Major commitment on Marine Spatial Planning announced ahead of the UN Ocean Conference

A Joint Roadmap to accelerate Marine Spatial Planning processes worldwide has been put forward as a major voluntary commitment of the UN Ocean Conference, set to take place on 5-9 June 2017 in New York.

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO and the Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission (DG MARE) announced their Joint Roadmap to accelerate Marine Spatial Planning processes worldwide in the aftermath of the 2nd International Conference on Maritime/Marine Spatial Planning, held last March at UNESCO’s HQ in Paris. The Joint Roadmap defines a series of high level actions along five priority areas for implementation worldwide.

Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is a pillar for ocean-based sustainable development as it regulates the planning and management of maritime activities ensuring the protection of marine resources and biodiversity.

In a nutshell, MSP aims at maximizing the potential of maritime activities and uses, ensuring space for their development and arbitrating in case of conflicts, so it encourages stability whilst promoting environmental protection. Resource scarcity and increased competition in maritime activities nowadays make Marine Spatial Planning highly significant and desirable for countries around the globe.

The “Joint Roadmap to Accelerate MSP processes worldwide” is a joint commitment of the IOC-UNESCO and DG MARE (#OceanAction15346). The Roadmap will contribute to the definition of a global vision and role for MSP as part of the implementation of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, especially regarding SDG 14 at the national and international levels.

Marine spatial plans now cover almost 10% of the world’s exclusive economic zones (EEZ). This voluntary commitment aims at covering a third of the world’s EEZ with MSP processes by 2030. The roadmap identifies common priorities and concrete proposals for actions to be implemented in the coming years to encourage the development of marine/maritime spatial planning in all seas and oceans of the globe with the objective to triple the area of marine benefiting from marine spatial planning by 2030.

The Joint Roadmap will work along five priority areas:

  • Transboundary Marine Spatial Planning
  • Blue Economy
  • Ecosystem-based Marine Spatial Planning
  • Capacity Building
  • Building Mutual Understanding

UNESCO’s IOC and DG-MARE will jointly coordinate the implementation of the Joint Roadmap in collaboration a number of relevant stakeholders. Several activities are planned over the next four years including the creation of an international forum and workshops dedicated to MSP, the launch of two pilots projects on cross-border MSP and the organization of the 3rd International Conference on MSP to be held in 2021 amongst other key outputs.

The “Joint Roadmap for Accelerating MSP processes Worldwide” has been put forth as a commitment of the United Nations Ocean Conference (5-9 June 2017) that will take place at the UN Headquarters in New York. All details about the initiative figure on the Ocean Conference Registry of Voluntary Commitments alongside other commitments undertaken by Governments, international organizations, civil society organizations, the private sector, scientific institutions and other stakeholders toward the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 – to conserve and sustainable use our ocean.

Please visit the official UN Ocean Conference website for a comprehensive view of the programme, expected outcomes, and voluntary commitments.

For more information, please contact:

Alejandro Iglesias Campos (, for information about the Joint Roadmap on Marine Spatial Planning.

Julian Barbière (, for information about the participation of UNESCO’s IOC at the Ocean Conference.

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