Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

SFS Report Summary

Project ID: 289066
Funded under: FP7-SIS
Country: France

Final Report Summary - SFS (Sea For Society)

Executive Summary:
Sea for Society (SFS) engaged stakeholders, citizens and young people in an open and participatory dialogue to share knowledge, forge partnerships and empower society on issues related to the Ocean. The project used this dialogue as a launchpad for strategic cooperation, while developing and enriching the concept of the "Blue Society", a vision for how Ocean issues can be integrated within economic, environmental and cultural challenges facing society in years to come. SFS was a European Mobilisation and Mutual Learning Action Plan (MMLAP) funded by the European Commission’s DG Research & Innovation under the theme Science in Society. The multidisciplinary partnership brought together 28 partners from 12 countries representing marine research institutes, funding agencies, science museums and aquaria, CSOs, higher education institutes and business networks.

537 citizens and stakeholders consulted face-to-face
270 000 citizens exposed directly to the SFS activities
3 000 000 citizens exposed indirectly to the SFS messages
160 SFS activities throughout Europe
300 activities disseminating Sea for Society
1870 people signing of the Blue Society Citizens’ Promise
46 key stakeholders signing the Blue Society Commitment
4 meetings of the Blue Society Expert Group

This dialogue began with thorough multi-stakeholder and citizen consultation on ocean issues in Europe.
Following initial research, the Sea for Society team developed a cutting-edge methodology and implemented a full-scale consultation process across 9 countries. The data was compiled and analysed in a series of reports feeding into the mobilisation process, drawing up action plans using the insight gained in the consultation.
SFS then went on to mobilise marine researchers, socio-economic stakeholders, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and individual citizens and youth in a mutual learning, open dialogue to debate key societal questions related to the Ocean, extract cross-cutting issues and propose challenge-driven solutions fostering a sustainable management of marine eco-system services by European citizens.
From 2012 to 2015, SFS shaped the new concept of "Blue Society" and worked to improve the governance of research related to the oceans and seas, overseen by a Blue Society Expert Group which was launched and managed throughout the project. Communication was a key element, building up to a final event launching the Blue Society concept at the European Parliament.
Sea for Society represented a crucial first step for a cross-sectoral dialogue in Europe on the relation between the Ocean and citizens’ daily lives, with a wide-reaching impact far beyond the 42 months of the project. It laid foundations for future co-creation processes in support of responsible research and innovation for societal and marine challenges, for Blue Growth, and for making the Blue Society a reality.

Project Context and Objectives:
The overall objective of the Sea for Society partnership was to involve and raise awareness among researchers, policy makers, economic actors and civil society, citizens and young people, through dialogue, mutual learning and joint action in a new way of understanding the sea and the ocean, following the “Blue Society” vision. This vision, which was developed throughout the cooperation, focuses on combining the will and need for progress, while respecting the sustainability of marine resources.

To support this overall objective, five primary objectives were defined as follows:
1 – To gather different actors (researchers, socio-economic stakeholders, civil society organizations) with complementary knowledge and experiences to forge new partnerships using a participatory approach resulting in Public Engagement in Research.
2 – To set up a consultation process across Europe to facilitate dialogue and cooperation among different stakeholders and with citizens/youth to contribute to the research process and develop collective efforts to address key challenges.
3 – To share the co-authored knowledge arising from the Consultation Process broadly and effectively in order to empower actors and citizens to take action and tackle the societal challenges identified.
4 – To develop and enrich the concept of Blue Society as a basis for better governance of the oceans in the future and disseminate this concept towards RD governance, industries and decision makers.
5 – To sustain the process developed in the project to create an on-going mechanism for partnership, interaction, public research engagement and empowerment actions to address marine societal challenges.

