World leaders and ocean advocates will gather Oct. 5-6 in Valparaiso, Chile, to share in a common commitment to protect the oceans. As part of the United States delegation, Dr. Daniel Oerther, the John A. and Susan Mathes Chair of Environmental Engineering at Missouri S&T, will help launch the Caribbean Ocean Assets Sustainability faciliTy (COAST).
“COAST is a project that I started working on at the State Department earlier this year as a Jefferson Science Fellow,” Oerther says. “It’s a parametric insurance product for Caribbean countries that helps to protect food security and nutrition by promoting climate smart food security best practices.”
How does insurance help people to have more food? Oerther explains, “When you drive better, you pay less for your car insurance because you are less likely to be in a wreck. COAST works in a similar way. When a Caribbean country adopts best practices that reduce the exposure of their fisheries industry to the devastation of tropical cyclones, a.k.a. hurricanes, the countries end up with more sustainable fishing practices and greater food and nutrition security.”
With endorsements from three Caribbean bodies — the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism, the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organizations and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency — the vision that has been embodied in the COAST product aims to contribute to meeting the G7 leaders’ declaration to “increase by up to 400 million the number of people in the most vulnerable developing countries who have access to direct or indirect insurance coverage.”
Oerther will join U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and others in Chile as part of the second Our Ocean Conference. A life-long supporter of the ocean, Kerry hosted the first Our Ocean Conference in Washington, D.C., last year.
“I am thrilled that the work I began at the State Department is continuing after I’ve returned to Rolla,” says Oerther. “My ongoing involvement in COAST is a testament to the vision of Chancellor Schrader’s leadership and our strategic plan, Rising to the Challenge. I love that I have the opportunity to share my experiences from the global stage with our students in the classroom in Rolla.”