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The process in ICES of opening up to increased stakeholder engagement (1980–2020)

Mark Dickey-Collas and Marta Ballesteros

Record created 03/12/2021 | Last updated 03/12/2021
CRR Issue 353


The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) is unique in its role as a marine science organization that develops science and advice to support the sustainable use of the seas and oceans. Boundary issues in the marine science for policy arena are at the core of ICES. Keeping boundaries between science and policy maintains credibility, while spanning boundaries facilitates agreements over what questions are being addressed, what evidence and expertise are used, and what processes are followed to ensure legitimacy and saliency. During the evolution of ICES, stakeholders have been used to sense test the science, build momentum for change in reforming processes, gather input for the strategic plans, participate in workshops to reform the advisory system, and engage in dialogue meetings to discuss research programmes and the basis for scientific advice. Now, ICES principles, policies, and strategic plan require stakeholder engagement. The current paths for participation are regulated (e.g. observers policy), voluntary (e.g. expert groups or workshops), incentivized by client requests (e.g. consultation or scoping exercises), or even advocated by paradigms of knowledge production (e.g. participatory research and co-creation). This report documents the time-line of opening up to increased stakeholder engagement, and includes an explanation of the current governance mechanisms of ICES, as a resource to contextualize the opening-up. It focuses on dialogue meetings, memoranda of understanding, grant agreements, engagement in science, and development of the observer policy.