including storm surge absorption, carbon uptake, and stable fisheries

  • Enable coastal communities, governments, and corporations to use data to understand and make complex decisions around sustainable and resilient development

Prize Eligibilty

This prize is available for Solver teams in the Coastal Communities Challenge who also fulfill the following criteria. You do not need to meet these requirements to apply to the Coastal Communities Challenge:

RISE to make more than US$1M in investment funding available for resilient infrastructure solutions:

RISE is a nonprofit organization based in Virginia, USA. RISE's mission is to catalyze innovation and growth around creative solutions in the areas of sea-level rise, recurrent flooding, and economic resilience. RISE seeks innovative technology-based approaches from anywhere in the world that address any of five resilience sub-topics and could be demonstrated in the Hampton Roads region of Southeastern Virginia. RISE provides applicants access to data and/or background information for each sub-topic, and will also provide access to regional Subject Matter Experts throughout the application period. RISE will also offer the opportunity (subject to due diligence review) to receive investment funds from its US$1M investment fund to qualifying members of the Coastal Communities Solver class. For more information, contact Paul Robinson.

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