On 16 October 2019 the 2nd MOSES Policy Decision Forum (PDF) took place at the Titanic Hotel, Belfast. PDFs are part of MOSES WP3 and intend to deliberate, reflect upon and inform the work carried out in the project.
The theme of the 2nd PDF was “Sustainable ports and tourism”. About 40 key experts and stakeholders from business, policy making and academia mostly from Ireland and UK participated, representing these two sectors.
The first two sessions consisted of presentations from project partners and guest speakers about various ports/shipping and tourism initiatives and case studies that demonstrate the state of the art and the key challenges towards the contribution of these two sectors to sustainable Blue Growth (SBG).
Fruitful discussions based on questions raised by the audience linked the first two sessions with a third session which intended to engage the guests in an interactive exercise where they were asked to state whether they were optimistic, neutral or skeptical about the potential of these sectors to achieve SBG and the role that MOSES could play in it.
A neutral to slightly negative potential perception emerged for the tourism sector, highlighting the “high demand for ecofriendly activities at a unique physical and cultural environment” and the “existence of branding and accreditation of most destinations” as main positive factors balanced by the “increasing coastal change due to erosion and climate change and the lack of policies to address them” as well as the “low accessibility of the tourist destination due to lack of available/appropriate transportation, infrastructure and accommodation” as negative factors.
Regarding the Ports and Shipping sector, “smart technology that supports sustainability” and “strong policy for sustainability from EU and IMO” emerged as main positive factors slightly overcoming “the lack of land use and marine spatial planning that would bring efficiency, infrastructure and capacity” as main negative factor.
Projects such as MOSES are important for the promotion of Sustainable Blue Growth but their usefulness and effectiveness must be assessed for the impact they have beyond the projects’ duration. Stakeholder participation in developing project outputs such as action plans with best practices and guidelines and methodological frameworks for overcoming barriers towards SBG, is of high importance and the PDF in Belfast has been very positive in that sense.