Expert Group

The MSPglobal Expert Group is made up of eight established and recognized individuals of high scientific standing in one or more key areas relevant to MSP and Sustainable Blue Economy, from all regions of the world. It will define and contribute to the contents of the International MSP Guidelines based on inputs from the pilot projects in the West Mediterranean and Southeast Pacific, as well as review and compile existing and emerging cross-border and transboundary MSP initiatives.

The Expert Group will hold its first meeting in Riga (Latvia) on 22-23 November 2019, immediately after the 4th edition of the MSPforum in which the members will also take part.

Composition of the Expert Group:

Joseph Kofi Ansong

Joseph Kofi Ansong is a PhD researcher at Ulster University in the United Kingdom. His work experience spans both marine planning research and consultancy. He previously worked with Sustainable Projects (s.Pro) in Germany, University College Cork in Ireland, and Management Systems International in Ghana.

He has worked on MSP projects in Africa and Europe including Supporting the Implementation of MSP in the Celtic Seas (SIMCelt), USAID’s Sustainable Fisheries Management Project, Multi-Use in European Seas (MUSES) Project and the EU MSP Platform. Joseph is a co-author of the GEF LME:LEARN Marine Spatial Planning Toolkit, the Ocean Multi-Use Action Plan and European Commission-DG MARE technical study on cross-border MSP consultation. He has an Erasmus Mundus Master’s degree in Maritime Spatial Planning from the University of Venice, University of Sevilla and University of Azores.

Ingela Isaksson

Ingela Isaksson has been working since 2006 in sustainable ecosystem-based marine management for regional and national governmental agencies in Sweden. She holds a position at the County Administrative Board of Västra Götaland. Ingela coordinates transboundary collaboration and planning at different scales: from local to international. Her priorities are to create and strengthen networks and collaborations contributing to a sustainable society.

Since 2015, Ingela has coordinated EU-funded collaborations in the Baltic Sea Region on behalf of the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management. With her coordination, maritime spatial planning authorities, regional sea organisations and academia jointly develop planning solutions to transboundary issues, planning processes and planning evidence for decision-making. Ingela is responsible for coordinating the regional development of one of three marine spatial plans in Sweden. She chairs several advisory and end-user groups of EU-funded projects. Ingela holds a PhD in marine zoology with a focus on shallow coastal marine ecosystems, plant-animal interactions, eutrophication related issues and biodiversity.

Fátima Lopes Alves

Fátima Lopes Alves has a PhD in Sciences Applied to the Environment. She is professor with habilitation in the Department of Environment and Planning, University of Aveiro, and researcher at the Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM). With more than 26 years of professional experience, her main fields of expertise are coastal and marine governance, environmental impact assessment and strategic environmental assessment. She is participating/has participated in national and international research projects on integrated coastal zone management, maritime spatial planning and environment and socioeconomic assessment, some of them related to MSP in a transboundary context (SIMATLANTIC, SIMNORAT, TPEA).

She is also a member of the coordination team of the Portuguese Maritime Spatial Planning and Coastal Zone Management Plans in the Portuguese mainland and of Azores islands. She is the national coordinator of strategic environmental assessment studies of Portuguese MSP, as well as expert for international enterprises such as B&S Europe (Brussels) and GIZ (German) in the scope of Marine Protected Area in the Atlantic Space, and in the scope of MSP in Angola for the Benguela Current Convention. Presently, she is the President of the Ports of Aveiro and Figueira da Foz (Portugal).

Michele Quesada-Silva

Michele Quesada-Silva is a Brazilian marine spatial planner committed to improving stakeholder participation in MSP processes. She has been working on this topic since 2017 as a consultant, as well as a researcher, for different MSP initiatives (MSPglobal, MSP Sweden, SPINCAM, GEF LME:LEARN, MUSES and MSP in Brazil). As a consultant for IOC-UNESCO, for example, Michele developed and is now implementing the MSPglobal Strategy for Public Participation. While engaging with MSP actors, she is also dedicated to capacity building on MSP and blue economy.

Before working on MSP, as a Biologist, Michele worked on analysis to avoid anthropogenic impacts on marine ecosystems (e.g., impacts of the Oil & Gas industry during installation and decommissioning of submarine equipment). She considers her shift to the social aspects of environmental management as an expansion of her understanding about the complexity of knowledge and interests that need to be considered when dealing with ocean governance.

Joanna Smith

Dr. Joanna Smith is the Director, Ocean Planning and Mapping for Nature United, the Canadian affiliate of The Nature Conservancy (TNC). As TNC’s Global Marine Spatial Planning Lead, Dr. Smith works with governments, stakeholders, scientists and partners to discuss strategy and develop MSP processes including frameworks, planning tools, science, sustainable development and best practices. Joanna’s MSP experience spans more than a decade and advising more than 10 nations. Since 2014, Joanna has been the Seychelles MSP Process and Science Lead to develop a marine spatial plan with the Government of Seychelles.

Joanna received a Ph.D. in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences at the University of Washington, USA. Dr. Smith’s research background includes fisheries, seabirds, bycatch, oceanography and island biogeography.  She is a collaborator with Open Channels and on the Editorial Board for The Skimmer.

Juan Luis Suárez-de Vivero

Juan Luis Suárez-de Vivero is Professor Emeritus of Marine Geography in the Department of Human Geography, University of Seville. His research activity is centred on the field of geographical consequences of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, maritime policy as well as ocean and coastal management. He has participated in various EASME marine spatial planning projects and is currently a member of the Macaronesia MSP project team in charge of developing the atlas in support of the plan.

He is also a local coordinator of the Erasmus Mundus Master on Marine Spatial Planning and has authored more than 90 academic publications in international journals and publishers.

Riku Varjopuro

Riku Varjopuro is leading the unit on Sustainable Use of the Sea Areas within the Marine Research Centre of the Finnish Environment Institute. This interdisciplinary unit produces scientific evidence and expert advice on maritime spatial planning and nature protection at sea. Varjopuro is working also as a MSP Advisor at the HELCOM Secretariat to support Baltic Sea region MSP collaboration. During his 20+ years’ experience in national and international projects, he has gained substantial expertise in marine governance and planning. The projects have addressed topics such as coastal management, environmental regulation of marine aquaculture, interactions between environment and fisheries and, most recently, EU marine protection policies and MSP.

As a social scientist, he focuses especially on the practices of decision making and participation, and he has also taken part in and coordinated policy evaluations. In the recent projects Baltic SCOPE and Pan Baltic Scope, he led tasks that developed methods for monitoring and evaluating marine spatial planning. Currently he is coordinating a three-year project that supports cross-border MSP in Estonian and Finnish waters.

Zhiwei Zhang

Dr. Zhang has been devoted to studies of coastal environment and management as well as interdisciplinary studies. His research interests include coastal zone management with a focus on integrated assessment, marine spatial planning, island protection and management.

Dr. Zhang has done lots of work to promote MSP theory and application research both in national and international jobs in the East and Southeast Asian area in the last ten years, including national, provincial and local level MSP projects in China and international level MSP cooperation with Thailand, South Korea and others. Dr. Zhang has more than twenty publications in domestic and international peer-reviewed academic journals and book/chapters. Currently, Dr. Zhang works at the Research Center for Island and Coastal Zone at the First Institute of Oceanography, Ministry of Natural Resources, China. He also serves as the Vice Secretary General of the Coastal Zone Development and Management Branch of the Chinese Society of Oceanography.

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