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PREP4BLUE pilot activity funding: Engaging citizens in Mission Ocean

At the recent UN Ocean Decade Conference in Barcelona, Prep4Blue (Funded by the European Union through its Horizon Europe Program, Grant No. 101056957) co-organised four official Satellite events dedicated to engaging citizens in activities that work towards achieving the aims of the EU’s Mission to Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030 (Mission Ocean): Cities with the Ocean – Ocean science for the sustainable development of coastal cities and ports;  Empowering science, policy and society through co-design for sustainable ocean development; Diving from local to global ocean literacy: Exploring, sharing and developing successful practices to know, feel and join the living ocean; Enbluement: Connecting science and arts to expand our belonging to the ocean

These four events gathered three types of networks – coastal communities, ocean literacy and Ocean&Arts. To capitalise on the energy and discussions from the events and to catalyse the creation of a Mission Ocean citizen engagement Community of Practice, Prep4Blue is now offering small scale grants for pilot activity funding. Pilot actions should aim at engaging citizens in activities relevant to Mission Ocean, aimed at achieving its targets in terms of citizen engagement, and one or more of its overall objectives. The pilots will facilitate and/or develop success stories by a selected number of networks that could be replicated and/or upscaled in the future.

Selected proposals should aim at citizen engagement and mobilisation towards achieving one or more of Mission Ocean’s overall objectives, namely: 1) protect and restore marine and freshwater ecosystems and biodiversity; 2) prevent and eliminate pollution of our ocean, seas and waters; 3) make the sustainable blue economy carbon-neutral and circular. It should do this in a manner that engages directly with one or more of the Mission’s priorities in terms of citizen engagement. These include fostering social inclusion across activities, involving citizens in participatory processes concerning their aquatic resources, and including citizens in ocean literacy initiative; see pages 35 – 36 of the Mission Ocean implementation plan for a thorough list.

The call for proposals will open on May 22, 2024 and will remain open until June 20, 2024. The total amount available for pilot proposals is 13,500 €, to be distributed in proposals of up to 2,250 € each. All proposing teams will be invited to participate in a series of webinars on methodologies and strategies for citizen engagement with Mission Ocean. These webinars, which are aimed at providing citizen engagement and good participative practice resources, will be carried out in July 2024.

Successful proposals will be notified no later than 26 June 2024 and pilot actions are to be carried out between July 1 and November 30, 2024. Successful proposals will commit to the following: (a) to participate in the webinar series; (b) to implement one or more evaluation tools to assess changes in citizen perception and engagement in alignment with Mission Ocean targets and objectives; (c) to participate in a virtual meeting or equivalent activity addressed to the community of practice (CoP); (d) to present a one-page summary on the progress of the pilot action by October 7, 2024; and (e) to present a final report on the activity no later than November 30, 2024 (maximum 6 pages, following a format to be provided).

Proposals should meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Applicants must represent an NGO, non-profit group or civil organisation.
  • Applicants must have taken part in one of Prep4Blue’s four Satellite events at the Ocean Decade conference in Barcelona.
  • Applicants must have capacity to undertake their pilot activity and deliver their final report by 30 November 2024.

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