Challenges of cross-border collaboration and coordination in marine national parks.
A case study from the north-eastern Skagerrak region
Protection of marine areas is important to tackle global environmental challenges humanity faces and manage human activities in a sustainable way. Due to the lack of ecological boundaries in the seas, cross-border collaboration and coordination is essential. However, cross-border collaboration is often lined with challenges, such as the broad array of countries’ institutional designs. This master thesis aims to explore cross-border collaboration, identify challenges and how the collaboration may be affected by the institutional design of two adjacent Nordic marine national parks, Koster Sea in Sweden, and Outer Hvaler in Norway. The study is explorative and qualitative, comparing and analysing the two cases internally, and their interactions, using documents and interviews. A key focus is the countries’ institutional settings. Thus, the Institutional Analysis and Development framework provides an overarching theoretical structure to understand the role of institutions, complemented by a vertical policy hierarchy to unravel formal rules, and mandates on different institutional levels. Moreover, program logic models display conditions to carry out cross-border activities and how the activities are structured from start to finish. The analysis identifies three key challenges: different level priorities; divergent organisational structure and mandate; and degree of allocated resources and capacity. The identified challenges seem closely connected to the institutional design of each country, where internal structural differences seem to cause imbalances in the cross-border collaboration. Possible solutions include determining what cross-border collaboration mean in the specific context, plan for how to collaborate, formalise informal networks and most importantly, allocate resources for collaboration.