Assessing policy coherence and coordination in the sustainable development of a Blue Economy. A case study from Timor Leste
2020 Elsevier Ltd The Blue Economy champions the sustainable development of ocean spaces. It is unclear whether this new concept requires a new set of governance principles and policies, or whether existing policy mechanisms can accommodate it. Using Timor Leste as a case study, we examine policy coherence and coordination across a range of maritime sectors. We do so through content analysis of formal instruments, such as legislation and policy documents, and semi-structured interviews with governance actors and organizations. We assess policy coherence by examining whether governance objectives are shared within and across existing sector-based policies, and the extent to which they are consistent with Blue Economy objectives. We explore policy coordination through network analysis of the connections between instruments as well as people. A number of gaps in the Timor Leste policy landscape are apparent, with weak governance around social objectives, particularly in the ports sector. In general, however, the existing governing system appears to be largely consistent with Blue Economy aspirations. In addition, there are existing, highly influential policy documents and organizations that are already playing a critical bridging role between sectors. Strengthening connections between sectoral management arrangements, through boundary organizations and amendments to existing instruments, may therefore be an efficient and pragmatic approach to Blue Economy implementation. This approach would allow more focused attention on plugging policy gaps and addressing deficiencies in the existing system.