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Public debate
La mer en débat
Foundation 19 March 2024

Public debate : La mer en débat

The sea, vast and mysterious, is an essential resource and a fragile ecosystem requiring thoughtful, concerted management. With this in mind, a public debate entitled ‘La Mer en Débat’ has been organised, running from 20 November 2023 to 26 April 2024. The aim of this debate is to inform and involve all members of the public, whether coastal residents or not, in the decisions that are crucial to the future of the sea and coastlines.

Five major interdependent issues

During the debate, five major interdependent issues were identified, each of which is of vital importance to the health and sustainability of our marine and coastal ecosystems:

  1. The environment, biodiversity and climate: How can we protect marine ecosystems from climate change and pollution?
  2. Maritime and coastal activities: How can economic development be reconciled with the preservation of marine environments?
  3. Offshore wind power and the energy transition: How can offshore renewable energies be developed while minimising the impact on biodiversity?
  4. Relations between land and sea: How can interactions between land and sea activities be managed?
  5. Governance of the sea involving stakeholders and citizens: How can we ensure participatory and integrated management of maritime areas?

Why a public debate?

A public debate is essential to tackle these issues in an inclusive and transparent way. Achieving good marine environmental status requires close planning involving the State and all stakeholders. It is against this backdrop that the façade strategic document (DSF) is being drawn up for each maritime façade in mainland France over a six-year period.

The aim of this public debate, organised by the Commission Nationale du Débat Public (CNDP), is to open a dialogue on crucial issues such as the protection of marine ecosystems, the sharing of maritime spaces and development objectives, particularly with regard to offshore wind farms and maritime protected areas.

Priorities of the National Maritime and Coastal Strategy (SNML)

The National Maritime and Coastal Strategy (SNML) highlights several key priorities:

  1. Carbon neutrality: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate the effects of climate change on the oceans.
  2. Preserving biodiversity: Protecting marine species and their habitats.
  3. Equity and economic development: Promoting sustainable and equitable economic development.

These priorities are set out in the Schéma de Façade Maritime (SFM), which promotes the cohabitation of human activities with the preservation of biodiversity.

Increasing the number of strong protection zones

A crucial objective of this strategy is to achieve 3% of strong protection zones on the west coast of the Channel. The creation of these areas is based on three main criteria:

  1. The interest of the area: ecological value and biodiversity.
  2. Documentary management: Implementation of management and monitoring plans.
  3. The control system: Monitoring and enforcement of regulations.

Mapping by GéoLittoral

To support this planning, the GéoLittoral mapping portal provides an essential tool. This portal allows you to view the geographical data essential to marine and coastal planning, cross-reference various types of information and produce customised maps incorporating elements such as maritime traffic, protected areas and wind farms. More information is available on the GéoLittoral portal.

The Race for Water Foundation took an active part in the ‘La Mer en Débat’ debate, with Jeanne attending the session in Lorient. Jeanne was able to make significant contributions on the theme of ‘Ocean and Climate’, underlining the importance of decarbonising maritime transport. In addition to her contributions, she also took part in the maritime planning mural, helping to visualise and plan sustainable solutions for our oceans.

‘La Mer en Débat’ represents a crucial step towards more sustainable and participatory management of our oceans and coasts. By involving citizens and local stakeholders, this public debate aims to ensure that the decisions taken reflect the concerns and aspirations of all. It is a call to action to protect and preserve our seas for future generations.

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