The MSPglobal Initiative is developing mapping exercises to characterize current conditions and develop potential scenarios in two transboundary areas: the Southeast Pacific and the West Mediterranean. On 21 October 2020, the project organized an event in Spanish to present publicly these results for the first time.
Alejandro Iglesias Campos, IOC-UNESCO Programme Specialist and MSPglobal Project Coordinator, started the event by presenting all activities already implemented in both pilot cases but also in other countries. Eight training courses on Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) and Blue Economy have already been delivered to the beneficiary countries of the project.
In total, with the additional support of different IOC-UNESCO Member States, such as Sweden, the Netherlands and Turkmenistan, activities have been implemented in 75 different countries with more than 5,000 people participating in the last two years.
Michele Quesada da Silva, MSPglobal Regional Coordinator for the Southeast Pacific pilot project, presented an overview of the topics considered during the characterization of the Gulf of Guayaquil, a cross-border bay shared by Ecuador and Peru.
She explained the methods and main results related to the: governance framework; environmental characterization; main maritime sectors present in the region; use-use and use-environment (in)compatibilities; as well as the main cross-border issues identified in the area.
She concluded with two key messages: i) not all conflicts and synergies are related to spatial use, some being a matter of management; and ii) transboundary issues are not about the use of the same exact space but rather how national decisions about maritime activities on one side of the border can affect the other side of the border, as well as the good environmental status of the whole Gulf of Guayaquil.
Niccolò Bassan, an Italian researcher and MSP consultant, presented the general concept and relevance of transboundary aspects in the Mediterranean.
His presentation also showcased other transboundary projects in the sea basin, which were collaboratively developed by researchers and governmental representatives of EU Member States. Indeed, a new project for the Mediterranean has just started its implementation: MSP-MED. Within this context, the added value of the MSPglobal Initiative is the possibility of also bringing to this dialogue the non-EU Member States of the Mediterranean.
Firdaous Halim and Cristina Cervera Núñez, both former MSPglobal consultants for the pilot case in the West Mediterranean, presented the current and potential future conditions for the area.
The Mediterranean Sea is recognized as one of the 25 main critical areas for biodiversity in the world. However, its biodiversity is in decline. Firdaous highlighted that although about 10% of the Mediterranean has been designated as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), less than 2% of the sea basin is covered by MPAs with management plans effectively implemented, as is the case in other regions of the world.
On the other hand, the intensive development of maritime sectors in the region requires more planning to resolve conflicts, both between sectors competing for space and between neighboring countries.
Three scenarios were developed for the region according to different main drivers: trend scenario; conservationist scenario; and integrated scenario. Cristina clarified that the scenarios developed are not official proposals but exploratory analysis to support an initial dialogue among beneficiary countries in the Mediterranean about the future they want for the region.
The same scenarios approach used in the West Mediterranean pilot is under development for the Gulf of Guayaquil.
The session’s audience was composed of 94 participants from 17 countries, mainly from Latin America.