In 2004, the UN General Assembly resolved to establish a working group to consider issues pertaining to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). The group met nine times between 2006 and 2015 before concluding its mandate by recommending the development of an international legally binding instrument on BBNJ under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Based on in-depth interviews with working group participants, this research examines how NGOs contributed to the working group process. Respondents from government delegations highlighted the usefulness of workshops and side events convened by NGOs, and the role of NGOs in bringing experts on technical issues – particularly marine genetic resources and the sharing of benefits – into the BBNJ negotiations. Respondents from both NGOs and government delegations emphasized the importance of fostering personal relationships in order to ensure a steady and constructive information flow. Social media efforts by NGOs were considered by some government representatives to have occasionally hampered open discussion, although they noted that conditions have improved. The lengthy working group process was marked by substantial fluctuation in participation, particularly within government delegations from developing states. Of 1523 individuals who participated in at least one of the working group meetings, only 45 attended more than half of the meetings, and 80% of these were representing NGOs or highly industrialized countries. Respondents felt that this comparatively small number of individuals provided a source of continuity that was crucial for moving the discussions forward.
Our global oceans are threatened by climate change, overfishing, pollution and a growing list of other impacts that demonstrate an urgent global need for sustainable ocean management. Whilst marine conservation initiatives and protected ocean spaces have increased over recent years, ocean management still lags behind the terrestrial sectors in incorporating and involving communities in its development. ‘Social licence to operate’ is used broadly across the terrestrial literature, but its understanding and application within the marine has been limited to date. This review sought to collate and synthesise instances of social licence in the marine realm as documented in the literature, aiming to create an understanding that may inform future research and development of social licence. Its results determine that social licence is yet an emergent concept in the marine sector but there may be great potential for its application in the marine context. Social licence has become an important theme for development in marine industry and resource use, particularly towards exploring communication and stakeholder engagement. This paper identifies future themes and areas requiring investigation and application in this domain.
Effective stakeholder engagement is an essential, but commonly overlooked, component of the ecosystem approach. In this article, we draw lessons from two European Union LIFE+ (LIFE is the European Union's financial instrument supporting environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects throughout the EU.) funded projects led by WWF-UK: PISCES (Partnerships Involving Stakeholders in the Celtic sea EcoSystem) and the Celtic Seas Partnership to present an approach for effective stakeholder engagement. These projects developed steps to operationalise the ecosystem approach within the context of a key piece of European legislation: the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD, 2008/56/EC).
We identified an approach for involving stakeholders in delivery of the ecosystem approach, which can be applied to other areas and contexts. The approach involves four steps:
Identify a relevant policy framework and the role of stakeholders in its implementation and identify or agree environmental, social and economic objectives for the area.
Create an open, neutral, cross-sectoral forum and design an engagement process that creates a “safe” and inclusive space, and is facilitated independently.
Demystify terminology and develop a shared vision or principles through an engagement process
Collaboratively develop management actions that are needed to achieve objectives and implement them.
The long-term strategic goal of the IODE ICAN (International Coastal Atlas Network) project is to encourage and help facilitate the development of digital atlases of the global coast based on the principle of distributed, high-quality data and information. These atlases can be local, regional, national and international in scale. ICAN aims to achieve this by sharing knowledge and experience among atlas developers in order to find common solutions for coastal web atlas development whilst ensuring maximum relevance and added value for the users.
User interactions between CWA developers and hosts and their target audiences have been explored since the beginning of the ICAN project, through workshops, and practically through the development of the various atlases by the membership of ICAN. We believe that the wealth of experience gained within ICAN should be made available to new and existing atlas developers in order to provide practical guidance on how best to interact with atlas audiences.
This hand book was compiled by gathering information from ten atlas developers as well as extracting relevant information from ICAN workshop reports. This information is summarised and analysed here leading to two sets of recommendations, one focused on the development of new atlases and the other focused on how to maintain interactions with audiences of already developed atlases. The handbook will therefore allow both new and established CWA developers and hosts to benefit from best practice examples as well as learn from mistakes made in the past, in order to increase capacity to successfully interact with user communities and target audiences, while managing coastal and marine data and information in a user friendly way. The final product is a resource that hopes to complement and link to a variety of OceanTeacher activities, support IODE training in courses, and it will be made available within the OceanTeacher Digital Library, thereby being of value to all who manage and present marine data and information.
The Guide combines theory and practical guidance to help coral reef managers harness the immense power of community stewardship as a central element of coral reef conservation and sustainable use programs. Leading experts from around the world share their decades of experience in designing and implementing coral reef stewardship programs in Australia, Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.
Policies to protect coastal resources may lead to greater social, economic, and ecological returns when they consider potential co-benefits and trade-offs on land. In Guánica Bay watershed, Puerto Rico, a watershed management plan is being implemented to restore declining quality of coral reefs due to sediment and nutrient runoff. However, recent stakeholder workshops indicated uncertainty about benefits for the local community. A total of 19 metrics were identified to capture stakeholder concerns, including 15 terrestrial ecosystem services in the watershed and 4 metrics in the coastal zone. Ecosystem service production functions were applied to quantify and map ecosystem service supply in 1) the Guánica Bay watershed and 2) a highly engineered upper multi-watershed area connected to the lower watershed via a series of reservoirs and tunnels. These two watersheds were compared to other watersheds in Puerto Rico. Relative to other watersheds, the Upper Guánica watershed had high air pollutant removal rates, forest habitat area, biodiversity of charismatic and endangered species, but low farmland quality and low sediment retention. The Lower Guánica watershed had high rates of denitrification and high levels of marine-based recreational and fishing opportunities compared to other watersheds, but moderate to low air pollutant removal, soil carbon content, sediment and nutrient retention, and terrestrial biodiversity. Our results suggest that actions in the watershed to protect coral reefs may lead to improvements in other ecosystem services that stakeholders care about on land. Considering benefits from both coastal and terrestrial ecosystems in making coastal management decisions may ultimately lead to a greater return on investment and greater stakeholder acceptance, while still achieving conservation goals.