During the first stage of the MMLAP, the SFS consortium also developed a clearer vision related to the expected outcomes of Sea for Society. These can be defined as follows:
1. Concrete proposals for research and governance issues relating to the sea, co-developed with civil society, to be submitted to DG Research & Innovation and European institutions as part of the Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) process;
2. A new version of the Blue Society concept, its themes and its action areas, developed on a European level;
3. Preparations in place for a long-term platform and alliance as the starting point of a concrete European implementation of the Blue Society concept linked to other initiatives;
4. Fostering of public participation on ocean matters.

More specifically, the expected outcomes of the Consultation Process were defined as follows:
• An understanding of the general public and stakeholders’ goals and expectations with respect to the six key themes
• An enrichment of ideas through debate and cross-fertilization
• Concrete proposals which feed into the RRI process and maritime governance
• Further stakeholder and citizen engagement towards mobilisation

In terms of the work of the Blue Society Expert Group, the expected outcomes were defined as follows:
• A deeper definition of the Blue Society concept and its key principles based in particular on the results of the consultation outcomes
• A definition of the Blue Society concept at the European level
• A summary of ideas for further research and governance proposals for a Blue Society

Moving from the Consultation to Mobilisation phase of the project, the expected outcomes were:
• A selected focus theme for the mobilisation actions “Linking ocean, human health and well-being ”
• A sense of involvement and participation in the Blue Society initiative among project partners, participants in the consultation and the general public
• Mobilisation of resources and partner networks
• Inspiration of new partnerships among researchers, policymakers, businesses, stakeholders and media
• Tangible results with regard to the joint actions in terms of numbers of mobilized target groups, activities, tools, publications, and events
• Engagement of the general public

Finally, the launch of the Blue Society concept at the end of the MMLAP had the following expected outcomes associated with it:
• A shared vision of the Blue Society
• A platform and alliance in place, with an agreement on the future action needed to develop and disseminate the concept
• Clear and agreed proposals for research and governance objectives
• DG Research & Innovation and other key institutional stakeholders on board
• Goals defined regarding post-project continuity
• Insights and refinement of a participatory ocean governance model

Project Results:
Sea for Society succeeded not only in engaging citizens and stakeholders in dialogue on the Ocean, but also in mobilising them and feeding into the Blue Society concept, resulting in concrete outcomes across Europe on many levels. We can look at these results first in terms of the consultation, the Blue Society vision, stakeholder and citizen engagement and the mobilisation activities.

1 Consultation
The scale of the Sea for Society consultation process was ground-breaking, engaging 537 individuals face-to-face in lengthy consultations in 9 countries in Europe – never before had stakeholders and citizens been engaged in dialogue on Ocean topics across Europe in this way. The outcomes of the consultations were unique and innovative because they presented, for the first time, a comprehensive and complex picture of the challenges for a Blue Society.
A Consultation Process was designed and undertaken to engage stakeholders (those directly and indirectly dependent upon the sea for their livelihoods) and Citizen-Youth (private citizens between the ages of 18 – 25 whose livelihoods did not depend on the Sea). This consultation employed the methodology of ‘Collective Intelligence’ – a collaborative process to help groups in dealing effectively with complex issues such as the barriers and opportunities associated with sustainable marine ecosystems. The trigger question was: “What are the barriers to a sustainable marine ecosystem in relation to each of the following six themes associated with benefits from the Sea?” These themes included the sea as: 1) a Place to Live, 2) a Source of Food, 3) a Means of Transport, 4) a Source of Energy, 5) Support for Human Health, 6) a Place for Leisure and Tourism.
A total of 16 stakeholder and 16 Citizen-Youth consultations were carried out across Europe involving 249 participants in the Stakeholders consultations and 288 in the Citizens-Youth consultations. In the Citizen-Youth consultations, a total of 778 benefits of a healthy marine ecosystem and a further 776 additional ideas were identified and noted as valuable public opinion. The more specialised stakeholder consultations resulted in 774 barrier statements to a sustainable marine ecosystem and 653 options to overcome these barriers, which were then analysed in detail.
Analysis of the results of the stakeholder consultations has revealed that the Barrier Theme ‘Attitudes and Awareness’ (defined as ‘unfounded attitudes and lack of awareness of marine issues’) is perceived as the single biggest obstacle to a sustainable marine ecosystem, both for the EU as a whole and across different EU regions.
The second most influential Barrier Themes identified by stakeholders are ‘Governance and Strategy’ (defined as ‘responsible institutional framework strategies, policy and research for marine ecosystems’) and ‘Knowledge’ (defined as ‘inadequate scientific and general public knowledge’). The overall result is a ‘hierarchy of Barrier Themes’ which allowed the project to identify the ‘Cross Cutting Challenge’ – that is, the effort required to overcome the most influential Barrier Theme in the most effective way and, in turn, help to overcome all the Barriers below it in the hierarchy. Therefore the most important ‘Blue Society Challenge’ for the Sea for Society Project was to ‘Change Attitudes’ and ‘Improve Awareness’ around the issue of marine ecosystem services.

