Marine environmental governance and management in Sweden from the 1960s until today : Did the actions suit the needs?

Abstract: This thesis investigates how governance and management relevant to the use and protection of the marine environment has emerged in Sweden from the 1960s until today. Focus is on how the modern environmental and nature conservation administration in Sweden developed the legal and organizational frameworks needed for proper management. More specifically – did the available tools suit the needs?The Swedish National Physical Planning system, initiated in the mid-1960s, pioneered the concept of ecology as basis for physical planning in Sweden. This introduced environmental considerations in societal planning, inter alia, through special national guidelines (geographical and for certain activities) for local authority planning. The National Physical Planning system strengthened the cooperation between local and regional (county) authorities and with central governmental bodies. With some delay, marine spatial planning became the instrument for coordinating and balancing competing demands on coastal and marine environments.Marine environmental governance and management are commonly linked to intergovernmental agreements, usually in the form of international conventions. Measures against pollution and other threats to the marine environment, as well as conservation of its natural resources and biodiversity, become more efficient when countries work together through global or regional organizations, rather than each country is acting on its own (Article I). However, it should be noted that in practice many intergovernmental agreements are less binding than first appears.While marine pollution began to be addressed and remedied in the 1980s, it was only in the 2000s that marine nature conservation and the establishment of marine protected areas began to receive increased attention and effective action (Article II).Marine nature conservation and fisheries often conflict, as the establishment of a marine protected area commonly involves a restriction on some ongoing fishing. Usually, such conflicts are related to differences in the objectives between marine protected areas established for environmental and fishery purposes, which often leads to strongly conflicting opinions on how to manage them (Articles II–III).Initial environmental and nature conservation efforts focused on measures against land, air and freshwater pollution, and the conservation of terrestrial environments. Excepting inner coastal areas, the open marine environment was not a focus of Swedish marine research although ecosystem research began early in the Baltic Sea. However, by the mid-1980s large-scale effects of pollution also on the open seas along the Swedish west coast, had become apparent and required environmental management actions (Article IV).

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