Marine Plan Partnership for the North Pacific Coast: Engagement and communication with stakeholders and the public, is a new article published in the journal, Marine Policy, in July 2021.
The authors of the paper are Gord McGee, Josie Byington, John Bones, Sally Cargill, Megan Dickinson, Kelly Wozniak and Kylee Pawluk.
A key requirement for success in marine spatial planning is a meaningful stakeholder engagement process. During the planning phase of the Marine Plan Partnership (MaPP) initiative, the Partners (the B.C. provincial and 18 First Nations governments) employed, what was termed, an advisory approach to engagement. This advisory approach committed the Partners to engage meaningfully with stakeholders and the public, consider their feedback, work towards balanced solutions, and incorporate what was found to be agreeable. However, it did not require a consensus among participants in order for advice to be accepted or acted upon. Planning occurred over a three-year period in four sub-regions encompassing 102,000 square kilometers of coastal and marine waters on the North Pacific Coast of Canada. Engagement spanned more than 10 sectors of special interest and 22 coastal communities throughout the planning area and included interested members of the general public. Upon plan completion, there was broad stakeholder support for the final sub-regional plans and the Regional Action Framework. The purpose of this paper is to describe from the MaPP governance partners’ perspective, the components of the MaPP advisory-based stakeholder engagement policy and key lessons learned about the factors contributing to the success of its approach. The paper draws upon analysis of MaPP Partner discussions and reflections during and after the planning process, and includes the results of an internal evaluation of stakeholder engagement by independent consultants who surveyed the MaPP team, stakeholders, and the public.