The Mediterranean is one of the busiest seas in the world: different sectors and uses are competing with each other and with nature, as such creating pressure on the environment – but also highlighting the need for Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) processes in the region. In the framework of its pilot project in the West Mediterranean, MSPglobal organized four thematic online seminars over the course of November and December 2020, which brought together more than 450 participants.
The first event took place on 3 November on the topic of international cooperation in the context of MSP and Blue Economy, with representatives from Italy, Tunisia, Spain and WWF France. They discussed existing cooperation amongst science, research and maritime sectors; identified opportunities and challenges to strengthen strategic partnerships, as well as potential solutions and validated practices to ensure ecosystem-based approached principles in MSP.
The second event took place on 12 November on options for the multi-use of the ocean space, with representatives from the EU MSP Platform, Italy, Morocco and France. They discussed existing initiatives or examples of multi-use; identified the potential of multi-use in their country’s jurisdictional waters and opportunities for cooperation with neighboring countries in the West Mediterranean, as well as major obstacles to these processes.
The third event took place on 24 November on the spatial dimension of maritime aquaculture in the context of MSP, with representatives from France, Morocco and Italy. They discussed the types, geographical distribution and spatial needs of aquaculture sites in their countries; identified interactions and conflicts with other sectors, as well as relevant characteristics to select an area for offshore aquaculture. A representative from the European Commission provided an overview of the sector in the European Union, noting that the Strategic Guidelines for the sustainable development of EU aquaculture are currently being revised.
Similarly, the fourth and final event took place on 2 December on the spatial dimension of port infrastructures in the context of MSP, with representatives from Algeria, France, Morocco and Tunisia. They discussed the value and presence of ports of national interest, including temporal aspects (seasonality of certain activities); identified interactions and conflicts with other sectors, as well as future infrastructure and strategy developments. A representative from the FAO presented the Blue Ports Network, an initiative with the aim to foster the sustainable development of coastal areas by encouraging and assisting with the implementation of blue economy approaches in ports’ strategical and operational processes. UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission supports this initiative.
For each event, both speakers and participants defined recommendations on the specific topic in order to assist Member States in developing a regional MSP roadmap for the WestMED, in line with the WestMED Initiative.
MSPglobal pilot project in the West Mediterranean