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Collaborative lAnd Sea inTegration pLatform

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - COASTAL (Collaborative lAnd Sea inTegration pLatform)

Reporting period: 2018-05-01 to 2019-10-31

The COASTAL project wants to make a contribution to a better alignment of rural and marine policy, based on sustainable economy and employment, and minimalization of the environmental impact (with special focus on water quality) of rural and marine activities. The need for such an integrated policy emerges from both the marine and rural EU policies. The Maritime Spatial Planning Directive explicitly refers to the need to account for land-sea interactions (e.g. for addressing nutrient loads). Integrated and long-term approaches, as laid out in the Common Agricultural Policy, are therefore needed, if both Rural Development and Blue Growth potentials are to be achieved. Existing research and policy still primarily address issues from either a coastal- or rural-based perspective, making it ill-adapted to support effective land-sea integration at the local, regional and macro-regional scale. As a result, rural and coastal development does not yet fully benefit from the local and scientific knowledge and expertise.

The COASTAL project brings coastal and rural economic operators, stakeholders and administrations together to develop practical market opportunities and policy solutions. The overarching objective of COASTAL is to improve the rural-coastal synergies in strategic business and policy decision making and collaboration between coastal and rural actors. This will be achieved by developing, demonstrating and applying a generic toolset and performance indicators by combining a multi-actor approach with system dynamics modelling. This allows us to understand the interactions with market, demographic, environmental and climate forecasts, and quantify the positive and negative externalities. COASTAL has six specific objectives:

- engage local and regional business entrepreneurs, administrations, stakeholders, and scientific experts in a multi-actor process for knowledge exchange
- quantify the physical, socio-economic and environmental coastal-rural interactions in the six representative case studies, based on available data and models, and make this knowledge applicable in a System Dynamics framework for policy analysis and business support
- derive practical business road maps and policy guidelines aimed at improving coastal-rural synergies and development
- develop, validate and apply generic, qualitative and quantitative tools for evaluating and comparing business and policy solutions
- deliver scenarios to explore the driving conditions and transition pathways that explore barriers and motivators for coastal and rural development, which can be transferred to other regions of Europe
- disseminate and exploit the project outcomes to local, regional, national, European levels, including global conservation and development networks.

The main project outcomes are:

• evidence-based business road maps and policy guidelines with measurable results and performance indicators
• an online platform for land-sea knowledge exchange between knowledge institutes, practitioners and stakeholders
• intuitive and innovative tools demonstrating the added value of improved land-sea collaboration and the proposed solutions
COASTAL started in May 2018, the project has a duration of 4 years and is coordinated by the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO NV) in Belgium. Six Multi-Actor Labs (MALs) - case studies in Spain, France, Belgium, Sweden, Romania and Greece address land-sea interactions in a collaboration of 29 coastal and rural partners representing the farming sector, offshore (blue) industry, the tourism sector, environmental agencies and water agencies, as well as knowledge partners. During the first Reporting Period the focus was with the planning and implementation of multi-actor exchanges, and processing of results into quantified system models.

During fall 2018 and spring 2019 each Multi-Actor Lab organized six thematic co-creation sessions with stakeholders, business representatives and administration; themes included agriculture, water management, offshore industry, tourism, nature and environment, fisheries and aquaculture, spatial planning, …. The co-creation sessions were successful in identifying and prioritizing problems and opportunities from the perspective of the stakeholder participants. The 36 resulting mind maps were reported as a project deliverable. In a next stage we organized for each MAL one intersectoral multi-actor workshop to integrate the coastal and rural perspectives. This resulted in one causal loop diagram for the land-sea interactions in each MAL.
The project is strongly problem-driven with stakeholders, administrations and business entrepreneurs interacting to identify problems and opportunities, design of graphical models to examine solutions, and testing of model concepts. Interactive brainstorming sessions resulted in ‘mind maps’, graphical models capturing the combined understanding of the participants. What makes COASTAL different is the processing of these mind maps into quantified models, useful for evidence-based business and policy recommendations. A well-balanced combination of qualitative and quantitative tools is used to take the short-, mid- and long-term impacts of policy decisions and business investments on coastal and rural development into consideration.

The ambition of COASTAL is to inspire long-term, strategic planning of coastal-rural systems and contribute to the development of new harmonised guidelines at the regional, national, and EU level. These should integrate the existing rural and coastal development directives and exploit the currently fragmented local and scientific knowledge to the maximum extent possible. The project outcomes, consisting of local and expert knowledge, tools and network of Multi-Actor will be developed in such a way that these are generic and can be sustained beyond the project duration. COASTAL will significantly contribute to the coastal-rural synergy, improving the quality of EU coastal waters, increasing job potential and fostering regional development of coastal and rural areas due to the expertise developed and exchange.
Geographical distribution of the six Multi-Actor Labs (case studies).
Interaction of work packages and project workflow