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Collaborative lAnd Sea inTegration pLatform

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - COASTAL (Collaborative lAnd Sea inTegration pLatform)

Reporting period: 2019-11-01 to 2021-04-30

COASTAL contributes to improved alignment of rural, coastal and marine policy, fostering sustainable regional development and minimizing the environmental impacts (with special focus on water quality) of activities. The need for such an integrated coastal-rural policy is explicitly mentioned in the EU Maritime Spatial Planning Directive while integrated and long-term approaches, as laid out in the EU Common Agricultural Policy are needed to fully exploit the potential of Rural Development and Blue Growth. In addition, existing research still primarily addresses issues from either a coastal- or rural-based perspective, making policy recommendations ill-adapted to support 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 in a cross-disciplinary manner.

The project brings coastal and rural economic operators, stakeholders and administrations together to develop practical market opportunities, business road maps and policy strategies. The overarching objective of COASTAL is to improve the rural-coastal synergies in strategic planning and decision making and support collaboration between coastal and rural actors. This will be achieved by developing, demonstrating and applying a generic toolset and key 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 actions 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.
Six case studies or Multi-Actor Labs (MALs) in Spain, France, Belgium, Sweden, Romania and Greece addressed 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. In 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 the fall of 2018 and spring of 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, and spatial planning. The co-creation sessions were successful in identifying and prioritizing problems and opportunities from the perspective of the stakeholder participants. During the second reporting period the activities of the six MALs shifted towards consolidating the design of their operational land-sea models, the formulation of consistent scenarios for drivers of change, and the formulation of policy & business road maps. In total fourteen models were developed for themes ranging from coastal tourism, water management and eutrophication, eco farming and decommissioning of offshore wind parks to shellfish farming. The quantification of systemic interactions is based on peer-reviewed published and reported data and modelling approaches, expert judgement and field samples obtained as part of the project. All fourteen models address land-sea interactions and capture socio-environmental interactions which were identified during the first reporting period and considered relevant from a land-sea integration perspective, though with different MAL-specific problem scopes. The model and data inventory was updated and aligned with the priorities identified for the operational models. In a second round of multi-actor workshops stakeholders and local experts interacted with the project partners to discuss the model structure and policy relevance, and formulate concrete policy actions as part of integrated business road maps and policy guidelines towards land-sea synergy.
COASTAL supports strategic coastal-rural planning by problem-driven engagement of stakeholders, including administrations, NGOs and business entrepreneurs. These interact to identify problems and opportunities, design mental models for holistic solutions, and test scientific concepts. What makes COASTAL different is the processing into evidence-based policy models, increasing the practical value business and policy recommendations. A well-balanced combination of tools is used to take the short- and long-term impacts of policy decisions and business investments on coastal and rural development into account. The following impacts are expected from the project:

- development of a transferable set of tools and indicators allowing the quantitative and qualitative description of a wide variety of economic, environmental and social land-sea interactions;
- a thorough understanding of the factors (barriers and motivators) influencing behavior and solutions to enable joint actions
- results are expected to contribute to the long-term improvement of sea water quality combined with the creation of added value and jobs in coastal areas and hinterland
- increased potential for job and added-value creation in coastal and rural areas by identification of new business opportunities;
- reduced negative and improved positive externalities from land-based activities in the regional hinterland on sea-based activities and from sea-based on land-based activities thanks to better economic cooperation and integrated governance
- creation of longer-term relationships between coastal-rural areas serving as European flagships for rural-coastal synergies and ensuring longer and wider dissemination

The project outcomes, consisting of local and expert knowledge, tools and a EU-wide network of Multi-Actor Labs will be generic and further developed beyond the project duration. This will help integrate existing rural and coastal development directives and exploit fragmented local and scientific knowledge to the maximum extent possible. The ultimate ambition of COASTAL is to contribute to the development of new harmonized policy guidelines at the regional, national and EU level.
Geographical distribution of the six Multi-Actor Labs (case studies).
Interaction of work packages and project workflow