The Maritime Business Strategy and the Blue Overview Plan are two policy documents that have been drawn up in parallel in Northern Bohuslän, which includes Strömstad, Tanum, Sotenäs and Lysekil municipalities. The development process of the strategy and action plan was meant to define the preferred future for four municipalities, their goal and which actions to promote desired development. The strategy is not spatial, but it is developed and applied in parallel with the MSP; with same goals, and includes the same group of people. The Blue Overview Plan has specified the actions for all four municipalities that would enhance economic development, in four different focus areas: shipping & boating, sea food, energy, tourism and recreation. Nevertheless, the cultural and environmental aspects were also considered. Each of the focus areas also includes sub-areas, goals and actions that the municipality should act upon. Implementation is an ongoing process while the revision is meant to take place with every political mandate, likewise the MSP, every 4 years.
Questions this practice may help answer:
- What methodology can be used for the development of a maritime strategy with focus on Blue Growth?
- What is the purpose of a maritime strategy?
Implementation of the strategy and action plan is an ongoing continuous process, while ist revision is meant to take place with every political mandate, likewise the MSP, every 4 years. The Strategy and MSP facilitation teams meet several times per year to discuss the direction and actions taken. A fairly simple approach was used with excel with different colours, representing focus areas to discuss next actions and relevant project links. Goals including 70 actions were clustered into groups and as- sociated to regional projects. Projects groupings were marine activities, environmental profiles, marine aquaculture, etc.
Aspects / Objectives:
The aim of the strategy was to define the preferred future for four municipalities, by specifying common goals and actions to promote the development in maritime industries. The stratgey was meant to contribute to a stronger maritime focus in existing business strategies. Also, there was a need for a more detailed approach to planning for development. Thus one oft he aims of the strategy was to provide more visibility to small businesses and to attract new ones. This process was meant to enable different combinations of companies and researchers to jointly identify project opportunities and execute them together.
Two types of policy documents were developed 1) one overarching political strategy: The Maritime Business Strategy, and 2) The Blue Overview Planwhich includes all the background data in four different focus areas: shipping & boating, sea food, energy, tourism and recreation. Each of the focus areas also includes sub-areas, goals and actions that the municipality should act upon. The Maritime Business Strategy and the Blue Overview Plan are two policy documents that have been drawn up in parallel in Northern Bohuslän.
The Maritime Business Strategy is developed on the political mission of the Steering Committee for Growth North Bohuslän, which includes Strömstad, Tanum, Sotenäs and Lysekil municipalities.
The process relyed on a comprehensive stakeholder engagement process and building trust. Focus groups for the sub-areas were formed and stakeholder needs were collected through interviews with around 60 companies of different sizes. So called Competence dayswere also organised to bring together politicians, civil servants and researchers. Business developers (civil servants), environmental specialists and planners as well as sectoral boards (i.e. tourism board) have been invol- ved to develop the strategy.
The process also aimed to possibly align with other relevant EU, national, local and regional strategies and funding programmes. As part of the communication strategy, easily readable dissemination material was produced, as well as a small infographic film on Facebook and the website showing what the strategy entails. Other social media is also extensively used and engagement was continuously tracked.
In this process it was essential to clearly specify what input is needed at the different stages of the process and what are the timelines and responsibilities. Moreover, the revision in the form of yearly evaluation was a good tool for keeping everyone engaged committed to agreed goals.
Main Outputs / Results:
The Maritime Business Strategy and the Blue Overview Plan and an infographic film
The strategy and action plan were developed specifically for the four municipalities in Sweden, thus the methodology used may be the most replicable in other relatively small geographical areas with well-established stakeholder networks.
Municipalities of Strömstad, Tanum, Sotenäs and Lysekil