Progressive Dialogue between all stakeholders is critical for ecological transition

18/12/19

Coastline artificialisation amplifies and accelerates the destruction of ocean resources, and Surfrider Europe is committed building a solution through dialogue and collective action. To protect coastal ecosystems, improve relationships between stakeholders, and strengthen regulations on development, initiating an open and ongoing dialogue must become a priority. An analysis of the current European systems has been conducted by the NGO.  

The dysfunctions of the current system

Surfrider Europe is active in 12 countries through 46 volunteer chapters, and at every waterfront location, the same conflict is encountered. Coastal projects that are developed on the basis of economic interest, without prior mediation on the impact they will have on the ocean and coastal ecosystem, are met with opposition by ocean advocates who challenge the project in terms of sustainability and ecological transition.

The organization is prepared to continue its role as a whistleblower against projects deemed harmful to the coastal ecosystem, however, this dynamic is counterproductive in view of the climate emergency ; wasting time, energy and resources (link to articles in the IPCC report). We must direct our efforts towards the greater challenge of preserving the planet as we know it today. We must by willing to see beyond individual and economic interests to cultivate the profound transformations that are necessary for the benefit of all. Everyone's commitment is essential and Surfrider will play its role to the fullest.  

A need to evolve and engage in dialogue

Faced with the increasing artificialisation of the coastline (soil sealing causing polluted runoff, bacteriological and chemical pollution, destruction of ecosystems and biodiversity) Surfrider Europe calls for a stronger participatory democracy at the local level where citizens can participate in the decision-making of ecological transition projects happening in their communities. 

All local stakeholders ; citizens, public authorities and industry, must be willing work as a collective to identify and implement appropriate strategies to satisify industrial needs while ensuring a protected ocean and coast.  

How to implement a progressive dialogue

To address this challenge, Surfrider Europe analysed current procedures in various European territories, particularly with regard to offshore wind farms. Through the support of the European Union (Life Operating Grant) and Ademe, the association was able to publish two documents following the analysis which suggest methods of improving coastal development processes and initiating dialogue :

A booklet authored for citizens explains the stakes of the energy transition and the urgency for renewable energy research. The purpose of this document is to address the collective challenge of mitigating climate change and to encourage citizens to engage in consultation processes in these areas. For more details, consult or download the document online by clicking here

A study for contracting authorities (local authorities, states or private operators) explains the elements and importance of public consultation. This report presents the major obstacles to dialogue, proposes areas of improvement, and structures its recommendations around five major challenges. For more details, consult or download the document online by clicking here

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