Humans worldwide, especially coastal communities are becoming increasingly dependent on the marine environment and the benefits it provides as a source of livelihood, health, and wellbeing. However, only healthy oceans and coasts can provide a myriad of benefits to us. Our ocean is facing immense pressures due to the growing dependency and the often-conflicting needs of us as marine resource users. Responding to this global issue, several UK and Southeast Asian (SEA) researchers from different disciplines banded together and came up with a solution. Funded by United Kingdom Research & Innovation (UKRI) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), the Blue Communities program consists of international project partners from various research institutions, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and local stakeholders in the UK and Southeast Asia. The program aims at developing the capabilities of UK, SEA researchers and local stakeholders in carrying out research that combines multiple disciplines. It is a research capacity building program emphasizing on knowledge exchange, collaboration, co-creation and co-delivery between the academics and local stakeholders including the coastal communities. The end goals of Blue Communities are to support marine planning and management initiatives in promoting sustainable use of marine space and resources to protect our ocean while also ensuring the coastal communities’ survival. The program intends to achieve these goals through the integration of research and capacity building activities related to the marine ecosystems, their values, and benefits, public health, and governance/marine management approaches.
Project Result(s) / Impact(s)
The project impacts are summarized in the following diagrams. The pathways to impact are planned in accordance with the Quadruple Helix Model of innovative framework to ensure the interactions of all stakeholders within an integrated knowledge web.
Diagram 1: Blue Communities Malaysia’s Pathway to Impact
Diagram 2: Mapping of Blue Communities Malaysia’s research capacity building for
impacts (cross-sector stakeholders-activities category-intervention-SDGs)
The tagline for United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) is “Leaving No One Behind.” Please explain how the nominated project helps to realize and advance the commitment of UNSDGs for the future. Highlight any other SDG(s) that your project has directly or indirectly created positive impact to people and society
The Blue Communities program is in line with the UNSDGs tagline of “Leaving No One Behind” and responds to UNSDGs of #1 No Poverty, #2 Zero Hunger, #3 Good Health and Wellbeing and #14 Life Below Water. The key aim of the program is to support the livelihood, food security, health, and wellbeing of the coastal communities in Southeast Asia through integrated marine planning and management. Since the beginning of the program, the emphasis has always been co-creation and co-delivery between academics and stakeholders. To achieve this, we practice inclusivity in our research and engagement activities. Please refer to Diagram 2 for the mapping overview of capacity building activity categories and respective interventions, cross-sector stakeholders, and SDGs.