How to engage stakeholders in the blue economy?

In October 2023, the partners in the PREP4BLUE project organised an international workshop on stakeholder engagement methodologies. A report with the most important results as well as a video of the event are now available.
23 January 2024

The PREP4BLUE project aims to develop a multidisciplinary approach that engages industry, governments, citizens, institutions and associations into achieving the Mission Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030.

During the workshop of 17 October 2023 in Brussels, three topics were discussed:

  • Issues, opportunities and tips for stakeholder engagement for the Mission Ocean; 
  • Strengthening stakeholder engagement within regional policies; and 
  • Developing tools to assess stakeholder engagement methodologies.

A brief report with the most important findings and a video report of this workshop can be found below. Would you like to know more? Then download the full report

Brief report of the workshop

The workshop refined the concept of engagement and identified several missing links. Some key concepts include: expectation management, complexity avoidance, ethical issues, self-planning, and pre-existing relationships.

To successfully engage stakeholders, it is not always necessary to be embedded in the field. It is clear that there are different levels of stakeholder engagement that can ensure a project is a success.

On stage, several renowned experts discussed ongoing and planned projects in the areas of biodiversity, prevention and mitigation of marine pollution, and large-scale maritime infrastructure.

We need more dialogue, collaborative governance, adaptive management, data sharing platforms, and transparency. We need precise criteria for the legitimacy of the inclusion of an interest, and for the rights and obligations of stakeholders.

Video report of the PREP4BLUE workshop

During the second part of the day, some challenges in regional smart specialisation strategies were highlighted.

We discussed what worked in the Entrepreneurial Discovery Process: the strengthened stakeholder involvement in both innovation policy and regional/national financing strategies (ESIF) and how innovation policy can be made more evidence-based.

A holistic approach to research and innovation results is crucial. In addition, it is essential that long-term social challenges are addressed and process continuity is ensured.

Some pictures of the event

Finally, all attendees had the opportunity to get to know each other better over a snack and a drink in an impressive art deco setting.

Blue Cluster would like to thank everyone for their constructive contribution to the workshop, in particular our renowned speakers:

  • Astrid Burhoi (Västra Götaland region);
  • Nicolas Dourlens (Occitanie region);
  • Marisa Fernandez (CETMAR); 
  • Fransesco Mollica (Joint Research Centre of the European Commission); 
  • Francisco Pinto (Regional Directorate of Science and Technology);
  • Matt Smith (co-author of BiodivERsA); and
  • Timothy Vanagt (ORG Permanent Modernity). 

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