2 Blue Society Concept
Sea for Society launched and coordinated the work of a multistakeholder Blue Society Expert Group who analysed the outcomes of the consultation and mobilization phases of the project and developed and enriched the Blue Society concept as a basis for improved ocean governance and renewed maritime research policy.
Project partners worked to define the key principles of the Blue Society, drawing on the results of the consultation process and the input of the Blue Society Experts, providing a series of recommendations for making the Blue Society vision a reality. The overarching principle of the concept is common responsibility, common heritage, underlining the importance of the Ocean as a commonly shared resource requiring collective management by all. This thinking has provided the backdrop for the five interrelated Blue Society goals; i) Knowledge-based & Innovative Approach; ii) Integrated Policies; iii) Effective Enforcement; iv) Partnerships and Collaboration; and v) Education and Outreach. The need to take a knowledge-based and innovative approach is necessary in order to better understand the complexity of the Ocean, and the impacts on Ocean functions. Integrated policies are needed as many sectors are still fragmented. Effective enforcement and new technology will be vital. Partnership and collaboration, as well as education and outreach are essential in order to reach a Blue Society.

3 Mobilisation
A great deal of data was produced by the consultation process, and the analysis stage allowed the planning of the mobilisation phase to take advantage of this data, making sure it was fully understood and taken account of. A selection was made for cross-cutting Blue Society Challenge: “Linking Ocean, human health and well-being”; as well as messages to be defined and prioritised by target group and actions to take place on national and European level. Three strands of message and action were defined: Share information, Take initiative, and Lobby. The strands aim to address the main barriers identified during the Consultation Phase: Unfounded Attitudes, Lack of Awareness and Insufficient Governance. The strategy addressed five target groups: Citizens, Youth, Business Sector, Researchers, and Policy Makers. Resources and tools were selected, tailored and circulated in the form of a complete reference guide, together with training via Sea Academy events and a specially produced web series of animated films, quiz and Blue Society Charters in order for Area Leaders to be able to draw up their own National Action Plans and lead their Area Teams.
Mobilisation took place across a total of 12 countries, in 11 languages, resulting in 160 activities in Europe between April 2014 and November 2015. The 22 defined types of mobilisation activities actively engaged more than 270 000 people Europe-wide. It is estimated that more than 3 million have been made aware of the Blue Society concept by Sea for Society’s mobilisation phase either directly or indirectly, and this impact continues.
The mobilisation activities came in a range of types: International conferences, Contests, National conferences, Exhibitions, National workshops, Trainings, International workshops, Open days, Science and Sea festivals, Think Tanks, Blue Cafés, Blue Talks, Blue Bars, Blue Weeks, A “day with” / a “night with”, Webinars, European Parliament Intergroup Event, Lectures, Beach clean activities, Social media posts, Book publishing. Project partners invested the most resources and time in conference-type activities: (conferences, workshops, festivals, Blue Talks and “A day with...”), reflecting the aims of the mobilisation in terms of real engagement and bringing together multiple stakeholder groups. The mobilisation did not only roll out this engagement nationally, but continued the momentum of the project’s synergies on a European and international level. Of the 159 activities, 47 activities had a European or international dimension while 112 had a national focus.
A number of the European mobilisation activities were particularly impactful. The Citizens’ Promise and Stakeholder Commitment were documents drawn up by the partnership with input from the Blue Society Expert Group and the outcomes of the consultation and mobilisation phase which encouraged private individuals and relevant organisations to sign up to adhere to the Blue Society vision, gathering thousands of signatures in the space of a few months, and set to continue to grow. The Blue Society Photo Contest attracted over 900 entries, representing significant engagement from citizens across Europe and beyond, and the winning submissions in the six Sea for Society categories were displayed at the Blue Society Launch Event. Blue Cafés were held across Europe for World Ocean Day, giving the Sea for Society format a European impact for this event.

