Social Capital and Fisheries participation in Marine Spatial Planning in Orkney – MSc-thesis Yanick Bakker

By Yanick Bakker, MSc International Development Studies.

MSc-thesis Social Capital and Fisheries participation in Marine Spatial Planning in Orkney, Scotland (complete thesis can be downloaded).

In the autumn of 2016, I spent three months on the Orkney Islands in Scotland, where I delved into the worlds of inshore shellfish fisheries and marine spatial planning. Marine spatial planning is a relatively new tool for marine governance designed to manage the use of marine space while minimizing user-user and user-environment conflicts. The marine environment around the Orkney Islands is an important natural asset for the island communities. The waters are used for recreation and transportation, they provide fresh sea foods and are a central part of the islands’ ecosystem, identity and diverse livelihoods. Since 2010, the inshore waters around the Orkney Islands and the North East coast of Scotland have also become sites for marine renewable energy developments. Controversy over the allocation of marine space for these developments, have led to the set-up of a pilot marine spatial plan for the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters.

Writing this thesis, I was curious to see how fishermen relate to this new way of looking at and giving direction to the development of marine space. As the waters in which they fish and the fish stocks they target are central resources for fisher communities, access to these resources is vital for their survival. Not only do new marine developments create concerns for sustainability, the notion of spatial planning at sea also causes concern for decreased mobility and consumption of space among fishermen. Taking community resilience theory as a starting point, I have focused on the use of community social capital in fisheries’ engagement with marine spatial planning in Orkney.

Social capital refers to practices, values and sets of norms found within different forms of social networks (or communities) which can contribute to the collaboration, functioning and collective action of the network. Social capital can be produced within a community (bonding), between different kinds of communities (bridging) or across scales and hierarchical structures (linking). Community resilience theory assumes that community members can act as agents of change, whereby they use different strategies to ensure the survival of the community in face of change. For example by engaging in social relation within and beyond the boundaries of the community to mobilize resources or gain power.

By conducting qualitative interviews with fishermen, representatives of fisher organizations, researchers and policy makers, I have gained insight in the different ways in which the Orkney inshore shellfish fisher community employs and continues to develop its community social capital in order to collaborate, mobilize resources to generate information to reframe the definition and formal representation of marine space and to gain power in (future) marine spatial planning negotiations.

Although social capital seems to be an enabling factor for participation in policy making, this research has shown that it is not a community asset which can be readily mobilized. Having social capital, does thus not equal having agency to act. Seeing the participatory sphere as one of unequal power, stakeholders’ ability to gain influence in governance processes is influenced by institutional limiting and facilitating factors. Social organization of fishermen in fisher organizations has shown to be an important enabling factor for participation in marine spatial planning, in Orkney.

 

Kick-off Horizon 2020 project ROBUST

Recently a Horizon 2020 grant of € 6 million was awarded for a project entitled ‘Rural-Urban Outlooks: Unlocking Synergies’ (ROBUST). ROBUST has started on the 1st of June 2017 and is coordinated by Han Wiskerke of the Rural Sociology Group.

The overall goal of ROBUST is to a) advance our understanding of the interactions and dependencies between rural, peri-urban and urban areas, and b) identify and promote policies, governance models and practices that foster mutually beneficial relations.

The project focusses on five domains of urban-rural relations & interdependencies: 1) New businesses and labour markets; 2) Public infrastructures and social services; 3) Sustainable food systems, 4) Cultural connections, and 5) Ecosystem services. These domains will be studied in 11 place-based living labs: Ede (Netherlands), Tukums (Latvia), Helsinki (Finland), Mid-Wales (UK), Gloucestershire (UK), Frankfurt-Rhein-Main metropole (Germany), Ljubljana Urban Region (Slovenia), Styria (Austria), Valencia (Spain), Province of Lucca (Italy) and Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region (Portugal). Each Living Labs will focus on three domains of urban-rural relations. Domain-specific lessons and experiences will be shared across Living Labs in thematic Communities of Practice (five in total, each covering one of the aforementioned domains of urban-rural relations).

In each Living Lab a research organisation (university, research institute or consultancy firm) will collaborate with a local or regional authority. For the Dutch case the Rural Sociology Group will collaborate with Ede Municipality. In total the ROBUST consortium consists of 24 partners: 11 research organisations, 11 local or regional authorities and two umbrella organisations: the Peri-Urban Regions Platform Europe (PURPLE) and the European Secretariat of the International Network of Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI Europe).

The kick-off meeting will take place on 7, 8 and 9 June in the Akoesticum in Ede. The website of the project is expected to be ready by September 2017. For more information about ROBUST, please contact one of the members of the RSO ROBUST team: Han Wiskerke, Henk Oostindie, Rudolf van Broekhuizen, Jessica Duncan and Bettina Bock.

Call for papers for special issue on ‘City region foodscapes’

This is a call for papers for a special issue about ‘City region foodscapes’ of the open access journal Sustainability – Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development.

