The World Harbour Project
Initiated by the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS), the goal of the World Harbour Project (WHP) is to develop resilient urban ports and harbours through a global network of collaborating scientists. The Project brings together international research institutions and agencies concerned with the health of these heavily urbanised waterways and the increasing challenges they face.
Like Sydney, many of the world’s great cities such as New York, Rio de Janeiro and Shanghai are located on the coast, with working harbours that are part of the fundamental fabric of those communities. The relationship between the city’s residents and the marine environment is an ongoing challenge.
The WHP aims to tackle issues surrounding the multiple uses of harbours and ports through targeted workshops, exchange programs of students and researchers and specific collaborative projects on a global scale. The vision is to facilitate and link programs across major international harbours, with a focus on investigating and restoring ecosystem functioning and the consequent development of management best-practices that can be applied by all partner cities.
Investigations of the socio-economic aspects of harbour development, environmental degradation and ecosystem restoration will form an important component of the WHP. As will educational outreach and dialogue and collaboration with industry and governments.
No previous program has linked research and management across urban marine environments on a global scale. To date the project has received commitments from 19 partner cities, with more in discussion to join.
WHP GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE
The initial governance structure of the WHP was established at the workshop. Professor Peter Steinberg was elected Director. The WHP Steering Committee has a total of nine members, representing all regions involved. Dr Emma Thompson is the Project Manager. The World Harbour Project is currently hosted by the Sydney Institute of Marine Science.
Emma Thompson is the Project Manager for the World Harbour Project. She liaises and works closely with our global partners and Working Groups and communicates the values and research of the WHP both nationally and internationally to a broad range of audiences.
For a short biography on Emma, click here.
Beth Strain is a post-doctoral researcher at the World Harbour Project. Beth is currently co-ordinating the bivalve restoration project across multiple partner harbours as part of Workgroup 2 – Green Engineering.
Karen Raubenheimer is the part-time World Harbour Project Assistant, working closely with Emma Thompson. Karen also administers the WHP website.
At the inaugural partner workshop (Sydney, November 2014) partner cities each presented the status, challenges, and research underway in their harbours. Partners discussed the vision, aims and expected outcomes of the WHP. Project leader, Peter Steinberg, led a discussion about the governance structure and funding of the WHP and appointments to governance posts were made. The group also discussed the potential for future partners.
PROJECT WORKING GROUPS
To achieve the core aim of the WHP – to build resilient urban ports and harbours through globally integrated research and management – four project working groups were created based on the following criteria:
- be of global importance and communal interest
- affect change
- be multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary
- be achievable in the short term
- have commitment and capacity from partners
- attract sufficient funding
WG1 – Water and Sediment Quality
WG2 – Green Engineering
WG3 – Multiple Uses and Users
WG4 – Education
A highly successful launch was held at the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014, in Sydney in November. Professor Peter Steinberg, WHP Director, gave the main address followed by short talks by two representatives from our international partners – Professor He of Shanghai and Dr Coutinho of Brazil. The WHP was officially launched by The Hon. Robert Stokes, MP, Minister for the Environment, NSW. A number of VIPs were in attendance, including the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer and the CEOs of the Australian Museum and the Office of Environment & Heritage, NSW Government.
World Harbour Project Information:
WHP Promotional Brochure – Download PDF