Marlisco aimed to 1) raise public awareness about the consequences of common behaviour related to waste production and management in socio-ecological marine systems, 2) promote co-responsibility among involved actors, 3) define a more sustainable collective vision for the use of the ocean, and 4) facilitate grounds for concerted actions. It therefore facilitated a mutual mobilisation and learning process among key stakeholders from industry, science, society and end users in 15 European countries. This process included the development of an action plan to change societal attitudes and perceptions.
The project deliberately tried to increase the diversity of participants. Engagement modalities varied from surveys to online forums to live forums to campaigns. Many activities took place near the public, that is, in regular, accessible venues around the country, including public libraries, schools, city halls, beaches, science centres and theatres.
Most of the substantive project reports are available online, some accompanied by summaries and visualisations of selected results. The project included nationwide public presentations of these results, which were based on clear, visual information. Some material was prepared by participating stakeholders (e.g., teachers and students), who incorporated songs, videos, short stories and exhibitions.
Inviting stakeholders to open up to each other was one of the aims of this project. Different formats and platforms for more- or less-structured dialogue were made available, depending on the specific groups of stakeholders involved. Formats and platforms included surveys; participatory exhibitions; songs, short stories and video contests; online and live forums in different places and contexts; and practical activities, such as collective beach cleaning.
As organisers started to understand what stakeholders knew about marine litter (its legislation, regulation and good practices), this was translated into stakeholders’ information needs. All activities were designed according to those needs, and partnerships were established to help address them.
A major opportunity that emerged from this practice – as a possible venue for the continuation and development of its initiatives – was the creation of the Portuguese Marine Litter Association. If and how the results will be considered at the governance level is not yet clear.
By effectively distributing RRI activities among stakeholders (through O&T). Marlisco highlights RRI’s potential in sharing responsibilities for societal challenges in ways that build on individual stakeholders’ unique strengths and opportunities.