4 Blue Society Launch Event
The Blue Society Launch Event was a platform through which to promote the Blue Society Concept and to communicate the activities undertaken during SFS. The launch was aimed at policy makers, government officials, business people, the scientific community, and civil society in general. Three events were held as part of the Blue Society Launch: the Blue Society European Youth Parliament, the Blue Society Expert Think Tank, and the Blue Society Parliamentary Event.
The Blue Society European Youth Parliament brought together eighteen young people from Portugal, Greece, Sweden, France, Ireland and Italy to discuss how they can contribute to building a Blue Society. The Blue Society Expert Think Tank saw the participation of 48 experts from across Europe, including Ireland, France, Greece, Portugal and the UK.
The Blue Society Photo Competition, organised to support the Blue Society Launch, attracted over 900 entries from all over the world, boosting traffic to the Blue Society Facebook page and other online outlets. A broad media campaign took place in support of the Blue Society Launch. Several journalists have indicated that they would write about the event in the coming months.
The Blue Society Parliamentary Event surpassed all expectations with 140 guests present at the meeting. These guests came from many different countries including: France, Portugal, Belgium, Greece, Spain, the UK, Poland and more. Three MEPs were represented at the event: MEP Ricardo Serrão Santos (present), MEP Ulrike Rodust (representative) and MEP Joachim Schuster (representative). Participants from the European Commission included representatives from DG RTD and DG MARE. The Blue Society Parliamentary Event was live streamed to the internet and attracted over 1000 viewers. Stakeholders showed their support by signing the Blue Society Stakeholder’s Commitment advocating the transition towards a Blue Society.

Potential Impact:
The impact of Sea for Society was always designed to outlive the project – the consultation and mobilisation phases forged partnerships that are now in motion and synergies which continue to be made under the umbrella of the Blue Society vision. This section first outlines the main results of the project, and then details the channels that have been and can continue to be engaged in order to maximise potential impacts, dissemination activities and exploitation of these results.

4.1 Main results

Sea for Society key outcomes, as detailed in Section 3 Results, can be grouped under the broad headings of Consultation, Blue Society Concept, Mobilisation, Management and Communication, and include:

Consultation key outcomes
• A comprehensive review on the state of the art of marine science research in each of the six subject areas covered by the Sea for Society project
• A 49-page report mapping stakeholders to be involved in the Consultation Process
• A document reviewing several major European public consultation exercises and surveys on marine and marine related subjects
• A full set of guidelines and methodologies for the Consultation Process, including a wealth of visual material and software
• Two training workshops on how to run the Consultation Process
• A complete plan of the full pan-European Consultation Process
• Six Issue Reports describing the results of the Consultation Process in full detail
• Analyses of the consultation phase from marine and social sciences perspectives resulting in an extensive collection of ideas for inclusive solutions to address Key Challenge 3 : marine resources, inland activities and sustainable development (FP7-SiS-2011-1; MMLAP)
• A leaflet, Consultations and Conversations, describing the consultation process and its outcomes

