Ocean Governance for sustainability workshop | 6-8 March 2017 | Bremen, Germany

Ocean Governance for Sustainability workshop | 6-8 March 2017 | Bremen, Germany


Ocean Governance for Sustainability workshop | 6-8 March 2017 | Bremen, Germany | by Shona Paterson

Fighting clever: extreme governance

Oceans, seas and coastlines within regional waters, and the high seas. These spaces are all biologically, culturally, politically and socio-economically entwined. They also provide essential services and yet are vulnerable to human impacts. Governing these complex environments has never been an easy task. Notwithstanding the decided liquid nature of water and the inability for fish to observe man-drawn boundaries, there is the verticality of space and a need for layered regulations that confounds many attempts to impose terrestrially contrived solutions upon it.

In to the complex and contested arena steps a new prize-fighter, sustainability as their purpose in life, innovation on the brain, and partnerships as their driving force. This beast means business!

In this case, our fighter comes in the form of a new EU-Cost Action: Ocean Governance for Sustainability – challenges, options and the role of science. European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) is a long running intergovernmental framework for cooperation offering scientists across career stages the opportunity to embark upon bottom-up, multidisciplinary cooperation.

Science policy panel at the Ubersee museum

The first outing for our EU Governance champion was in Bremen, Germany between the 6-8th of March, 2017, hosted by ZMT. Drawing together scientists from a wide range of disciplinary and technical backgrounds, presentations encompassing seven major themes were delivered, a public science-policy discussion at the Uberseemuseum was led by Lutz Möller, Deputy Secretary-General, German Commission for UNESCO, and working group round tables were also convened. The seven overarching conference themes were:

  • Nutrition security and food systems. A security perspective
  • Ocean climate and acidification
  • Land-sea interactions
  • Area-based management.
  • Managing the seabed. Governing resources at depth
  • Ocean governance theory
  • Fisheries governance under a ‘Blue Growth’-paradigm

We delivered a presentation on Determining sustainability options for coastal zones highlighting the importance of the SDG’s. Workshop participants were also treated to three keynote presentations: i) “UNCLOS: its origins, implementation and challenges” by Awni Behnam, Hon. President International Ocean Institute, Fmr. UN Assistant Secretary General, ii) “Spatalisation of oceaning spaces” by Kimberley Peters, University of Liverpool, and iii) “Lessons learned from two decades of integrated coastal management in the East Asian Seas Region” by Chua Thia-Eng, Chair Emeritus of the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia, PEMSEA.

Ultimately, the Ocean Governance network aims to establish an integrative vision, and a series of approaches that informs research and future policy directions on crosscutting ocean sustainability-driven issues. This workshop was an important first step in that journey and we at FEC are committed to assisting in the journey as much as possible. The next big event for the network will centre around the Our Ocean meeting in Malta in October, 2017. Watch this space for more information about this network and its achievements soon.

Governance experts & researchers from across Europe