Professor Alasdair Edwards has been working to improve tropical coastal management for over thirty years.
He was instrumental in establishing a long-running tropical coastal management Masters course that attracted students from more than 50 countries [including many from CCRES participant nations Indonesia and the Philippines] to Newcastle University in the UK.
“The CCRES project encapsulates in practice what we taught in the course, but makes use of the latest findings from the social sciences and business thinking, as well as the natural sciences,” says Alasdair.
“This is why I feel that CCRES could really make a difference.”
Alasdair served as Chair of the Restoration and Remediation Working Group for the Coral Reef Targeted Research & Capacity Building for Management (CRTR) program; the predecessor to CCRES. He contributed to the design of the CCRES project proposal which secured GEF funding and enabled the momentum and enthusiasm generated in CRTR to carry on.
At the planning stage, Alasdair’s task was to work with Andy Hooten, Mark Milstein and Carl Smith to examine how the knowledge acquired in Component 1 (Science and Discovery) could be used to achieve management outcomes and business success in Component 2 (Systems and Business), using lessons learned in CRTR.
He believes the efforts made by CCRES researchers to demonstrate the links between healthy ecosystems and sustainable economies will help to achieve those outcomes.
“The level of engagement with stakeholders and local communities is much greater than I have seen in other projects. I’ve witnessed various coastal management models come and go over the past 30 years, each promising much but not delivering enough to stem the decline of coastal ecosystems. I think that MSP [marine spatial planning] as envisaged by the CCRES project may be our last chance to make a difference.”
As a member of the Technical Steering Committee, his role in CCRES is to stand back from the nitty-gritty of the research and keep the bigger picture in mind.
“Basically, I am here to promote integration and synthesis of the activities and findings across the three components and support the leadership team in guiding the strategic direction of activities.”
Aladair has lots of experience with taking the broad view – his favourite pastime is trekking in spectacular mountain scenery such as the Andes, Himalayas, Drakensbergs or Altai Mountains.
He has devoted his career to promoting the health of coastal and marine ecosystems, and regularly enjoys the gifts of the sea.
“I never get tired of a good Thai fish curry or Maldivian tuna curry.”