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Oceans and fisheries
News announcement6 October 2021Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries2 min read

European Commission and UNESCO launch flagship guide on Maritime Spatial Planning

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As we are developing the sustainable blue economy, Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) is an effective tool to coordinate the different activities at sea and prevent conflicts over the use of maritime space.  Building on decades of global leadership in setting up MSP guidelines, UNESCO and the European Commission are now launching a new MSP flagship guide. The guide will help planners shape their maritime space in a way that contributes to the sustainable governance of our seas and ocean.

Produced jointly by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO and the European Commission, the ‘MSPglobal International Guide on Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning’ contains a diversity of topics, case studies and actions. Its goal is to assist governments, partners and practitioners worldwide to develop a multi-sectoral participatory process for planning and management of the ocean and coastal zones.

From setting the scene and designing the planning process to implementation and evaluation, the publication draws on the expertise and experience accumulated worldwide on technical, practical and conceptual aspects related to MSP. It addresses new and emerging issues related to ecosystem-based management, such as the blue economy and climate change, and incorporates MSP within the more global context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

I have no doubt that this comprehensive, up-to-date document will immediately become the reference for MSP practitioners. It has been drawn up by experts from around the world, for the world”, said Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries. He added: “We will keep working together and with other international partners to promote maritime spatial planning  so that everywhere in the world the blue economy can develop sustainably, and man-made impacts on the ocean are kept in check.”

The International Guide on MSP was officially launched during the final conference of the joint IOC-UNESCO/DG MARE MSPglobal Initiative, which took place on Tuesday 5 October 2021 during a major virtual event. Discussions focused on sharing good MSP practices from different regions, as well as the role of institutions such as the IOC-UNESCO and European Commission in promoting and strengthening successful MSP implementation.

Through its three years of activities, the MSPglobal Initiative promoted a multi-sectoral and participatory approach at national and regional scale to achieve long-term sustainable use of ocean resources. It also contributed to advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), coordinated by the IOC-UNESCO. MSPglobal is part of the 2017 Joint Roadmap to accelerate Maritime/Marine Spatial Planning processes worldwide and received €1.4M in co-financing from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

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Publication date
6 October 2021
Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries