Stakeholder Involvement – A key for effective cross-border MSP and in practical BONUS BASMATI work

The inclusion of key stakeholders is essential for effective cross-border MSP processes. Hence, the identification of relevant and interested stakeholders to participate in Case Study workshops and Baltic Explorer experiment (WP5 & WP6) are among the core tasks of the BONUS BASMATI project. In principle, all interested stakeholders, and importantly, from across different levels of governance may be included.

However, when developing stakeholder involvement strategies in MSP, UNESCO and the IOC (e.g. Ehler and Douvere 2009) suggest considering 3 important questions from the perspective of effectiveness ( > leading towards expected results) and efficiency ( > producing expected results at the least cost) when organising stakeholder events:

  1. Who should be involved in the MSP process (who is a stakeholder)?
  2. When should stakeholders be involved in the MSP process?
  3. How should stakeholders be involved in the MSP process?

A further important question to ask is why to involve stakeholders and why do they want to get involved?

Taking these suggestions seriously, and early on in the project, BONUS BASMATI partners reflected on the purposes of stakeholder involvement and about who are important stakeholders for both all three case studies, the Baltic Explorer tool and the project overall.

A characterisation of stakeholders to be involved in BONUS BASMATI work will be conducted by prioritising needed stakeholders and reflecting on the stake/interest and possible mandates/roles of the stakeholder (groups) to be involved and the specific needs for involvement in BONUS BASMATI. These reflections will feed into involvement plans, which will be developed for all case studies individually. These plans will focus on how to involve stakeholders and at what project phase and through which activities and what degree of involvement is needed – from information via consultation to collaboration and partnership. Throughout the project, Nordregio will analyse stakeholder involvement deliberation in different project activities through participant observation, survey and interviews.

A Practitioners handbook has been developed elaborating methods, tools and best practices for cross-border MSP planning focusing on stakeholder mobilization and involvement. The handbook based on experiences from MSP planners in the Baltic Sea Region can be used as a reference work. For a fast reading, summaries of the handbook have been produced in English, Danish, Finnish, German, Latvian, Swedish. The handbook has been printed in a limited number and can be ordered from Nordregio. Further the content of the handbook has been presented as a lecturer, which is available as a 35 min video recorded presentation.