Building capacity and taking stock of the status of Marine Spatial Planning in the Southwest Atlantic

MSPglobal contributed to the training of over forty representatives of Argentinian ministries, academia and maritime clusters on the concept of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) in Buenos Aires on 24 April 2019, before taking part in institutional meetings in Montevideo on 26 April on the status of MSP in Uruguay and future capacity-building activities.

As part of a three-day training workshop organized in the framework of the GEF project “Governance Strengthening for the Management and Protection of Coastal- Marine Biodiversity in Key Ecological Areas and the Implementation of the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF)”, MSPglobal was in charge of the second day focusing on the pre-planning phase of MSP.

Following presentations on the mandate of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO), the concept of MSP, MSPglobal Initiative and United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), participants were introduced to the MSP Challenge game. After being divided into three groups, representing planners and different maritime sectors, they were asked to define the three fictitious countries’ vision, objectives, indicators, actions, stakeholders and risks for short and long-term to simulate an MSP process.

Each participant then developed individually his or her respective sectorial plans, with current and future conditions, before engaging negotiations with the rest of the players to develop an integrated plan coherent with the national vision and objectives. An additional exercise allowed the planners of three countries to define EEZ boundaries and discuss transboundary coherence between MSP plans placed within the same sea basin.

From Buenos Aires, the MSPglobal Team crossed the Río de la Plata to Montevideo to meet with members of the University of the Republic (Udelar), Ministry of Housing, Territorial Planning and the Environment (MVOTMA) and Uruguayan Oceanographic Commission (CUO). Discussions focused on the status of MSP in Uruguay and potential capacity building activities; Udelar and MVOTMA are using the IOC-UNESCO step-by-step approach to develop documents to support the discussions on MSP implementation in the country and have expressed their willingness to continue the collaboration with IOC-UNESCO at national and regional scale.