In order to promote sustainable development and management there is a need to think ahead, identify and understand the complex effects that activities have on the resources, other activities, people and their lives, balance and weigh the interests of all stakeholders, and where appropriate, take a pre-cautionary approach. This requires quality information and informed debate to generate either consensus and/or well informed decisions and long-term strategic solutions.
Although government, agencies and businesses have made some commitments to such an approach, the commitments to the mechanisms for delivery in relation to the Moray Firth (as other coastal areas in Scotland) are still not fully resolved, and are subject of much government discussion. There are a number of current initiatives that seek to meet this need. Indeed almost all area-based or sector-based strategies, plans and programmes now use the language of integrated planning and management to underpin sustainable development. And overlying these are integrated coastal management initiatives.
This is an opportunity for the Partnership as most such initiatives lack the neutrality and the skills to deliver sustainable development plans and processes. The Partnership has a track record as an honest broker, a long established network with a broad membership and facilitation/conflict resolution skills. The two related sets of core services that it can deliver in this regard is strategic analysis of issues relating to the management of the Moray Firth and facilitation services in support of specific area or sector based sustainable planning and management initiatives.
Maintaining a strategic, integrated overview of the Moray Firth is a key role of the Partnership and a critical component of Integrated Coastal Zone Management. This is delivered through the activities of the Strategic Group. The Strategic Group, fully established in January 2006, comprises up to 10 individuals, chosen for their particular and significant expertise in subject areas relevant to the integrated management of the Moray Firth and together providing a balanced, neutral and informed approach.