AQUACROSS FORUM on Ecosystem-Based Management of Freshwater, Coastal, and Marine Ecosystems: Insights for Innovation from Science, Policy and Business - 27/28 June 2016 – Alcala, Spain

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Over 70 experts and practitioners working in the field of aquatic management gathered in Alcala, Spain for the AQUACROSS Forum on the 27th and 28th June 2016. Participants from Europe and beyond included policymakers, scientists, marine and freshwater managers and members of the business community. The two day Forum consisted of multiple panels, discussions and breakout sessions.

Day one dealt with innovation in policy, assessments, and stakeholder engagement. In the first panel, ‘Innovation in Policy’  experts from the OECD, the European Commission, the European Topic Centre on Inland Coastal and Marine Water, and the German Federal Environment Agency stressed the need to identify common objectives in existing nature policies and directives, pointing to the integration and streamlining of current policies and not necessarily new policies or approaches. The afternoon session, ‘Innovation in Assessment', took perspectives from the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE and the European Environment Agency on assessments relevant for integrated approaches stressing the need to operationalise the ecosystem-based management approach. In the final session, ‘Innovation from Interaction between Science, Policy and Business’ expert water managers discussed their practical experiences in stakeholder participation in management. Representatives joined from the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation, the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River, and the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment (the Netherlands) and Ecologic Institute.

On the second day, participants convened for a morning session on ‘Ecosystem-based Management – Evidence & the Way Forward', with a panel of management practitioners from Spain, Sweden and Northern Ireland. Participants then broke out into three groups for interactive discussion sessions focused on marine, freshwater and data issues.

To wrap up the day, two Spanish businesses, a data and mapping visualisation company CartoDB and a Spanish clothing company EcoAlf manufacturing high-fashion items out of recycled trash from the oceans presented their work and business models.