Brazilian and Uruguayan experts advance recommendations for Marine Spatial Planning and Sustainable Blue Economy

A binational training course brought together experts from Brazil and Uruguay in São Paulo (Brazil) between 9-12 December 2019 to share experience and knowledge on processes related to Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) and Sustainable Blue Economy in the region.

The overall objective of the training was to increase the participants’ institutional and technical capacities to respond to challenges in coastal and marine environments and find practical solutions through MSP and Sustainable Blue Economy.

Whether from government institutions or academia, the experts engaged in discussions about data and information and stakeholder engagement, alongside presentations on the status of MSP implementation at national level in Brazil, Uruguay and Sweden. Both Latin American countries aim to have their marine spatial plans by 2030, while after a long process of dialogue and consultation with stakeholders, Sweden has just finished its plan, which is now waiting for governmental approval.

Gonçalo Carneiro (Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management) emphasized the need to transform data into relevant information for planning. The Brazilian representative Rodrigo Carvalho (Secretariat of the Interministerial Commission for Sea Resources) explained that they developed a list of almost 50 themes to characterize the current conditions of the area; the idea is to compile and integrate the data and information in an existing Brazilian geoportal called INDEM. In the case of Uruguay, Romina Trinchin Tabárez (Institute of Meteorology) showed some results of this MSP step of characterizing the maritime area, made possible thanks to the support of the University of the Republic.

After theoretical sessions, the MSP Challenge game was used to simulate a transboundary planning process between three fictitious countries, during which participants were asked to define the vision, objectives, indicators, actions and stakeholders for short and long-term.

A full day was dedicated to visiting 40 local stakeholders from different sectors in the area of Santos, such as the Federal University of São Paulo, Port Authority, Fisheries Institute and Petrobras. Participants reported their findings with the other groups the next day, describing the maritime activity, stakeholder perspective on MSP, as well as suggestions to improve the link between the sector and the MSP process. For more information, please check the presentations available below.

The last day of the course was also dedicated to discussing Sustainable Blue Economy and land-sea interactions, including the governance links between integrated coastal management and MSP. Gonçalo Carneiro highlighted that Blue Economy development depends on investors, while MSP can set the scene to attract them.

Participants advanced recommendations for their national marine spatial plans and the specific aspects that can be addressed between Uruguay and Brazil. Representatives from both countries suggested taking the opportunity of the networking established during this training course to strengthen binational cooperation, expand the scope of current initiatives to include the MSP topic, as well as create new ones at governmental level and between universities.

The training was organized in the context of the collaboration established by the IOC-UNESCO Secretariat with the Government Offices of Sweden and the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in support of the Joint Roadmap to accelerate Maritime/Marine Spatial Planning processes worldwide. It also received the support of  the Governments of Brazil and Uruguay, the Brazilian Interministerial Commission for Sea Resources and its Secretariat, the Uruguayan Oceanographic Commission and the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management.

Its outputs will contribute to the preparatory process of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) and the development of the MSPglobal International Guidance on MSP.

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