Conflict resolution in coastal resource management: Comparative analysis of case studies from four European countries
Coastal resource management requires the resolution of local resource use conflicts. The research on coastal conflict resolution is still scarce despite the progress made in fisheries and marine related conflict studies. Utilizing qualitative methodology this paper makes comparative analyses of strengths and deficits of coastal conflict resolution practices in three conflicts from the Swedish west coast and five conflicts from the United Kingdom, Italy and Belgium, all studied in the context of the European research project SECOA (Solutions to Environmental Contrasts in Coastal Areas). The analyses focus on power relations among the stakeholders and their practices of knowledge use, including knowledge integration and joint learning. The results show deficits of research and practical neglect of these aspects in coastal management. In the discussion the question of how approaches to conflict resolution can be improved and integrated into long-term strategies of sustainable resource management in coastal areas is addressed. It is concluded that complex conflicts over natural resource use require context specific combinations of formal and informal resolution methods. The interconnected components of transformation of power relations, knowledge integration and joint learning are seen as key components of conflict resolution.
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