Inclusive Governance for Ocean Conservation

Since their start in 2009, Healthy Ocean Coalition (HOC) has grown from a small, grassroots group to a strong coalition of 264 members. The HOC believes they are stronger and more influential together in advocating for the necessary change needed to mitigate the harm to the health of the ocean. In addition to their advocacy work, the HOC is well regarded for their in-person advocacy training retreats across the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Mid-west, Colorado, southern and central California, and Florida.

The Problem

Ocean conservation is different than other types of nature conservation. With land-based conservation, one can observe the forests, wetlands, or meadows that are being preserved. Oceans are in a category by themselves. Oceans are vast and the majority of their value is hidden underwater. This phenomenon has a couple of key implications.

  • First, it means that it is more challenging to raise awareness about the threats to ocean health; after all, it is hard to visualize something like ocean acidification and the impact that has on fisheries and marine mammals.
  • Second, it makes it more challenging to get significant public input from a diverse group of constituents for a more participatory process around ocean governance.

The Solution

Sustainable Economies Consulting and Lacy Consulting Services teamed up to facilitate the HOC strategic planning process. We designed a process that would allow for ambitious long-term outcomes as well as shared short-term priorities.

Perhaps the most notable element of the planning process was a two-day in-person trust building workshop and goal setting retreat. Why was this in-person event so crucial?

First, by having trust building workshop early in the strategic planning process, it meant the entire strategic plan was based upon a foundation of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice principles.

Second, the goal setting retreat focused on creating logic models. This meant that the team was able to ensure all outcomes were tied to data and scientific research.

Because of the project, the HOC now has:

  • An actionable strategic plan that supports equity and underserved communities as well as ocean conservation,
  • Created a diverse and inclusive Advisory Board,
  • A pathway forward to access new funding sources.

HOC Strategic Plan Report Final September 2022.pdf


Inclusive Governance for Ocean Conservation

United States


Healthy Ocean Coalition, Lacy Consulting Services

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