Written by our CECAN PhD Researcher, Betheney Wills, this report details the main findings from her research on the Marine Pioneer, a government pilot programme which tested key principles from the 25-Year Environment Plan. Betheney’s case study research used interviews, participant observation (of steering group meetings) and Participatory System Mapping to explore the perceptions of those involved in the Marine Pioneer on local level decision-making and the experimental implementation of the Natural Capital Approach (NCA).
The report is centred on the main finding; the importance of adaptive marine governance that uses a whole-system approach and can provide a rapid response to environmental change.
Results are characterised into three topics:
- Governance – which addresses the ability of local conservation group members to participate in decision-making and the role of individuals in strengthening institutional linkages.
- Natural capital – which details how experimental implementation of the NCA with local stakeholders led steering group members to adapt the approach to incorporate local non-monetary values and language use.
- Piloting – which documents the participants’ enthusiasm for ‘learning-by-doing’ as part of an adaptive management approach, and the political and resource restraints placed on adaptive management. This section includes how these constraints led to the formation of cross-sector partnerships which resulted in multiple benefits and the importance of leadership, government encouragement and financial support to legitimise local decisions.
This participatory research was made possible through the continued support of the participants. The interim (April 2019) and summary (September 2020) reports were created to thank participants and to offer them an opportunity to reflect on the collective learning gained from the Marine Pioneer.