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2.4.1 Recommendations for implementing the process with the triage

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The triage process Glasses icon is to be implemented in a context where the first set of general recommendations on accurate expertise mobilisation and stakeholder engagement are carefully taken into account. From this perspective, the general recommendations together with the triage process form a flexible and operational framework to guide scientists and practitioners in undertaking comprehensive, transparent and appropriate marine ecosystem services assessments.

Marine ecosystem services assessments are context dependent, as the needs of managers and stakeholders, the services about which they are concerned, and the resources available for the assessment are highly variable.

This framework should not be seen as set of rigid and prescriptive rules that are applicable in their entirety to all circumstances. This necessitates a flexible guidance framework which can adapt to particular situations and evolving needs and circumstances. For instance, a first implementation of the framework could lead managers to develop a better understanding of the ecosystem services approach and to change their view on how they can use it within their work.

The three sequences of the triage process and nine questions do not necessarily need to be implemented in a systematic way. For instance, when sequence 1 Glasses icon reveals that the assessment pursues a broad objective, e.g. to improve knowledge of ecosystem services or to provide an initial diagnosis on particular policy issues, sequence 2 Glasses icon could be omitted, but sequence 3 Glasses icon on methods and means remains useful. However, when stakeholders already have a clear view of the aim and scope of the assessment – for example because they intend to compare management options which are on their agendas - (end of sequence 1), they should consider sequence 2 on the factors of change before entering into the section of assessment methods through sequence 3.

The term “value” is used throughout the triage process because valuation (monetary or otherwise) is often the ultimate purpose of a marine ecosystem services assessment. However,  triage remains appropriate where the marine ecosystem services assessment intends only to quantify the level of service provision. In such cases “service delivery” should be substituted for “value”.

Also, the list above describes the core of the triage, but it should not be considered exhaustive. There is room in this flexible framework for considering other factors, knowledge and expertise, such has how the marine ecosystem services assessment would complement other work begin undertaken locally, or the relevance of the findings beyond the study site.

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