The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) is a Federal Scientific Institute developing science-based activities and coordinating the national monitoring of the marine environment and human activities in support of national and international policy in a wide range of areas. As governmental research organization, RBINS provides scientific advice to national, regional sea and the EU level decision-making processes. Areas of expertise include biology, ecology, sedimentology and nature and biodiversity conservation and restoration, but also mathematical modelling of marine processes, remote sensing, and aerial surveillance. The marine activities are concentrated in the Operational Directorate Natural environment (OD Nature), of which the Marine Ecology and Management team (MARECO) has a specific expertise on marine conservation, marine mammals and seabirds, hard substrate benthic fauna, invasive species, and underwater sound, embedded in an ecosystem management context. As coordinator of the BLUE4ALL project, MARECO will be responsible for project coordination and management in addition to contributing to nearly every individual task. MARECO will be the main point of contact for three of the information sites and two of the living labs that will respectively inform and validate the Blueprints for co-created effective, efficient and resilient networks of MPAs.
CMCC will develop a BLUE4ALL Blueprint Platform that will integrate findings into user-friendly guidance for effective, efficient, resilient MPAs and networks. CMCC will develop a web platform to integrate the relevant tools and information with stakeholders. CMCC will produce a booklet by synthesizing a series of focus solutions for the implementation of conservation and development activities for MPAs and MPA networks. The Blueprint Platform will be tested for its workability with stakeholders and will be adapted to their needs, where needed.
CMC will create the projectÕs visual identity, and co-conduct activities to maximize the projectÕs visibility and raise awareness of relevant stakeholders and society at large. It will disseminate project outputs and facilitate interactions via an MPA Network Knowledge Transfer Platform and BLUE4ALL Blueprint Platform demo session to address multiple target audiences and ensure effective uptake of relevant project outputs.
The SUBMARINER Network for Blue Growth promotes sustainable and innovative uses of marine resources. The network is a hub for projects, initiatives and activities at all levels.
SUBMARINER offers a cooperation platform to related actors and initiatives in the Baltic Sea Region with the aim to turn the Baltic Sea Region into a model region for sustainable blue bio-based innovations and smart combinations. The Submariner Network acts as an umbrella organisation and initiates partnerships and the project development; it brings together a unique variety of institutions representing national and regional authorities, research institutions, business associations and consulting companies from all Baltic Sea Region countries all involved in promoting combined and sustainable blue economy solutions.
In BLUE4ALL, SUBMARINER coordinates communication, dissemination and exploitation activities, and supports the Lead Partner in the project coordination. SUBMARINER is also responsible for the development of the BLUE4ALL Replicable business and finance models for MPA management and network design and contributes to other work packages.
The Marine Ecology & Ocean Mission group at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) has over a decade experience on nature-based solutions, habitat and biodiversity conservation and ecosystem restoration, especially focused on highly impacted coastal habitats such as seagrasses and coastal shallow areas. SDU works in close contact with environmental and coastal authorities, as well as NGOs, practitioners, and end-users to co-designing active restoration and conservation approaches to increase biodiversity and the delivery of ecosystem services. SDU is coordinating several coastal restoration projects spanning from seagrass transplantation, implementation of blue mussels and stone reefs to managed realignment of coastal shorelines. SDU is part of the Danish National Center for Marine Restoration with the goal of coordinating national efforts on ecosystem restoration.
In Blue4all SDU deals with co-designing solutions for MPAs, facilitating one living lab at the Danish Wadden Sea and one information site at Gyldensteen Coastal Lagoon. The Danish Wadden Sea represents an area with several national and international conservation measures, which still allows for use such as tourism and fisheries activities. While the latter offers a great example of a strictly protected area with recreational activities. In Blue4All, we will investigate how to expand MPAs using both approaches, as well as exploring opportunities to increase the protection level of national nature parks.
The Finnish Environment Institute (Syke) is the research and development centre of the Finnish environmental administration. Syke’s overall strategic goal to support the sustainability transformation. The institute covers a broad range of environmental issues from terrestrial to marine ecosystems and from urban to rural areas. Our experts provide independent information and insight on global phenomena such as climate change, biodiversity loss, overconsumption, pollution and eutrophication. To mitigate the impacts of these phenomena, we promote new approaches for reaching a good state of the seas and inland waters, and for achieving sustainable use of natural resources. Co-operation with partners is a prerequisite for our success, therefore we bring our environmental expertise in projects such as BLUE4ALL, and in national and international networks.
In BLUE4ALL Syke leads the WP2 that develops social, economic and policy solutions for marine biodiversity conservation. Syke takes part also in the project activities related to ecosystem services mapping and valuation as well as contributes to overall project activities to ensure policy-relevant results.
The University of Antwerp, located in Belgium, is a young, dynamic and forward-thinking university. It integrates the assets of its historic roots with its ambition to contribute positively to society. Within BLUE4ALL, the department of Engineering Management is involved, which is part of the Faculty of Business and Economics of the University of Antwerp. The international accreditations that the faculty has received from AACSB and EFMD testify to the high quality of its education and research. The environmental economics (EnvEcon) research group, led by Prof. Steven Van Passel and prof. Tine Compernolle, and part of the department of Engineering Management, studies the interactions among human and earth systems within organizational contexts. The research team of about 50 researcher has an excellent track-record with over 200 WoS peer-reviewed publications, and collaborations with academic, industrial, and governmental partners in national and international projects (such as Horizon 2020 TransformAr (lead partner), Horizon Europe PATTERN, and Interreg Nature Smart Cities) and well received educational trainings on master and PhD level. Within this project, Prof. dr. Tine Compernolle together with dr. Sophie Van Schoubroeck and Wito Van Oijstaeijen will deploy their expertise on the valuation of ecosystem services to the marine environment.
University College Dublin (UCD) is one of Europe's leading research-intensive universities and is the largest in Ireland. It has over 30,000 students drawn from 136 countries and is ranked within the top 1% of higher education institutions world-wide. Since 2009/10 UCD researchers have secured over €1 billion in such grants and has extensive experience of participation and coordination in successive EU Framework Programmes. UCD’s Earth Institute supports a culture of interdisciplinarity for its 300+ members and associate members, enabling comprehensive solutions to sustainability challenges.
The UCD researchers involved in Blue4All chaired and contributed to an MPA expert advisory group that produced recommendations in 2020 to guide the expansion of Ireland’s network of MPAs. The report and extensive public consultation formed the basis for a Bill now before the parliament – called the Oireachtas in Ireland. It is envisaged that legislation will be in place in Q4 2023 and structures and processes will be established, strongly incorporating the top-down bottom-up participatory approach central to this project. That network expansion process is one of the living labs in Blue4All, which will include participation by staff of the Department of Housing Local Government and Heritage who are responsible for it and the management of existing MPAs designated under the Natura directives.
The main research topics of the Laboratory of Ecology of the University of Palermo (Department of Earth and Marine Sciences, Italy) focus on the study of the effect of climate and human action on the environment and how it manifests itself in terms of altering the structure and functioning of ecosystems, with changes affecting (i) rates of synthesis and production of biological structures, (ii) energy and matter flows, (iii) population and community processes and thus, (iv) biodiversity. Great emphasis in the Laboratory of Ecology is placed on both theoretical and applied scientific research through continuous experimentation with new methodologies and technologies for the study of natural systems. The research conducted produces a significant impact on the world of research at an international level, as demonstrated by a wide and varied scientific publication in international journals. Such research also contributes to making Laboratory of Ecology a reference structure on a local scale for external public institutions (e.g. regional and municipal authorities) as well as private entities and contribute actively to the decision-making and marine biodiversity conservation.
The Estonian Marine Institute of the University of Tartu (UTARTU) is the leading marine research institution in Estonia with decades of experience in studying marine biodiversity and ecosystems from an interdisciplinary perspective. UTARTU integrates monitoring, experimental and numerical/statistical approaches to investigate ecological and environmental phenomena across biological, spatial and temporal scales, and their dynamics under different global change scenarios. The generated knowledge is integrated into sophisticated but easy-to-use decision support tools developed by UTARTU in tight collaboration with local, national and regional authorities and practitioners, and applied to inform MPA and MSP processes.
Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) promotes marine knowledge creation and excellence through interdisciplinary research about the ocean, seas, coasts and tidal estuaries. This is done in close collaboration with other (marine) research groups, citizens, policy makers and industrial partners in Flanders, Belgium, and through international collaboration. VLIZ has extensive experience in developing products and knowledge relevant to the Blue4All project, such as data management and the development of geographic data systems by the VLIZ Marine Data Centre, the engagement at the science-policy-industry interface by the Policy and Innovation division, the analysis of stressors on the health of the marine ecosystems by the research department and setting up scientific orientated customized project websites, tailored to fit user needs by the IT division.
