How to integrate coastal management and Marine Spatial Planning?

More than 400 participants (56% female; 44% male; <1% other) located in 27 different countries joined the MSPglobal online seminar on “How to integrate coastal management (ICAM) and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP)?” organized in Spanish on 29 April 2020.

According to a poll done during the session, 43% of the participants had only some basic knowledge of the topic of the seminar, showing the importance, relevance and need of such an event. Beyond the discussion on how to integrate ICAM and MSP policies, another objective was to promote reflections on Land-Sea Interactions (LSIs).

The audience had the opportunity to listen to the perspective of four different speakers:

  • Daniel Conde, University of the Republic, UdelaR (Uruguay)
  • Carolina De La Torre, GEF Project “Global Marine Commodities” (Ecuador)
  • Amelia De la O Navarrete, Marine Sciences Interdisciplinary Center (Mexico)
  • Victor Cordero, Research Group “Planning and Management of Coastal Areas” at the University of Cadiz (Spain)

In Uruguay, UdelaR started to engage in the MSP process through a project to develop the basis for MSP in the country. Recently, they have also developed a method to analyze land-sea interaction in the framework of a pilot project on the west coast of the capital city, Montevideo. According to Daniel Conde, it is easier to understand and identify the LSIs at local level; once identified, the analysis aims to understand the related policies, key actors, spatial scale, pressures and impacts of these interactions in order to incorporate them into current and future plans. At the governmental level, in the last 10 years, Uruguay has established: a Coastal and Marine Management Department (within the Ministry of Housing, Territorial Planning and Environment); a National Climate Change Policy and a National Directive on Coastal Space (Directriz Nacional del Espacio Costero).

In Ecuador, the Coastal and Marine Spatial Plan 2017-2030 (Plan de Ordenamiento del Espacio Marino Costero – POEMC) was launched at national scale to organize the various human activities at sea in a coherent, complementary and sustainable manner. It needs to be taken into account at local scale by the decentralized autonomous governments during the elaboration of their Development and Territorial Planning Plans (Planes de Desarrollo y Ordenamiento Territorial). Carolina De La Torre added that the POEMC includes a diagnostic of the coastal and marine environment and a set of eleven national objectives (with respective guidelines and indicators).

In Mexico, the public policy is called Marine Ecological Planning (Ordenamiento Ecológico Marino) and is led by the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources. Amelia De la O Navarrete explained that since 2003, the country has carried out an interactive and nested process from national to local scale, using the best information available and making the needed legal adjustments to align the work of governmental institutions to solve sectoral conflicts and improve marine governance. The plans are developed by region: Gulf of California, North Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

In Spain, a national law adopted in 1988 manages the maritime-terrestrial public domain (Land-Sea), which has allowed the country to largely preserve its coastline despite the pressure from human activities. In the marine sphere, the Law on the Protection of the Marine Environment (Ley de Protección del Medio Marino) established marine strategies as the general framework with which the different sectoral policies with an impact on the marine environment must necessarily comply. Marine Spatial Planning is currently in progress as a development of marine strategies to link the environment with sustainable development from the early stages of the process. The Directorate-General for the Sustainability of the Coast and the Sea of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge has the competences at national level and leads coordination mechanisms with both Autonomous Communities and municipalities for all sectoral issues (fishing, environment, aquaculture, etc.) in which there are shared competences.

The recommendations suggested by the audience to improve the integration between ICAM and MSP focused mainly on:

  • Promotion of transparent participation and communication, including local communities
  • Coordination and collaboration among different governmental authorities, including those that develop and those that implement the policies (taking into account those acting at different geographical scales, from national to local)
  • Multisectoral integration
  • Contribution of scientific knowledge to the processes
  • Incorporation of socio-ecological links
  • More pragmatic approach to focus on policy implementation
  • Harmonization of the ICAM and MSP policy cycles
  • Development of monitoring programs for issues related to land-sea interactions

Watch the speakers’ presentations below:

The next MSPglobal online activity will take place in English on 6 May and address the integration of ecosystem-based approaches and MSP.

How to integrate ICAM and MSP
Poll results


We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.
Start typing to see posts you are looking for.
  • * indicates required

    MSPglobal will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.

    Please let us know all the ways you would like to hear from us:

    You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of any email you receive from us or by contacting us at

    We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

    We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp’s privacy practices here.