How Marine Spatial Planning is contributing to the development of the Blue Economy in the Southeast Pacific

About 170 participants (60% female; 40% male; <1% other), mainly from governmental institutions and university students, from 18 different countries joined the MSPglobal online seminar on “How can Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) foster a sustainable Blue Economy?” organized in Spanish on 10 June 2020.

The seminar started with an introduction by the MSPglobal team about the links between three concepts: Ocean Economy, MSP and Blue Economy. While Blue Economy means a sustainable Ocean Economy, the economic, social and environmental objectives of an MSP process can be linked to the objectives of a Blue Economy strategy.

The guest panelists were representatives of the national focal points of the MSPglobal pilot project in the Southeast Pacific:

In Colombia, among different competences, DIMAR is in charge of planning and coordinating maritime activities. Within this context, the institution developed a national approach called “Coastal Marine Planning: Vision of the Maritime Authority (OMCVAM)” based on IOC-UNESCO’s Step-by-Step Approach toward Ecosystem-based Management and Blue Economy principles, as well as other approaches. The Colombian planning approach includes, for example, a multi-criteria analysis to develop a diagnosis of the Colombian maritime territory, a method to spatially evaluate conflicts among the different 55 maritime activities already identified, and allocation and co-location models. Therefore, OMCVAM is a planning tool box that can foster Blue Economy by encouraging innovation, competitiveness and knowledge.

Ecuador highlighted the policies and initiatives in place at sectorial, national and regional level (Southeast Pacific Regional Sea). DIGEIM has the role of promoting maritime interests and MSP is considered as the best process to achieve it, while the Blue Economy can offer the parameters to this process. However, to foster a Blue Economy, the country needs investment in capacity building, greater coordination and cooperation among different institutions, more funding and a stronger engagement of coastal communities and stakeholders. IOC-UNESCO has been supporting the region through two initiatives: SPINCAM and MSPglobal.

In 2019, Peru published its National Maritime Policy 2019-2030. The preparation of such policy was preceded by a revision and comparison of maritime policies between different countries (e.g., Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Spain and France). Among the policy’s five priority objectives, three of them are directly related to Blue Economy and MSP: objective #2 “Strengthen productive activities in the maritime field in a rational and sustainable way”; objective #3 “Increase maritime trade in a sustainable and diversified way”; and objective #4 “Ensure the sustainability of maritime resources and ecosystems”.

Some solutions, not only spatial ones, have been already identified to strengthen maritime activities (e.g., for fisheries and tourism), and although Peru is only in its initial stage of MSP implementation, the results of the MSPglobal pilot project in the north of the country are expected to assist towards the sustainable development of the Peruvian maritime territory.

Lastly, the seminar closed with a session for recommendations based on the following question addressed to the speakers and audience: “How do you think we should apply Blue Economy objectives in MSP processes?”. The messages sent by the audience are available in the poll results below.

MSP and Blue Economy
Poll results

MSPglobal pilot project in the Southeast Pacific


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