Regional cooperation for European seas: Governance models in support of the implementation of the MSFD

J.P.M. van Tatenhove, J. Raakjaer, J. van Leeuwen, L.J.W. van Hoof

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21 Citations (Scopus)


During the implementation process of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), Member States are expected to cooperate and coordinate at the regional sea level as wells as arrange stakeholder involvement. However, the MSFD does not specify any governing structures to do so. The aim of this paper is to address these key challenges of the MSFD by developing four governance models for regional cooperation and assess their impact on governance performance. The four models are based on the building blocks of stakeholder involvement (low or high) and decision-making power (binding or non-binding decisions): (1) Cross-border platforms; (2) Regional Sea Convention-PLUS; (3) Advisory Alliance and (4) Regional Sea Assembly. Secondly, the paper will do an ex ante assessment on how the alternative models will have an impact on governance performance. The assessment criteria for governance performance are: (a) costs to set up and run a model; (b) capacity to cooperate; (c) policy coordination; (d) institutional ambiguity; and (e) implementation drift. In addition to this assessment of the performance based on expert judgement (i.e. scientists of WP7 of the ODEMM project), 4 roundtable discussions have been undertaken in which stakeholders from the four regional seas did an assessment of the four models. The main conclusion is that increasing stakeholder participation, a much desired development in regional organisation of marine management as expressed by the stakeholder community, will increase the costs of the policy making process. If stakeholder participation is not embedded in a wider institutional setting in which the participation of stakeholders is directly related to the policy process and the degree to which decisions taken are binding, the increase of costs does not lead to a more smoothly running model.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-372
Number of pages9
JournalMarine Policy
Issue numberpart B
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • stakeholder involvement
  • marine
  • netherlands

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