Workshop with the Brazilian team: Evaluating and reflecting on the co-production processes of OCEANS PACT in Brazil

The Brazilian OCEANS PACT team held a two-day workshop the 13th and 14th of November 2023, along with the local dialogue forum. The purpose of the workshop was to gather various actors involved in the Brazilian case, to present the findings of a recent research study, and to reflect and evaluate processes of knowledge co-production.

The first day of the workshop centered around a recent project, which examined conflict transformation related to small-scale fishing communities. The findings were presented, and the participants discussed challenges and barriers met thus far, as well as how they have been resolved or overcome.

The second day of the workshop focused on discussing and evaluating the group’s perspectives and experiences around the knowledge co-production processes used by the Brazilian team during the last 3 years of the OCEANS PACT project. Reflective questions were highlighted to spark discussion in a plenary session and small groups. This discussion provided several interesting and valuable perspectives. For instance, two aspects of co-producing in a meaningful and impactful way, according to the discussion participants, are 1) time, and 2) approaching the research collaboratively from the very beginning (i.e. co-designing the research questions together with the participants, rather than, for example, including participants once the research questions have already been defined). The group also described the communication between participants and researchers as having improved significantly over the course of the project, though language (and especially academic/scientific jargon) still creates barriers, jeopardizing transdisciplinarity.

The group also emphasized during these conversations that the efforts of the Brazilian OCEANS PACT team have helped significantly to transform the conflict over a fishing legislation, and that now, an innovative approach to managing and meeting different demands has been put into action.

This workshop brought together approximately 23 people which included key actors in the Brazilian case study, such as community leader Joyce Cardoso, representatives of the NGO Linha d’gua Institute, Brazilian academics and researchers, and the managers of three marine protected areas (Marine Environmental Protection Areas of the northern, central, and southern regions of São Paulo state).