Blue Society concept key outcomes

• The launch of the Blue Society Expert Group, including experts of different nationalities from a range of sectors, including academia, science, policy makers, business, communications, fishing industry, aquaculture, NGOs and the arts
• A review of the State of the Art of the Blue Society concept
• Blue Society Concept Note and Blue Society Summary Report detailing the Blue Society concept in depth
• Blue Society Policy Brief providing recommendations to policymakers
• Citizen’s Promise signed by several thousand people and continuing
• Stakeholders’ Commitment signed by several large institutions and continuing

Mobilisation outcomes

• Pre-consensus and Consensus workshops that prepared the ground for the Mobilization phase
• Selection of the cross cutting challenge for a European Mobilization Action Plan “Linking ocean, human health and well-being”
• A European Mobilization Action Plan
• Sea Academy, a training event on how to run Mobilisation phase and the empowerment activities
• 16 National Action Plans for Mobilisation in 12 countries in 11 languages (about 128 activities)
• A set of guidelines, resources and tools for the Mobilisation phase including a web series, a quiz, two Blue Society Charters, sixteen activity sheets and a user’s guide
• Reports on the Mobilisation activities in 12 countries
• Analyses of the Mobilisation activities from social sciences and marine sciences perspectives
• Feedback from the Blue Society Expert Group on the Mobilisation activities
• 160 mobilisation activities engaging actively 270 000 and making aware 3 million stakeholders and citizens across Europe

Management and communication outcomes

• The launch of the Scientific Advisory Panel consisting of experts of different nationalities with different skills who advised the MMLAP
• A quality plan and process for the evaluation of Sea For Society
• Full external evaluation report and internal monitoring report detailing the project management.
• A communication plan, project branding and a wide range of SFS promotional materials
• The launch of the Communication Task Force consisting of partners and experts of Sea For Society
• A full set of reports on communication activities
• A SFS website with blogs in every language of the consortium
• A Blue Society Logo and slogan, a graphic charter, a Facebook page, a YouTube channel and a website.
• Six Blue Society animated films illustrating the Blue Society from the perspective of the six Sea for Society topics, each translated into all project languages
• A series of Blue Society films presenting the concept of the Blue Society through interviews with key stakeholders and visuals taken from across Europe
• The concept and selected winners of the Blue Society Photo Contest

4.2 Policy impact within and beyond H2020

A list of Sea for Society policy recommendations, topic by topic, in terms of:
- The extent to which they have been addressed within the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 framework programme within Work Programmes 2014-2015 and 2016-2017;
- The potential for these recommendations to be integrated within Horizon 2020 under the forthcoming Work Programme 2018-2020; and
- The potential for these recommendations to be integrated within future framework programmes beyond Horizon 2020.
These policy recommendations are drawn from the Sea for Society Stakeholder Consultation and the work of the Blue Society Expert Group who analysed the outcomes of the Stakeholder and Citizen/Youth consultations.
These recommendation covers :
• Education and Mobilisation
• Global Ocean Governance
• Partnerships and Collaboration
• Integrated Policies
• Knowledge-Based and Innovative Approach
• Effective Enforcement
• Research and Innovation
• Economy
• Management of Marine Space
• Natural and Cultural Capital

