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Charts a Course for Resilient Spatial Planning in the North Sea

In order to unravel the complexity of risks and hazards in the North Sea, the First Focus Group, under the MYRIAD-EU initiative, convened on December 7th, 2023, to present interim results and address a critical challenge. The primary aim? Understanding how spatial planning at the land-sea interface can be optimised amidst escalating and interrelated risks.

The North Sea Pilot First Focus Group embarked on a journey to provide insights into risks, hazards, and their interrelationships across various sectors. The presentations delved into climate prospects for the North Sea, highlighting the main hazards and the multi-sector risks that intertwine. It was a comprehensive discussion, focusing on potential measures in planning and operation, including Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) strategies.

One of the key challenges addressed was the optimisation of spatial planning at the interface of land and sea environments. How can decision-makers navigate increasing and interrelated risks in this dynamic region? This challenge aligns with the overarching question in MYRIAD-EU.

The outcomes were rich and enlightening. The discussion showcased an understanding of the complexity involved in managing risks, emphasising the importance of problem ownership. The sectors, with numerous examples, recognised their influence on each other.

A significant aspect of the outcomes was the identification of goals for each sector, projecting into 2050. The reflective session on the storyline approach emphasised the importance of decision-making, trade-offs, and synergies in the context of a resilient North Sea.

Furthermore, sectors acknowledged the growing interrelated risks, highlighting the urgent need for real integrated planning and decision-making. The North Sea First Focus Group, with its interim results, has set the stage for a collaborative and proactive approach to spatial planning, aiming for a resilient and sustainable future in the face of dynamic and interconnected risks.