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Report on citizen engagement and concerns in the BANOS area with respect to sustainable blue economy

Mission Ocean, as part of the EU Horizon Europe set of ambitious Missions, strives to make the sustainable blue economy carbon-neutral and circular by 2030, whilst eliminating pollution and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity. Focused on the Baltic and North Sea Lighthouse, the BlueMissionBANOS project has as its ambition to inspire, engage, and support stakeholders across the region in taking positive action to reach the Mission Ocean objectives.

Strengthening the citizens’ emotional connection to the ocean and seas is an important part of the Mission Ocean objectives. It is in this framework that chapter 2 of this report presents a curated catalogue with initiatives across all levels of engagement, illustrating the width of opportunities for citizen engagement (CE) in the BANOS area. This mapping exercise not only considers ocean literacy and citizen science initiatives but also brings light to cultural and social networks. A selection of CE examples is highlighted in informative sheets to show the pros and cons, an estimate of the required budget, and a comprehensive description of these noteworthy projects.

Furthermore, to broaden our understanding of citizen engagement and concerns, Chapter 3 delves into the concerns of stakeholders, including citizens, revealed in the stakeholder consultation regarding Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP). Across the BANOS region, this chapter identifies stakeholder issues on the rapid, ongoing development of the sustainable, carbon-neutral and blue economy. In addition, selected case studies based on recent literature are included to illustrate sector-specific concerns. A schematic overview of the results, including the most common conflicts and concerns experienced by the BANOS MSP stakeholders, is presented.

To wrap up, the final chapter brings together the take-home messages from this report. Building successful public engagement requires adequate inclusion of all sectors as well as trust between stakeholders, making them key steps to boost the sustainable blue economy across the BANOS region. Furthermore, the most common concerns in the MSP process are presented together with key actions to overcome them. We invite you to get submerged into the public engagement sea and explore its role as enabler for bringing the blue economy forward.

Read the full publication here.

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