This list is detailled P11-14 of the attached document

4.3 Education and outreach

The project impact in terms of engaging citizens and young people has been particularly widespread thanks to project partners’ work on a national level. The education and outreach actions carried out by each Sea for Society institution in twelve countries across Europe will be sustained thanks to the commitment of project partners and the strategic way in which each has integrated Sea for Society tools and activities into their programme.
An additional element of the Sea for Society communication strategy focused on communication to a broader base and empowering all individuals to become Champions of the Blue Society. The Blue Society Citizen’s Promise is aimed at private individuals who could promote and spread the idea of a Blue Society. The Promise has already received several thousand signatures in the space of a few months.
The Youth Parliament event was a key mobilisation element linking the Sea for Society countries. The Blue Society European Youth Parliament brought together eighteen young people from Portugal, Greece, Sweden, France, Ireland and Italy to discuss how they can contribute to building a Blue Society. The outcome was read by the Irish participant at the European Parliament as part of the Blue Society Launch Event.
World Oceans Day was designated as a key mobilisation event in the Sea for Society agenda, and Blue Talks were organised across Europe on the occasion. Blue Talks are based on the TED Talk format: short, carefully prepared talks, demonstrations and performances that are idea-focused, on a wide range of Blue Society topics, to foster learning, inspiration and wonder. This provided a Sea for Society format with European impact, and the event is set to continue annually.
One key channel for the education and outreach activities of Sea for Society was through networks. The involvement of the World Ocean Network, Ecsite (the European Network of Science Centres and Museums) EBN (European Business and Innovation Centres network) and IUCN as well as their many sister networks of institutions active in public engagement on Ocean issues, has ensured a continued multiplying effect on project impact throughout Sea For Society and will continue to do so thanks to strong working relationships among these networks and their members.

4.4 Engaging stakeholders and decision makers
The stakeholder engagement communication strategy in Sea for Society focused on three specific elements:
1. Promotion of SFS at events attended by key players,
2. Involvement of well-known individuals in the promotion of SFS and the Blue Society,
3. Engaging organizations to become Champions of the Blue Society through making a formal commitment to uphold and promote the principles of the Blue Society.
These three channels have been well established throughout the 42 months of the project and can continue to be exploited beyond the project lifetime, continuing to increase Sea for Society’s impact.
SFS and the Blue Society were promoted at various key events targeting international multipliers who could go on to take the SFS messages to a broader European audience. At each event, visitors were encouraged to learn about the Blue Society either through taking the Blue Society quiz, through viewing the Blue Society films and through dialogue with members of the partnership. Ultimately, visitors were invited to take action by signing the Citizens’ Commitment.
The Blue Society Stakeholder Commitment was aimed at organisations, which through their professional activities, could promote and spread the idea of a Blue Society. This tool will continue to be promoted, ensuring institutions adhere to the Blue Society vision.
Mobilisation tools developed and implemented during the project will continue to be exploited on a European level as well as on national level. A good example of this is the Blue Society Think Tank concept, which has been established in France, Ireland and Portugal in various formats and will continue to operate and feed into the Blue Society concept, coordinated by the Sea for Society partner in each country.
As a result of this strategy, Sea for Society has obtained buy-in from stakeholders and decision- makers at local, national and European level. This has been evidenced through the scale of the attendance at the Blue Society Launch event, the project presence at COP21 and the IUCN World Congress and the synergies achieved with current Horizon 2020 projects such as Sea Change and Columbus. In terms of European decision- makers, the Maritime Resources and Bioeconomy units of the European Commission’s DG Research have both engaged with the project, as has Lowri Evans, Director General of the Commission’s DG for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, as well as contacts at DG MARE’s unit for Maritime policy Atlantic, outermost regions and Arctic. Project coordinator Philippe Vallette spoke at the DG MARE’s European Maritime Day 2014 and Sea for Society held a stand and specific session at the European Maritime Day 2015. The European Maritime Day in 2015 served as the first step in the Blue Society Launch Event, with various activities related to Sea for Society. Future synergies with policy seem very likely: the theme selected by Sea for Society partners for World Ocean Day at the last partnership meeting was microplastics and pollution, and this fits neatly with the European Commission’s and UNESCO’s plan to work on similar topics.
A final category of impact is that on the partnership itself. This impact was measured by NUI Galway in their analysis of the mobilisation activities. The findings from this work show that the project partnership has worked effectively to exploit the project outcomes, and suggest that this impact can continue to have significant effects beyond the project lifetime.

List of Websites:
www.seaforsociety.eu
www.bluesociety.org

Related information

Contact

Manuel CIRA, (Head of Cultural Services)
Tel.: +33321309993
Fax: +33321309394
E-mail
Record Number: 193601 / Last updated on: 2017-01-13
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