8. Operationalising the Blue Economy and next steps
Delivering a blue economy approach in Scotland will be challenging, but it will create new opportunities. It will require greater policy cohesion across government, partnership working across disciplines and sectors, and new tools to inform decision making. The next phase of work will support improved governance, transparency, data sharing and accountability regarding the shared stewardship of our blue economy and it will ensure that people are empowered to participate in decision making.
There will be difficult choices in delivering the aspirations contained within this vision. Science and evidence must underpin decision-making about what activities are prioritised where and when. This will involve consideration of co-dependencies, synergies or trade-offs between different interests and any cumulative impacts. Actions already being taken by Marine Scotland directorate, Transport Scotland and across the Scottish Government put us on the pathway to achieving these outcomes.
This vision and outcomes document sets out the Scottish Governments aspirations for implementing a blue economy approach in Scotland. The next phase will be to work in partnership with stakeholders to develop a blue economy action plan and monitoring and evaluation framework, which will begin to set out in more detail the actions and pathways required to achieve change and how this change will be monitored and reported upon.
Developing clear actions, supported by measurable indicators, will ensure that we can articulate how supporting the blue economy delivers against the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework and the global Sustainable Development Goals and why we are making bold decisions. We will draw on existing Scottish Government best practice guidance on achieving societal and environmental outcomes, for example the Good Practice Principles for Community Benefit from Onshore Renewable Energy Developments and the National Standards for Community Engagement.
As we progress the blue economy approach in Scotland into an action plan, we will develop and consult on a Strategic Environmental Assessment to describe and test the effect of the vision and outcomes on the environment. We will also carry out other Impact Assessments on the blue economy action plan.
Since the heart of the blue economy approach is the sense of shared stewardship, to operationalise the next phase of work, the following principles of partnership working will be used. We hope this will foster trust and respect by creating space for open and honest dialogue, consistent with Scottish Government principles for business engagement as set out below:
- Alignment with Scotland’s economic vision – a shared recognition that we all want economic policies which deliver and optimise positive outcomes, demonstrated through co-production of a programme of action;
- Co-production adds value – collaboration, whilst often resource-intensive and difficult, will optimise outcomes;
- Lived experience adds value – will be at the heart of developing all Scottish Government policy and services which impact on business;
- Evidence is paramount – a shared commitment to evidence-based policy development, and evaluation, that promotes diversity and inclusion in a transparent way
- Effective Communications – communications should be timely, meaningful and avoid surprises, underpinned by confidentiality where appropriate and mutual respect including when we do not agree.
The Scottish Government wants to position Scotland at the forefront of activity to develop the blue economy approach from a model into reality. We will work collaboratively, at home and internationally, to do so. We will now develop a blue economy action plan that will set out what we are doing and what we need to do to deliver these six outcomes and bring this vision to life.
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