There is increasing broad recognition that food is an integral part of the urban agenda. Cities in different parts of the world are developing policy and programme initiatives related to urban food provisioning. The 2007-2008 food price hikes, and climate-induced disruptions to food supply, have triggered a call for more resilient urban food systems. In addition, alarming increases in diet-related ill-health require cities to ensure access to sufficient, affordable, healthy and safe food to their population. Continue reading

Meet the WUR UN Food Security Bloggers

cfs43_150_enFor the next week, 6 WUR students will be participating in the UN’s Committee for World Food Security (CFS) annual meeting as part of the official Social Media Team, an initiative coordinated by the CFS and the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR).

Their contributions will be posted here as well as on this blog.

If you are on Twitter, follow the meeting and the  #CFS43 Social Media Team by following this list.

The CFS is the most inclusive international and intergovernmental platform for all stakeholders to work together to ensure food security and nutrition for all. The Committee reports to the UN General Assembly through the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and to FAO Conference.Using a multi-stakeholder, inclusive approach, CFS develops and endorses policy recommendations and guidance on a wide range of food security and nutrition topics.

Click here for more information about the 43rd session of the CFS. Continue reading

Evaluation of the LEADER programme by LAGs – A critical reflection

matteo-metta

A Local Action Group; source Matteo Metta

August 29 Matteo Metta has succesfully defended his MSc-thesis ‘From Good Will to Good Use: a critical analysis of the LEADER evaluation‘ for the Master International Master in Rural Development. Below a summary of the thesis. Continue reading

Capital Selecta: Global Food Security

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WUR students attending CFS negotiations in 2015

In October RSO will offer a 3 ECTS Capita Selecta course called Global Food Security: Linking theory and practice. 

The course offers the opportunity for students to learn more about international food security governance through lectures, assignments, and by attending the annual meeting of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in Rome.

The schedule (subject to change) is:

  • Tues Oct 11 17:30-19:30 Lecture- Introduction to Global Food Security Governance
  • Thurs Oct 13 17:30-19:30 Lecture- Introduction to the Committee on World Food Security + potluck dinner
  • Oct 15-22 Excursion to the CFS in Rome
  • Nov 1st 17:30-19:30 Presentations of final assignments

Registration is limited and open to students with a proven interest in food security, international development, and/or global governance. Interested students should send a CV and letter of motivation to jessica.duncan (a) wur.nl

Please note students are expected to cover the costs of travel (airfair, accomodation (we will likely reserve a large apartment via AirBnB), and food). Student course coordinators are working to secure funding to help reduce these costs.

Assessing the Sustainability of Local and Global Food Chains – GLAMUR Special Issue

GLAMUR main messages

The EU-funded research project GLAMUR has been completed earlier this year. More info on the project, its sustainability performance-based approach and the findings can be accessed at the website. Next to all reports a synopsis of the project, its approach, the main findings and recommendations has been published, a leaflet with the main messages and finally a Special Issue of Sustainability: Sustainability Performance of Conventional and Alternative Food Chains was recently published containing eight open access articles following an editorial by Gianluca Brunori and Francesca Galli.

Towards a Common Food Policy for the EU – a 3 year reflection led by IPES-Food

March 17 2016 IPES-Food (Twitter @IPESfood) launched a three-year process of reflection and research entitled: Towards a Common Food Policy for the European Union. IPES-Food will convene scientists, civil society groups, grassroots organisations and policy-makers from various governance levels in order to identify the policy tools that would be needed to deliver sustainable food systems in Europe. Kick-off meeting will be on April 17 in the European Parliament. A concept note Towards a Common Food Policy for the EU can be downloaded. Olivier De Schutter, co-chair of IPES-Food, will lead the process and explained the need for an EU food policy in an address to the European Economic and Social Committee on March 11th in a video:

SUSPLACE website launched – Exploring the potential of place-shaping practices for sustainable development

The SUSPLACE consortium bids you a hearty welcome to our newly launched website http://www.sustainableplaceshaping.net. SUSPLACE is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Network (ITN) funded by the European Commission that explores the full potential of place-shaping practices for sustainable development. SUSPLACE officially kicked-off on October 1, 2015 in Wageningen, The Netherlands and will last till September 30, 2019. The overall aim of the project…

via SUSPLACE – Exploring the potential of place-shaping practices for sustainable development — SUSPLACE

Podcast – civil society participation global governance of food security

As part of the perfect storm seminar series at the University of Edinburgh, Dr Jessica Duncan gave a seminar about civil society participation in the global governance of food security on the 26th of January. ‘The Perfect Storm Scholars‘ interviewed her afterwards and posted a podcast that resulted of this interview on their blog.

The Perfect Storm scholars

As part of the perfect storm seminar series (see poster), Dr Jessica Duncan, Assistant Professor in Rural Sociology at Wageningen University, The Netherlands, gave a seminar about civil society participation in the global governance of food security on the 26th of January at the University of Edinburgh.

She kindly made the time to talk to me about her seminar and research when she was in Edinburgh. You can find the result of this conversation in a podcast. Click HERE to listen to it.


Podcast structure

We talk about her seminar and research until around 24:40 min. From that point onwards we discuss the practical dynamics of undertaking empirical research in general, and specifically on global governance. At 30:00 min Dr. Duncan shares her views on interdisciplinary research.


Podcast notes:

You can find out more about Jessica’s research in her latest book: Global Food Security Governance: Civil society engagement in the reformed Committee…

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