The 6th RSG meeting was held online on 19th May 2021 via MS Teams. The meeting was attended by the project RSG group members who have been selected on the basis of identified relevant representative stakeholders/bodies in the Cork region who can provide policy input and advice on good practices/initiative implementation throughout the project. 10 participants attended the meeting. Due to ongoing restrictions imposed by the Government during the Covid- 19 Global Pandemic, it was not possible to hold a physical RSG meeting. The RSG members were invited to attend online which was identified as being the most accessible meeting platform during national remote working stipulations. A quadruple helix approach was adopted incorporating representatives from University College Cork (UCC), different departments from Cork County Council (CCC), The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), LAWPRO, Teagasc, and Youghal Socio-Economic Group. Some stakeholder group members were not available due to prior commitments including representatives from the Southern Regional Assembly (SRA), the Forestry Service, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI). The stakeholder member from Youghal Municipal District Office (MDO) experienced technical difficulties entering the meeting. RSG members unable to attend were contacted separately via follow-up emails. Furthermore, a call meeting took place with the Regional Planning Officer from the Southern Regional Assembly in advance of the meeting to discuss the project action plan and outlined approach to implementation of Action 1 in particular. The main topics of the RSG meeting were the discussion of the Draft Regional Action Plan document and ecosystem services as a concept together with policy integration.
Three main presentations were given to the group during the meeting with active group discussion encouraged after each. The first presentation related primarily to a project progress update reiterating target outcomes, project requirements, referring to previous online RSG meetings, online project consortium meetings, regional target policy delivery & local policy development on ecosystem services, publication of two Good Practices (LAWPRO & the BRIDE project) on Interreg’s PLP Good Practice database, project dissemination via presentation to a local community environment group in Youghal, the published academic paper, University workshop held in October 2020, Case Study document preparation, finalization of the project Regional Action Plan document and next steps in the project. The second presentation set out the concept of Ecosystem Services using the DPSIR framework, the Valuation approach to the Blackwater Catchment, and the methodology employed in incorporating ecosystem services assessment into local decision/policy-making and application to the project action plan. The third presentation focused on the draft project Regional Action Plan document (circulated to the group in advance of the meeting). Following each of the presentations, the RSG members were invited to ask questions, put forward suggestions and comment on presentations given. Open group discussion was encouraged to maximize feedback and inclusion of group members as part of a shared learning experience and inter-personal learning. The main group discussion topics at the meeting were the draft project Regional Action Plan document, action implementation, local policy development, the proposed development sites under consideration in Youghal and issues with the language/interpretation of ecosystem services as a concept. This aligns with the next focus of the project on the finalization of the project Regional Action Plan at the end of Phase 1 and action implementation during Phase 2 of the project.