The Sea For Society (SFS) project brings together researchers, marine and terrestrial actors, civil society organisations (CSO’s) and individual citizens and youth in a mutual learning, consultation process and joint action to consider key questions, extract cross-cutting issues and propose challenge-driven solutions in order to ensure a sustainable management of marine eco-system services by European citizens.
SFS is preparing feedback from the consultation process both to RD governance and maritime governance, towards shaping a new concept of Blue Society and improving the governance of research related to the oceans and seas at regional, national and European levels.
In order o achieve its goals the SFS project uses the following approach:
The concept of marine Ecosystem Services is used in the project to help manage a complex system, the marine ecosystem. Ecosystem Services will be related to “Lived Experiences” of stakeholders and citizens. Marine Ecosystem Services refer to benefits that people obtain in their everyday lives from marine ecosystems, including the Open Ocean, coastal seas, and estuaries.
Previous surveys (OCEANICS, FP5 funded project and The Ocean Project) have shown that European citizens are not fully aware of the daily link they have with marine ecosystem services they benefit from nor how their daily behaviours are potentially threatening these services.
During the SFS consultation process, the first phase of the project, we focussed on the following 6 key issues,pertinent to all stakeholders and citizens:
A Place to Live
Credit: Marine Insitute
Leisure and Tourism
The Blue Society Concept
A second key theme running across the SFS design is the Blue Society concept in relation to ocean sustainability. This is a new concept that will be refined by the consortium in the framework of the project.
The Blue Society concept is inspired by the Green Economy concept developed at a global UN level. It is based on the premise that there are two imperatives that society should integrate 1) satisfying the needs of our planet’s inhabitants today and 2) the preservation of means of subsistence for the generations to come, especially, in this project, the resources and services provided by the Ocean. The Blue Society concept places humankind at the centre of the diorama. It encourages citizens to take action and it inspires them to take part in the implementation of solutions. It revolves around sustainable development policies and green economy, and it includes spatial and temporal dimensions.
Ultimately it challenges Society to identify a Blue Society that is really achievable and ensures a healthy and prosperous future for generations to come.
The SFS project stimulates debate on the concept of Blue Society solutions. This can help stakeholders, researchers and citizens work together towards finding "inclusive solutions” to marine challenges as members of a Blue Society.
The SFS MMLAP
The SFS innovative Mobilisation and Mutual Learning Action Plan (MMLAP) is characterised by four elements:
- Adapt: Identification, collection and “translation” of scientific information relevant to citizens, stakeholders and Civil Society Organisations (CSO’s);
- Acquire: Holding a Consultation Process across Europe, engaging citizens and stakeholders, to discuss the questions related to ecosystem services and explore the concept of Blue Society. To express their opinions (perceptions, values, knowledge, ideas) and together to co-author new knowledge (challenges, barriers, needs, potential inclusive solutions, empowerment actions);
- Action: Spreading co-authored messages, ideas, and needs resulting from new knowledge generated in the consultation process to a broader range of different audiences (including research, marine and non-marine stakeholders, CSO’s and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) and the wider public) through specific target actions;
- Advice: Developing the first concrete concept of the Blue Society and guidelines for a possible implementation. Feeding back on the learning acquired on the process and methodology of SFS.
Building on Past Experience and Integrating into active systems
The SFS project, wherever possible, engages with Existing Initiatives, leveraging and adding value to previous and current funded projects.
Technology Platforms, such as the European Aquaculture Technology and Innovation Platform (EATiP), the European Fisheries Technology Platform (EFTP), and the Waterborne ETP, offer key channels for engagement in Europe.
In terms of International Cooperation, the diverse SFS partnership has an inherent extensive network of collaboration and cooperation with international organisations, and this continues be used to transmit and exchange advice and results.