Planner workshop – Bridging the Science-Practice-Society Interface 

On May 19, Michael Gilek, Fred Saunders and Ralph Tafon, Södertörn University, organized a workshop with focus on marine planners’ opportunities and challenges linked to marine sustainability.   

The aim of the workshop was to bridge barriers and locate spaces for building mutual understanding of different needs and ambitions to foster greater collaboration. Representatives from Sweden and other countries around the Baltic Sea participated in the workshop. 

While several national differences were observed in term of, for example, which ministry/authority is tasked with the planning responsibility, several recurring challenges and opportunities were also identified. Notably, most of the planners had experienced challenging conflicts and disagreements between various sectoral and policy interests and objectives (e.g. energy, shipping, defence, nature protection). Balancing local vs. national priorities and interests was also a commonly mentioned difficulty. 

Although there was general agreement that marine conflicts are not always easily solvable, the participants identified collaboration between planners and researchers as a crucial element of further developing marine planning practice and research.