Ecosystems often shift abruptly and dramatically between different regimes in response to human or natural disturbances. When ecosystems tip from one regime to another, the suite of available ecosystem benefits changes, impacting the stakeholders who rely on these benefits. These changes often create some groups who stand to incur large losses if an ecosystem returns to a previous regime. When the participation cost in the decision-making process is extremely high, this can “lock in” ecosystem regimes, making it harder for policy and management to shift ecosystems out of what the majority of society views as the undesirable regime. Public stakeholder meetings often have high costs of participation, thus economic theory predicts they will be dominated by extreme views and often lead to decisions that do not represent the majority viewpoint. Such extreme viewpoints can create strong inertia even when there is broad consensus to manage an ecosystem towards a different regime. In the same manner that reinforcing ecological feedback loops make it harder to exit an ecosystem regime, there are decision-making feedback loops that contribute additional inertia.
The participation of local communities in marine resource management can contribute to the sustainability and longevity of marine resources across diverse coastal settings. In contexts where there are low levels of formal education and high levels of illiteracy, and where marine resource management is governed predominantly by customary management systems, the introduction of formal marine resource management can be challenging. Maps are often required as the basis for spatial marine management measures, effective spatially-explicit fisheries monitoring, and for formal support from fisheries authorities. Our research with local women reef gleaners of Cabo Delgado, in northern Mozambique, pilots the potential uses of smartphones and digital mapping as a tool to allow fishers to map these understudied intertidal fishing grounds, and to understand the ecological dynamics as well as social uses of the intertidal resources. Even though women are key food and income providers through intertidal resource gleaning in this area of Mozambique, they have limited roles in fisheries management decision making. Therefore, we developed a participatory approach to mapping that could act as an entry point for their involvement in the design of a spatial fisheries management plan and associated community monitoring. Fisherwomen were trained to use smartphones with CyberTracker software for mapping intertidal fishing grounds in their village, and the locations of intertidal resources most important to their livelihoods, including octopus, pen shells and oysters. Interviews and focus groups were conducted throughout the mapping process to ascertain women's use and interest in the technology. We conclude that community-based mapping through simple tools as developed in this research can help connect local community groups, bridge traditional and formal governance systems and provide a positive example of co-management in practice.
The European Union (EU) has taken the lead to promote the management of coastal systems. Management strategies are implemented by the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), as well as the recent Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) Directive. Most EU directives have a strong focus on public participation; however, a recent review found that the actual involvement of stakeholders was variable. The “Architecture and roadmap to manage multiple pressures on lagoons” (ARCH) research project has developed and implemented participative methodologies at different case study sites throughout Europe. These cases represent a broad range of coastal systems, and they highlight different legislative frameworks that are relevant for coastal zone management. Stakeholder participation processes were subsequently evaluated at 3 case study sites in order to assess the actual implementation of participation in the context of their respective legislative frameworks: 1) Byfjorden in Bergen, Norway, in the context of the WFD; 2) Amvrakikos Gulf, Greece, in the context of the MSFD; and 3) Nordre Älv Estuary, Sweden, in the context of the MSP Directive. An overall assessment of the evaluation criteria indicates that the ARCH workshop series methodology of focusing first on the current status of the lagoon or estuary, then on future challenges, and finally on identifying management solutions provided a platform that was conducive for stakeholder participation. Results suggest that key criteria for a good participatory process were present and above average at the 3 case study sites. The results also indicate that the active engagement that was initiated at the 3 case study sites has led to capacity building among the participants, which is an important intermediary outcome of public participation. A strong connection between participatory processes and policy can ensure the legacy of the intermediary outcomes, which is an important and necessary start toward more permanent resource management outcomes such as ecological and economic improvement.
The development of the marine renewable energy (MRE) will impact traditional users of the marine resource, such as commercial fishermen. This could potentially lead to opposition and spatial conflict. The successful development of the MRE sector will heavily depend on the acceptance of projects by fishing communities. Effective stakeholder engagement is crucial to enhancing acceptance among fishermen. The consultation process is one of the key ways in which to engage fishermen and enable them to participate in decision-making. There is agreement among experts in the field that despite its importance, the consultation process is not effective and it is often carried out from the top down with little opportunity for real participation. A mixed methods research approach was used to examine the experiences of fishermen on their level of involvement in consultations and decision-making on marine renewable energy projects. In total, 104 surveys and 14 in-depth interviews were carried out with fishermen operating from ports at three case study sites around the island of Ireland where MRE projects were being developed. Just over half (56%) of those surveyed felt that they had been involved in consultations, while only 22% felt that they had been involved in decisions made on the projects. The use of participatory mapping tools in the selection of sites for MRE development provides an opportunity for fishermen to influence decisions. Designing and implementing marine spatial plans could also help to provide clarity and transparency over how trade-offs in the use of sea space are dealt with.