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Journal Article

Advancing Ocean Governance in Marine Regions Through Stakeholder Dialogue Processes


Weiand,  Laura
IASS Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies Potsdam;


Unger,  Sebastian
IASS Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies Potsdam;

Rochette,  Julien
External Organizations;

Müller,  Alexander
External Organizations;

Neumann,  Barbara
External Organizations;

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Weiand, L., Unger, S., Rochette, J., Müller, A., Neumann, B. (2021 online): Advancing Ocean Governance in Marine Regions Through Stakeholder Dialogue Processes. - Frontiers in Marine Science, 8, 645576.

Cite as: https://publications.iass-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_6000850
The poor state of the ocean and the transboundary nature of the marine environment requires bold action by coastal states coordinated across sectors and territorial boundaries in order to deal with the manifold challenges the ocean is facing – and with it humankind. Cooperation and coordination among States and stakeholders in marine regions have proven to be important levers for policy implementation and to strengthen ocean governance, yet remain challenging. Transparent and engaging stakeholder dialogue processes have the potential to provide guidance for the necessary transformation towards ocean sustainability and support the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for the ocean, SDG 14 and other interlinked ocean-related targets. The aim of this paper is to review the challenges and opportunities of current collaborative efforts, namely multi-stakeholder dialogue and exchange processes, within and between marine regions to accelerate transformative action, contributing to global goals. This paper builds on knowledge co-production and collaborative governance literature, and reviews experiences by stakeholders of current ocean-related science-policy interfaces in an effort to strengthen regional ocean governance. As an exemplary case of such interfaces, it assesses the Marine Regions Forum, a newly established inclusive dialogue and exchange platform for diverse actors from marine regions to engage in informal joint learning and collaboration. Employing latent content analysis of interviews with experts, critical common barriers that hamper current collaborative efforts amongst stakeholders in marine regions are identified, such as fragmented governance frameworks, power and resource imbalances, and lack of meaningful stakeholder engagement. Pathways to address these challenges, such as through common goal orientation, contextualisation, inclusivity, trust building and meaningful continuous interactions are also identified. This paper concludes by discussing the value added of transparent and inclusive collaborative processes in the transformation of ocean governance towards achieving sustainability.