Knowledge and Atlantic Cities: A view on Seas-Era

CAAC Coordinator
CAAC Coordinator

The EU FP7 funded SEAS‐ERA Project (May 2010‐ April 2014) is a Network of Marine Research Funding Organisations (RFOs) consisting of 21 partners and two third parties from 18 EU Member and Associated Stateslocated along the European seaboard in the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea

To facilitate participation ofthe peripheral areas, a joint meeting was organised with the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) – Atlantic Arc Commission (AAC) in Lisbon, Portugal,from 23rd to 24th April 2012. At this ocassion, CAAC Coordinator, Ms. Tamara Guirao was invited to present her analysis of the SEAS-ERA project, from a cities’ point of view.

You can see her presentation here.  As for her written contribution, it was titled:

The role of Local Authorities: A necessary step to achieve efficient results.

When defining an Atlantic Strategy, it is necessary to include the importance of the Atlantic cities within European maritime policy, so taking into account that Lisbon is home to the European Maritime Safety Agency, Vigo is home to the European Fisheries Agency and the pioneering Motorway of the Sea is Gijón‐Saint Nazaire.

Among other features already mentioned in the Discussion Document, the Atlantic Arc is characterised by an unbroken tight urban network, composed mainly of medium‐sized cities. Even ifthey are lying outside the world’s main trading networks,these small and medium ports and cities, located on the Atlantic coast, have developed their own maritime governance.

Furthermore, the connections with the hinterland are still deficient, and ongoing accessibility is a question that has yet to be overcome. Therefore, economic activity is conditioned not only by external macroeconomic factors, but also by the Port and Local Authorities’ own strategies.

Coming to governance, it must be highlighted that Atlantic Arc Cities have the necessary capacity to carry out local development plans and to fulfill their role as active (and proactive) actors in maritime policy. Currently, those cities are responsible, together with other stakeholders, for coastal management, marine safety and protection, the knowledge and preservation of the marine environment and the coast, the management of maritime and industrial hazards, the fight against maritime pollution, the naval concept, construction and maintenance including the dismantling of ships, navigation, the exploitation of marine energy resources, and the exploitation and recovery of marine biological sources and the durability of maritime tourism.

In this sense, CAAC considers that the corresponding Sea Basin Vision Statement should explicitly mention the questions of shared governance and civilsociety participation. Local and Port authoritiesshould be included in the report assources ofinformation and steering participants.

In relation to the main components of the SEAS‐ERA draft Marine Plan:

Basic Research & New Knowledge

1. Ecosystem functioning and processes; Sea‐Land relation and Human Interaction. Even if it is mentioned further in the Discussion Document,the definition of an ecosystem approach should be reinforced at this point, especially concerning the land‐sea links and the influence of human interaction.

2. Climate Change  ‐ Mitigation & Adaptation: Explosive Cyclogenesis (Xhyntia‐type storms). These last years the explosive cyclogenesis have become a major problem in the Atlantic Arc. The effects of these storms, from Klaus to the recent Madeleine, have been dramatic, both in the sea (where they are generated) and on the land.

Applied Research: Science supporting Society and Economy

3. Shipping and Maritime Transport; Ports and hinterlands: The decline of zones where heavy industries once flourished has an effect, and so do the restructuring of port land and the new developmentsin the fields of maritime transport and logistical developments. Furthermore, from an urban perspective, the fight against climate change and a defense of sustainable development affect the way that port‐city relationsshould be oriented. Moreover,the relationship with the hinterland is a key factor when it comes to prosperity and to environmentally friendly transport modes.

4. Marine Leisure & Tourism, including Maritime Culture and Heritage; Short‐Sea Shipping Routes? Interaction between Motorways of the Sea and Tourism? The experience of the Gijon‐Saint Nazaire Motorway ofthe Sea has given rise to a growing interestfromthe Local Authorities to directly participate in its management and to find opportunities for joint touristic promotion.

5. Marine Bio‐Resources: Fisheries, Aquaculture and Seafood Processing: Local promotion and consumption of fish and seafood, especially with regard to the artisanal sector. While preserving competition and transparency, public demand can be used to guide the market in a more socially responsible direction and thus contribute more broadly to sustainable development. Public and private socialresponsibility can make a step forward in promoting accessto delicious, affordable, fresh,seasonal and localfood.

Research Support & Cross‐Cutting Issues

6. Management tools; Capacity Building. The development of marine research and its accomplishment occurs in the territories. Thus, those in charge of implementing policies (i.e. the civil servants, the decision‐makers, etc.) should receive the corresponding training and tools for an efficient execution of the diverse measures.

The SEAS‐ERA Marine Plan needs to include the topic, Social acceptance and local governance. As recently
shown by the social reaction to the sea exploration in the Canary Islands, the sea economy needs a greater
implication of the civilsociety and the direct implication of local authoritiesin the processes. Thus, we would
like to propose the addition of this issue as a thematic priority.

More info in the seas-era project is to be found here

1 thought on “Knowledge and Atlantic Cities: A view on Seas-Era

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.