Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission


Blueprint demonstration for co-created effective, efficient and resilient networks of MPAs

BLUE4ALL proposes a new approach for marine protected areas (MPAs), aligning a bottom-up strategy with the top-down regulatory expectations defined by the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 and national initiatives.

The project’s mission is to address the challenges faced in marine conservation and restoration in Europe, including the social acceptability of MPAs. This will result in the development of robust and replicable tools based on science.

BLUE4ALL places stakeholders at the “steering wheel” from the outset of the MPA process, emphasizing interaction and co-creation as the starting point. Drawing on the lessons learned from 25 information sites and Living Labs situated in the Mediterranean Sea, Baltic Sea, and North-East Atlantic regions, BLUE4ALL will create a user-friendly platform for MPA managers and authorities, designed to preserve and restore the marine environment.

Living Labs represent a socially innovative format for open and ongoing dialogue, with the goal of understanding the interests and requirements of various stakeholders. This engagement is expected to empower key local actors, enabling co-development and co-management, and fostering buy-in and ownership from the onset.

BLUE4ALL is a Horizon Europe Mission Ocean project that began in January 2023 and is scheduled to run for four years until January 2027.


• BLUE4ALL aims to align top-down regulatory demands regarding European (networks of) marine protected areas (MPAs) with bottom-up societal expectations, ensuring the effectiveness, efficiency and resilience of MPAs and networks of MPAs, as well as addressing the design of other effective conservation measures (OECMs).

• BLUE4ALL maintains close collaboration with stakeholders involved in MPA processes across Europe. The project has secured the commitment of 11 information sites and 14 Living Labs, establishing a direct and tangible connection with the “field of MPAs and networks of MPAs”. BLUE4ALL will draw heavily from real-world examples in the MPA process, aiming not only to assess the challenges encountered during the MPA process and existing solutions (interaction with information sites) but also to co-create and test new solutions where needed (interaction with Living Labs). Co-creation and co-development are central themes in BLUE4ALL.

• The ultimate outcome of BLUE4ALL is the interactive project’s Blueprint Platform, a guide to effective, efficient and resilient (networks of) MPAs. The platform is designed to be applicable to MPAs at the pan-European level and beyond the EU. Its purpose is to support the EU’s leadership in international efforts to combat marine biodiversity loss.

Work packages

WP1: State of the art knowledge to underpin the Living Labs and blueprint development – provides a knowledge framework on those critical aspects needed to align the top-down and bottom-up approach towards MPA enlargement and management.

WP2: Science-based tools for socio-economic and governance solutions – develops state-of-the-art approaches for MPA management and societal processes for the extension of MPA networks in ways that are socially acceptable and that generate benefits to coastal communities.

WP3: Science-based tools for ecological and environmental solutions – develops an operational framework for the ecology-based design and management of local MPAs and regional MPA networks across European seas under current and future human use and climate change scenarios.

WP4: Learning and testing in Living Labs – drives forward the project’s bottom-up approach for development of governance, socio-economic and ecological tools for effective management of MPAs and MPA (networks)

WP5: BLUE4ALL Blueprint Platform – integrates BLUE4ALL findings into a user-friendly guidance for effective, efficient and resilient MPAs and MPA networks.

WP6: Communication, dissemination and exploitation

WP7: Project coordination and management




Mock Employee
Venla Ala-Harja

Project Researcher
+358 44 786 8240

Mock Employee
Lois Watt

Project Researcher
+358 44 730 9492