Marine ecosystems deliver numerous benefits to society. They are key to integrated and sustainable marine development. WABESCO will develop a universal, adaptable and relevant evaluation tool for all actors and projects working towards sustainable blue growth.
In progress
Apr 2022 - Apr 2024
DBC project, National project

Blue growth requires finding compromises between economic, social and environmental aspects. The MES (Marine Ecosystem Services) concept provides a new way of thinking and can serve as a decision-making tool for sustainable marine development.

The WABESCO consortium will develop tools that map the value of marine actors and thus support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the assessments ‘no significant harm’ and ‘significant contribution’ of the EU Green Taxonomy. This instrument will be supported scientifically by an open-source MES network model. This model type facilitates dynamic and interdependent processes between organisms and actors, which eludes the traditional, silo-based approaches to ecosystem valuation.

Network-based approaches are  specifically aimed at the assessment of tangible and intrinsic interactions between organisms and actors as a multi-level network of processes/interactions providing an effective and more realistic method of establishing synergies and trade-offs, in co-creation with the stakeholders of the blue economy. An ecosystem management framework encourages businesses to continually enhance their impact on marine ecosystem services.

The focus is on the development of a universal, adaptable and stakeholder-oriented framework and numerical model making the following possible:

  • conduct an evaluation of all actors and projects active in the field of blue growth;
  • map areas, projects and new corporate activities;
  • grow with (the complexity of) a project cycle; and
  • support participation and communication with the local environment.

WABESCO will generate the following mutually reinforcing results:

  • a prototype of a tool which businesses or government authorities can use to assess the sustainability of “blue” projects; this instrument will be tested in 2 use cases;
  • a numerical model (software) which supports and facilitates this evaluation. This model will be made available (open-source) so that it can be developed further and supported by the stakeholders; and
  • proof that a co-creation approach with the stakeholders works in the blue economy and is the best method to further develop such tools.

Partnership: HAEDES, BOVA ENVIRO+, Mantis Consulting and KBC Bank & Insurances.

With the support of: VLAIO (Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship)

Contact: Kristien Veys

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