The EuroGOOS Office is leading stakeholder engagement in the EU DOORS project, Developing Optimal and Open Research Base for the Black Sea. As part of stakeholder engagement, national Multi-Actor Forums (MAF) are held, facilitated by Athena RC, Greece. The events are taking place in Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, and Türkiye during 2022 and 2023. Scroll down to see some pictures.
MAFs are collaborative spaces for co-creation at the interface between the local needs and European and global drivers. The events are attracting a unique mix of stakeholders spanning national environmental agencies, ministries, harbour and coastal management authorities, blue economy associations and SMEs, NGOs and academia. The discussions are coordinated around the European Union blue economy and Green Deal agendas with the local requirements and specificities addressed. MAFs inform the DOORS key programmes – System of Systems, Blue Growth Accelerator, and Knowledge Transfer and Training.
The first round of MAF workshops were completed on The World Wetlands Day of 2 February 2023 in Batumi, Georgia. At the Georgian MAF, tourism and fisheries were highlighted as essential socioeconomic sectors in the eastern Black Sea – both Georgia and Türkiye intensively fishing in this part of the Black Sea basin. Coastal hazards have been identified as another important topic for the stakeholders. Pervasive nuisances with coastal erosion will be significantly exacerbated with imminent climate change induced threats, such sea level rise and more frequent coastal floods. Even tornados, almost never heard of in this region, are becoming increasingly common amid climate crisis.
The participating stakeholders of the Romanian MAF, which took place in Constanta on 25 January 2023, prioritized such topics as marine research and development, tourism, ocean renewable energy, and fisheries and aquaculture. Furthermore, the need to harmonise local legislation alongside the European model was identified as a key objective in order for these different sectors and regions to effectively work together and sustainably use the coastal resources. While the Romanian Black Sea coast enjoys a vibrant tourism industry, there are many other unexploited resources such as protected areas, archaeological and geological sites, and adventure and vineyard tourism to maximise the potential of the region.
The Bulgarian MAF took place on 18 November 2022 in Burgas. The most prominent topics of the day were the importance of tourism as a significant contributor to the country’s economy. The sector contributed 15% of the GDP and supported 150,000 workplaces in 2014. Sustainability of tourism and new areas such as ecotourism were discussed. The stakeholders also stressed the lack of marine knowledge and information for the blue economy users.
On 9 November 2022, the DOORS Turkish MAF took place in Trabzon. In the meeting, we heard growing concerns expressed about Black Sea fish stocks and the impact of plastic pollution. The participants also saw tourism and maritime transport as important areas of further growth.
Alongside our stakeholder engagement activities in DOORS, we have also started the work on engaging youth and general public. On 1 February 2023 in Trabzon, Türkiye, the DOORS Ocean Literacy Network was kicked off. The Network will contribute to the EuroGOOS Ocean Decade project Scientists for Ocean Literacy. It is bringing together academia and NGOs, as well as experts in science-policy engagement, stakeholder management, and communicators.