Knowledge Exchange on Social Sustainability in Marine Spatial Planning

In February 2024, two members of the OCEANS PACT team at Södertörn University visited Havs- och vattenmyndigheten (The Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management) in Göteborg, Sweden. There, they participated in a workshop with the theme of ocean conflicts and marine planning. The purpose of the workshop was to exchange experiences and knowledge, and to discuss future possibilities in research and marine planning.

Ralph Tafon and Michael Gilek from Södertörn University, presented some experiences and lessons from recent research in Estonia. Kira Gee, from Helmholtz Zentrum Hereon (Institute of Coastal Systems - Analysis and Modeling) provided a presentation on "how social impacts and justice are reflected in current generation marine spatial plans". Maria Göthberg from SwAM (the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management) presented experiences and lessons from SwAM's current international work related to social justice and equity in marine spatial planning. The workshop participants engaged in discussions concerning gender, poverty, and social sustainability as they relate to marine spatial planning, as well as how certain case studies in Africa can be learned from regarding their approach to socially and ecologically sustainable spatial planning.

As a next step born out of this workshop, some of those who had been involved in this dialogue now plan to send out a survey to marine spatial planners around Europe to learn more about how ocean conflicts appear and are handled at the spatial planning level.