The World Ocean Council (WOC) effort to improve ocean business community engagement in marine spatial planning (MSP) and ocean policy in the US shifts into high gear with the appointment of Leslie-Ann McGee as WOC Programs Director.
Although these WOC efforts initially focus on the US, the outputs will be of importance to the ocean business community in other areas where ocean policy and MSP are actively being developed, e.g. Europe, Canada, Australia and elsewhere.
WOC said Ms. McGee will lead WOC Program efforts that include:
- Ensuring that national ocean policy and planning in the US has the coordinated, proactive involvement of a well-informed multi-industry leadership group.
- Developing a comprehensive understanding of the industry stakeholders in each of the nine National Ocean Policy regions in the US.
- Establishing a regional ocean business council in three of the US national ocean policy regions.
Organizing a national ocean policy conference for industry.
Ms. McGee comes to WOC from Battelle Memorial Institute, a WOC Member Company, where she served as the Director of Ocean and Coastal Solutions since 2009. Through her leadership, Battelle has played an important role in WOC progress, especially in MSP and the recent WOC Sustainable Ocean Summit, where she served as the SOS Vice Chair.
“The World Ocean Council has created an important non-confrontational, non-regulatory venue for the ocean business community to collaborate on ensuring responsible use of marine space and resources. I am very excited to join WOC in this journey and look forward to working with industry, government and NGO colleagues to contribute to WOC’s success,” noted Ms. McGee.
Ms. McGee co-chaired the MSP session at the recent Sustainable Ocean Summit (SOS 2013) where industry participants addressed the business case for MSP, how ocean industries can ensure they are informed and engaged in a coordinated, proactive manner and what is needed to make sure that MSP reflects the needs and opportunities for responsible economic activity.
Ms. McGee stated that, “Without informed and coordinated business involvement in MSP - which seeks to guide the intensity and location of uses in an area - there is a significant risk that planning will not fully consider existing and potential economic activities and will miss out on key marine resource, use and ecosystem information held by industry.”
Ms. McGee’s background makes her ideal for helping lead WOC efforts to develop collaboration and leadership in developing solutions to the shared marine environmental challenges facing ocean industries. She has experience, credentials and reputation as an excellent collaborator and has developed successful partnerships with industry, NGOs and other stakeholders to form cohesive management strategies.
“The connectivity of WOC’s work on marine spatial planning will benefit the other work programs of WOC such as Smart Oceans/Smart Industries, marine sound, biofouling and invasive species, the Arctic, etc. We are thrilled to be able to move forward aggressively and immediately on the issues of ocean policy, governance and marine spatial planning with the help of Leslie-Ann,” stated Paul Holthus, WOC Founding CEO and President.
In her role as Programs Director, Ms. McGee will support the development and implementation of the WOC Work Program. As such, her major focus will be to work with the CEO and WOC Members to coordinate collaborative efforts to develop science-based solutions to the priority shared marine environmental issues that have been identified and included in the WOC Work Program.