UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) and the European Commission continue the implementation of their Joint Roadmap to accelerate Maritime/Marine Spatial Planning processes worldwide (#OceanAction15346). In line with the Priority area 1 dedicated to “Transboundary maritime/marine spatial planning”, the European Commission invited the IOC to apply in 2018 for an ad-hoc grant in the context of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund to develop internationally accepted guidelines for MSP, including transboundary projects in the Western Mediterranean and the Southeast Pacific and communication activities to support the Joint Roadmap.
The project proposal for MSPglobal presented by the IOC to the European Commission was accepted, receiving financial support up to 80% (1.400.000 EUR) of the total budget (1.750.000 EUR). The initiative started in November 2018 and the opening ceremony took place in Paris (France) in February 2019, with the participation of more than 100 participants from 59 different countries.
Priority area 4 of the Joint Roadmap on MSP is dedicated to capacity building, both training for planners around the world and the specific pilots to build capacity building on MSP linked with the local communities of the pilot case study of the MSPglobal project in the Southeast Pacific.
Trainings and seminars have been jointly organized by the IOC and European Commission in the context of the Joint Roadmap in Marrakech (Morocco), Nairobi (Kenya), Hanoi (Viet Nam), Turkmenbashi (Turkmenistan), Zagreb (Croatia), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Lima (Peru), Panama City (Panama), Cartagena de Indias (Colombia), Rome (Italy), Madrid (Spain), Guayaquil (Ecuador), Libreville (Gabon), Rabat (Morocco) and São Paulo (Brazil). Dedicated sessions on marine spatial planning and blue economy were also organized during the European Maritime Day in Lisbon (Portugal) in May 2019. The Government of the Netherlands, the Government Offices of Sweden, the Government of Turkmenistan, the Government of Argentina, the Government of Viet Nam, PAP/RAC, the Permanent Commission for the Southeast Pacific and the Global Environmental Facility provided support to the Joint Roadmap.
Through Priority area 5/Action IX (“Creation of an international forum for MSP”), the European Commission and IOC organized together the first edition of the International MSPforum in Brussels (Belgium) in May 2018. 150 planners from all across the globe gathered together to discuss issues related to planning at sea and brainstormed ahead of the internationally accepted guidelines for marine/maritime spatial planning. The second edition took place in March 2019 on the island of La Réunion (France) and the third in Vigo (Spain) in May 2019. The Maritime Spatial Planning Forum: Global Meets Regional organized in November 2019 in Riga (Latvia) served as a joint event for the 4th edition of the International MSPforum, 3rd Baltic MSP Forum as well as the final conference of the Pan Baltic Scope project.
With regard to Priority area 2 on Blue Economy and its Action IV on “Studies on MSP and Blue Growth”, the study MSP for Blue Growth was published on 16 April 2018. Commissioned by the European Commission (DG MARE), it provides information on how MSP can help coastal states to foster the potential for a Sustainable Blue Economy. The European Commission also contributed to Action V on “MSP and Blue Growth conferences” with the organization of the MSP for Blue Growth Conference in Brussels (Belgium) in October 2017. It served to share practices on how MSP can lead to certainty and sustainability of our ocean economies and facilitate cross-sector integration. Conference documents are available here.