In the Blue4All project, VLIZ is responsible for the state-of-the-art knowledge needed to underpin the Living Labs and blueprint development. Specifically, VLIZ will lead the mapping of relevant institutional frameworks for MPAs, MPA networks and OECMS currently at play at different geographical levels. Moreover, VLIZ will contribute to both the development of the Blueprint platform and the Blue4All website. The institute also contributes to the inventory, development and operationalisation of science-based tools and methods for valuating ecosystem services.
WWF’s mission is to build a future in which people and nature thrive. As a science-based, civil society organization, its priority is to restore biodiversity, to reduce humanity’s environmental footprint; and to ensure the sustainable use of natural resources to support current and future generations. As part of the WWF global network, WWF Adria was officially established in 2015 to work on the sustainable management of water resources, forests and protected areas, and the conservation of the sea, rivers and wildlife. WWF Adria is covering Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia.
Within the Blue4All project WWF Adria is leading the process of testing the tools and practices in the Living Labs through coordination of the knowledge base gathering in project information sites, as well as the optimization of the blueprint tailoring process in the Living Labs and improvement of the conservation and socio-economic outputs of the Living Labs through actual in situ co-creation and validation of socio-economic, governance, ecological and environmental tools. In order to enhance the bottom-up approach in management of Living Labs WWF Adria will work on improvement of stakeholder needs assessments to effectively manage their expectations from co-management processes.
What is HELCOM?
By their nature, many environmental problems transcend political, legal and other anthropogenic boundaries, and thus cannot be adequately solved by individual countries alone. Regional Seas Conventions (RSCs) such as the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area (signed in 1974 and updated in 1992), establish legal frameworks for necessary transboundary cooperation. The Helsinki Commission (HELCOM), is an intergovernmental body composed of the nine Baltic Sea coastal states and the EU, and functions as the governing body of the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area. HELCOM functions as a regional platform for cooperation with a broad spatial and sectoral reach, working with biodiversity and protection, shipping, fisheries management, maritime spatial planning (MSP), pressures from both land- and sea-based activities and regional governance. Furthermore, HELCOM has a wide vertical and horizontal scope, with established structures for transboundary cooperation within and across levels of organization, ranging across technical experts, authorities, managers and national ministries. HELCOM is also an established provider of infrastructure to support both regional and national work, including functioning as the natural regional data hub and tool developer as well as providing concrete support for regional assessments, ensuring that regional coherence and an ecologically valid perspective is maintained. Benefits of cooperation at the regional level:
— Benefitting from the expertise of others;
— Sharing of knowledge, information and resources;
— Improved effectiveness of measures due to regional coherence and mutually enforcing or synergistic actions;
— Action is taken at the ecologically relevant scale, i.e. the scale at which the environment functions.
The Environmental Board is a government agency which operates within the area of the Ministry of the Environment. Our task is to implement state policies on environmental use, nature conservation and radiation safety and to monitor the fulfilment of the laws and norms established for the protection of the natural environment. We are also involved in the development and updating of legal acts and other official documents regulating the environmental field.
The main role of the Environment Board in Blue4All project is to test the tools under development. There are two project areas in Estonia – Väike väin and Väinameri. During the project we plan to prepare protection management plans for our project areas and to analyze the adequacy of marine protected areas and the need for additional areas to be protected in Estonia.
The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) is an intergovernmental marine science organization, meeting societal needs for impartial evidence on the state and sustainable use of our seas and oceans. ICES goal is to advance and share scientific understanding of marine ecosystems and the services they provide and to use this knowledge to generate state-of-the-art advice for meeting conservation, management, and sustainability goals. ICES is a network of nearly 6000 scientists from over 700 marine institutes in our 20 member countries and beyond. Through strategic partnerships our work in the Atlantic Ocean also extends into the Arctic, the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, and the North Pacific Ocean. ICES generates scientific advice to support ecosystem-based management of human activities in our seas and oceans. ICES advice contributes towards the effective application of an ecosystem approach, which seeks to maintain the health of marine ecosystems, alongside appropriate human use, for the benefit of current and future generations. Through its participation in BLUE4ALL ICES will seek to create new collaborations across its network of experts and stakeholders and the co-creation of MPA relevant advice.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is a membership Union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organisations. By harnessing the experience, resources and reach of its more than 1,400 Member organisations and the input of some 15,000 experts, IUCN is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it. IUCN provides public, private and non-governmental organisations with the knowledge, tools and projects that enable societies, economies and nature to thrive together. These include data, assessments and analysis, trusted standards, neutral convening fora, and capacity-building resources.
The IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation works to bridge gaps between science, policy, management and action to conserve nature and accelerate the transition towards sustainable development in the Mediterranean. The main strategic lines of IUCN-Med aim to address biodiversity loss and climate change impacts through innovative and targeted initiatives represented in six working areas and key topics; Nature-based Solutions, Marine Biodiversity and Blue Economy, Ecosystem Resilience and Spatial Planning, Nature Conservation and Food Systems, Biodiversity Knowledge and Action and Regional Focus: North Africa.
Role in the project: Leading task T1.4, 5.1 and 5.2 and contributing with IUCN knowledge products of Green List and PANAROMA platform.
Wageningen University (WU) & Research is a public university in Wageningen, the Netherlands, specializing in life sciences with a focus on agriculture, technical and engineering subjects. It is a globally important center for life sciences and agricultural research.
The Environmental Policy group (ENP) is a part of the Wageningen Centre of Sustainability Governance — an interdisciplinary group of governance scholars contributing knowledge on the design, functioning and implications of sustainability governance arrangements in the Wageningen domain of food, nature and environment, including coastal and marine environments.
The role of WU in BLUE4ALL is to contribute social scientific insights related to governance of marine protected areas. As a team of two ENP staff and one junior researcher (18 person months) we contribute to Tasks 1.1, 2.1, 2.2. (as lead) 4.1, 5.1, 5.2, 6.2 and 7.2.
The MEDSEA Foundation works for the protection and restoration of coastal marine ecosystems with the aim of accelerating the ecological transition process to halt the loss of biodiversity in the Mediterranean Sea and adapt to climate change. To do this, the Foundation works on specific projects in the field of coastal management and governance, biodiversity conservation, soil regeneration and the production and consumption cycle of businesses at sea, so that they can then become a model and be scaled up globally. From 2015 to today, MEDSEA has worked in over 12 countries of the Mediterranean Basin with more than 100 partners, among the most important international nature conservation NGOs, universities and research institutes, in more than 20 projects. MEDSEA operate in close collaboration with several MPAs in the EU sea areas. In Blue4all project MEDSEA is coordinator for the Living Lab Capo Carbonara MPA activities and support different task, from the analysis of the MPA process at national and Mediterranea level comprising all steps needed to successfully conserve and/or restore biodiversity.
The French Office of Biodiversity (OFB) is a public institution, placed under the supervision of the ministers responsible for the environment and agriculture, which aim is to protect and restore biodiversity. Some of the main missions given by law to the establishment are the management and support for the management of protected areas, and to exert influence on marine issues. The five main missions of the establishment are:
1. Support for public policies, expertise and implementation of strategic actions in favor of biodiversity
2. Management of spaces, species and protected areas
3. Police and hunting license
4. Mobilization, training, environmental education and communication
5. Research, knowledge development and innovation
The maritime delegation of Channel and North Sea coast (DFM) contributes to public policies dedicated to the protection of the sea; it manages 16 Natura 2000 marine sites and provides support to all managers of marine protected areas (MPAs) at the scale of the Channel North Sea coastline (76 MPAs).
The OFB is mainly involved in WP4 “Learning and testing in Living Labs” at the scale of the MPA network of the Channel North Sea coast.
The Torre Guaceto State Nature Reserve and the homonymous Marine Protected Area constitute a system of protected areas which extends for a total of approximately 3,300 hectares and involves an 8 km long stretch of coast. The iconic symbol is a sixteenth-century military building: the coastal watchtower called Guaceto. The name derives from the ancient Arab toponym Gawsit, which means "fresh water".
The Torre Guaceto Management Consortium aims to preserve the present ecological systems, to restore degraded places and to promote sustainable territorial development models.
Crossing Torre Guaceto from a bird’s eye view, proceeding from the hinterland towards the open sea, a succession of different environments can be observed: first the cultivated fields and olive groves, then the coastal mosaic of Mediterranean scrubland, wetland, dunes, shoreline and finally, the sea, on the seabed of which meadows of Posidonia seagrass (Posidonia oceanica) develop and, further out, Coral. Many diverse but interconnected environments, some of which are strongly linked to human activity.
The Torre Guaceto MPA is included in the list of Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMI), which includes sites that are characterized by efficient and effective management and by the presence of rare, threatened or endemic species.
