The Research Council project COASTREC supports Norway's first comprehensive action plan for the Oslo Fjord. In this four-year project, we examine the role and potential of voluntary organizations and civic engagement for sustainability in policies, planning and governance of coastal areas under pressure. SDG 17 Partnerships for the goals is the project axis, and the researchers work closely with the organizations Norsk Friluftsliv, DNT, the National Association of Outdoor Councils and the Oslofjord Outdoor Council. The Norwegian Environment Agency is national partner, and the Oslo Fjord Council our regional partner.
The Oslo fjord is rich in biodiversity and an important recreation area, but these qualities are under pressure. The Oslo Fjord Plan emphasizes the role of voluntary organizations in improving conditions for nature and people in and around the Fjord. This is in accordance with the UN's 2030 agenda, which emphasizes the role of the third sector in achieving a sustainable future. In the project, we will therefore, with a view from the third sector, (1) investigate obstacles and possible solutions to sustainability challenges in urban coastal areas and (2) investigate and understand how management of the coastal zone is shaped by political processes, economic and/or other interests, legislation and planning. Achieving the SDGs depend on a change in human action and behavior, but the intersection between culture and sustainability is understudied. We therefore combine theories of multi-level governance with cultural theory, to study how volunteering can create cultural changes for sustainability. We also compare the findings from the Oslo fjord with case studies of Stockholm and Copenhagen.
Telemark Research Institute leads the project and The Norwegian University of Environmental and Biosciences, University of South-Eastern Norway, University of Copenhagen, Mid-Sweden University, University of Cumbria and Nipissing University participate.
COASTREC is a comprehensive study of the role and potential of voluntary organizations and civic engagement for
sustainability in policies, plans, and governance of coastal areas under pressure. Through empirical studies of civil
society initiatives promoting sustainable coastal recreation, the proposed project will answer both prioritized areas
in the call, through (1) investigating the pressures and possible solutions to sustainability challenges in coastal areas;
and (2) investigating and understanding how sustainability shifts are shaped by cultural and political processes,
economic interests, power structures, legislation, planning, and regulation. COASTREC responds to the societal need
for knowledge on what factors promote or hinder sustainability shifts; -the how-to? focusing on the role of culture
and multi-level governance. The project will investigate the role and agency of civil society, supporting,
complementing, or opposing state policies for environmental governance. We ask how state policy formulation and
implementation translate into a multi-level, -sector and -actor system and how this can be governed, and how civil society initiatives navigate through the same systems and influence and potentially change state policy. This will be
done through close collaboration between networks of practitioners, voluntary organizations, policymakers, and
Nordic researchers, supported by an international expert group. COASTREC will support Norway’s first
comprehensive Action Plan for the Oslo fjord aiming to improve environmental qualities, reduce pressures on coastal
areas, and aid the pursuit of equitable and sustainable coastal recreation. The project's axis is the SDG 17
Partnership for the goals, and the project explores the role of this goal in depth in enabling sustainability shifts.
DEMOS-Demokratisk og effektiv styring, planlegging og forvaltning