Campaign “My Sea”
About this good practice
The campaign “My Sea” combines citizen science approach, awareness raising and environmental advocacy. Since 2012, the organization maintains the monitoring programme of beach marine litter in Latvia. Over the years it has been developed so that currently it represents a very broad coverage of the monitoring sites all along the coastline, with 42 summer sites and 17 seasonal monitoring sites included. The monitoring programme allows for the campaign not only to get national data that are to be collected under framework of MSFD, but also to analyse the trends and situation in depth and provide municipalities and local stakeholders with recommendations of measures to be taken for the improvement of the situation. The campaign has become backbone of national policies in the field of marine litter. "My sea" was developed as a tool for citizen and stakeholder involvement and organizes awareness raising initiatives, ensuring that marine litter issues are noticed and recognized. The core part of campaigns public work and profile has became the annual Green Expedition that takes place each year in the form of expedition along whole coastline of Latvia, where everybody interested in the topic of marine litter and wider spectrum of coastal protection and sustainable coastal management can take part.
The campaign is implemented in cooperation with partners – public administration institutions, municipalities, NGOs, international institutions, research institutes and active citizens.
The resources needed for maintaining data line and implementing monitoring programme and organising public involvement and awareness raising initiatives, as well as working on advocacy for policy improvements in the field of marine litter are included. Annual budget for activities is ~40,000 eur.
Evidence of success
Data and analysis of the campaign is currently being used as backbone on national policies in the field (Programme of Measures under MSFD, Coastal Spatial planning etc).
For its approach and activities campaign have been recognised both on national international scale and has received number of environmental awards in Latvia (National Environmental education and Science award, National Public Health Award) and internationally (Baltic Sea Prize Grand Prix, Energy Globe)
Potential for learning or transfer
Campaigns main lessons, when analysing it’s implementation and nominal success, includes potential for learning and adaptation in other regions that would allow to improve and maximise potential from citizen and NGO initiatives in similar activities. Two main aspects / lessons from the campaings experience that can be utilised are following:
- The combination of awareness raising, citizen science, direct participation and policy work and advocacy efforts can maximise potential for impact and mobilise wider resources for changes and improvements.
- The design of the monitoring coverage allows to use collected data not only for research and reporting under different international commitments (HELCOM, EU), but also allows to develop very local and even site specific recommendations for measures and improvements.