Otranto is an Italian municipality of 5,769 inhabitants in the province of Lecce in Puglia. Located at the furthest tip of the Salento peninsula, it is the eastern most municipality in Italy. The coastline, which stretches for about 25 km, alternates between long sandy stretches, especially in the northern part, and rocky stretches overlooking the sea.
The main objective that the municipalità has set for itself is to acquire technical know-how for the future management of the MPA, in the process of being established, called "Capo d'Otranto - Grotte Zinzulusa e Romanelli - Capo di Leuca," to ensure the safeguarding and protection of the marine stretch of water facing the area of the Otranto - Leuca - Bosco di Tricase Regional Park.
The primary action from which to start is the sharing of best-practises with other entities involved in already established marine protected areas, ensuring the active participation of citizens to raise awareness of the opportunities for the whole territory that will result from the future MPA.
Advisory Board Members
With a career spanning across academia, consultancy, and NGOs, Dr. Helen Ding brings a unique perspective to her role as Senior Economist Lead for Inclusive Development at the Global Economics Center of WRI, where she also heads the Equitable Economics Innovation Team in WRI Europe's regional office in The Hague. In this capacity, Helen leads the development of a compelling inclusive growth strategy to support and accelerate crucial human system transitions including food, land, water, oceans, energy, and cities that will promote human and planetary health while ensuring equitable benefit-sharing and investment towards the vulnerable and marginalized groups.
Dr. Ding is a seasoned environmental economist with over 16 years of extensive research experience in applied economic research, of which over 10 years are in project and team management positions. She is specialized in natural capital accounting, economic valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services, public and private financing mechanisms for nature conversation and restoration, circular economy, integrated macro-µ economic analysis, and development of decision support tools. Her research emphasizes on systematic approaches to protect and restore natural resources in the context of climate change, while developing financing mechanisms that promote equitable resource allocation towards the most vulnerable and marginalized groups. During her tenure with WRI, she led or participated in economic research for global initiatives and coalitions, including for example, The Global Restoration Initiative, the High-Level Panel for A Sustainable Ocean Economy, the Food and Land Use Coalition, and the Global Commission on Adaptation, amongst others. She is a leading expert in the field of Economics and Finance of Ecosystem Restoration, and a co-founder of The Economics of Ecosystem Restoration (TEER) Initiative, a multi-partner initiative led by FAO to collect standardized costs and benefits of ecosystem restoration worldwide. Her project experience extends a wide range of geographies, including the Africa region, Amazonia, China, European Union, India, and the Pacific Islands.
Prior to WRI, Dr. Ding was a senior economist with Deloitte Sustainability Service in Paris and the deputy leader of Deloitte’s Natural Capital Community of Practice for Europe and Asia, where she represented Deloitte at the Expert Review Panel for the Natural Capital Protocol. Prior to that, she held various research positions in the Fondazione Enri Enrico Mattie, Ca ’Foscari University of Venice and Venice international University in Italy and Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium.
Born and resident in Tarragona, Spain, Puri Canals has a PhD in Biology from the University of Barcelona. From 1994 to 2010 she was the President of the League for the Defence of Natural Heritage in Catalonia. From 2000 to 2008 she served at IUCN’s Council as Regional Councillor for West Europe and also as Vice President from 2005 to 2008. Puri has also been the Chair of the Preparatory Committee for the IUCN 4th World Conservation Congress in 2008. Since participating in the Earth Summit in 1992, she has participated actively in many international conferences. Puri was directly involved in promoting the creation of the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation. She’s a member of the Scientific Council of the “Conservatoire du Littoral” in France; the Advisory Council for Sustainable Development of the Government of Catalonia and the Advisory Council of the Biodiversity Foundation of Spanish Government. She’s a member of the World Commission on Protected Areas and the Commission on Ecosystem Management of IUCN. Since 2010, she is the President of MedPAN. From 2016 to 2019 she has leading the EU Transatlantic MPA Network Project. Since 2020, she’s leading the EU Ocean Governance project.
Director of the Institute of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
Marine ecologist, specialised in marine biodiversity and climate change effects on marine ecosystems.
Field worker, over 50 months in polar and marine expeditions, to the Arctic from Russia, to Svalbard, Greenland and Canada.
Author of over 150 peer reviewed papers and leader of the EU MARBEFES project on marine biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Member of Polish Scientific Committees for Polar and Marine Research.