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Negotiating Ocean Conflicts among RIvals for Sustainable and Equitable Solutions.


Negotiating Ocean Conflicts among RIvals for Sustainable and Equitable Solutions.




  • Ongoing


Project website

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Feb 2020 - Feb 2023

Type of action

Joint Call


Negotiating Ocean Conflicts among RIvals for Sustainable and Equitable Solutions

Oceans provide resources and ecosystem services to multiple marine sectors and stakeholders1. The goal of ocean management is to accomplish fair and sustainable resources use. This means simultaneously achieving economic development (blue growth), environmental sustainability, social equity and inclusion across space and time2, in a context of growing demands3,4. Addressing these goals and making trade-off decisions is not trivial and can lead to conflict. Regions where pressures increase at a faster-than-average-rate (so-called ocean change hotspots) are particularly susceptible. Outbreaks of conflict come in many forms: between many stakeholders or few; persistent or new; and over diverse resources and services. Making trade-offs explicit and differentiating between marine conflict types is crucial5,6 to mitigate and resolve conflict. Management should result in enduring and legitimate outcomes, especially in ocean change hotspots7.

With this project, we propose a mixed method approach and cross-case study comparison to assess the origin, drivers, and mitigation strategies of ocean conflicts. Each of six case studies will represents a hot spot where a different combination of social and ecological pressures, together with trade-off decisions, trigger ocean conflicts. A core set of methods is developed and applied ensuring comparability across locations to facilitate global learning. The origin of conflicts will be reproduced, and socio-ecological interactions qualified and quantified through participatory methods10. Local artists visualisations will collaboratively produce culturally meaningful narratives that will explicate trade-offs and their negotiability8,9 and allow ocean conflict pathways11 to be mapped from origin to possible resolution.

The project is balanced in terms of academic disciplines, gender and seniority, and includes an explicit trans-disciplinary component that seeks to engage user groups, artists, managers, and scientists together towards a common goal. Our approach seeks to promote just transitions to achieve sustainable ocean management.

Project consortium

Principal Investigator(s)

Ingrid Van Putten, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia


Shankar Aswani, Rhodes University, South Africa
Wiebren Johannes Boonstra, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden
Marion Glaser, Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research, Germany
Adina Paytan, University of California Santa Cruz, United States


Oceans and Atmosphere, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia
Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany
National Research Foundation, South Africa
Swedish Research Council for Env, Agric Sci & Spatial Planning, Sweden
National Science Foundation, United States