Marine Spatial Planning as a booster for Blue Economy – Ensuring a coherent planning across the Western Mediterranean region

The WestMED Initiative – MSPglobal joint webinar, held on 11 May 2021, focused on advancing a step closer towards a Mediterranean Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) perspective, a perspective of collaboration, coexistence and synergetic relationship between the different components of the maritime sectors.

The main objective of this event was to examine different forms of governance relating to MSP and how data collection and analyses can be used more consistently to boost the Blue Economy at the local, national or regional level.

The event brought together the experiences of the southern region of the WestMED and formulated practical recommendations for a sustainable multi-use of the WestMED region at different scales (local, national and cross-border).

Two different sessions were organized to discuss MSP topics:

  • The first session: “MSP as a booster of Blue Economy: a sub-regional approach”
  • The second session: “Roundtable – EU MSP Platform”, where National Hubs of the WestMED Initiative and National Focal Points of MSPglobal were invited to share their experiences and knowledge about the topic, with intervention of the audience (Slido questions). Additionally, the WestMED Sea Basin expert of the EU MSP Platform presented the outcomes of the EU MSP Platform – MSP-MED event that took place the previous day on 10 May 2021

At the end of the two sessions, the panelists communicated key messages for common actions in the region between the  IOC-UNESCO and WestMED Initiative.

During the event, various ideas (recommendations) were discussed, mostly focusing on regional collaboration:

  • Assessing the status of MSP at local and national level, with the support of researchers and scientists to check future trends including environmental, economic and social impacts;
  • Further funding to support data collection as the basis for decision-making and preparation of national plans with the support of the scientific community;
  • Encouraging research, innovation and training in the marine and maritime sector;
  • Flexible approaches to look at regional protocols and conventions to take advantage of already established agreements;
  • Ecosystem services as cumulative impacts indicators to track the general good state and consider the cumulative impacts as well on the cultural and socio-economic state;
  • Awareness and communication for the southern countries about how MSP is important for their national/local socio-economic growth
  • Integration and coordination of all levels of governance is essential for the management of the marine environment and marine activities and uses;
  • There is a broad consensus that existing and established regional platforms (existing international / regional conventions, SDGs) could be a good way to achieve this coordination;
  • The definition of national Blue Economy strategies is essential to know how to align the objectives of MSP with the interests of blue growth;
  • MSP can promote the Blue Economy by allocating space to specific strategic sectors, always considering environmental impacts;
  • Aligning the plans of MSP with the general objectives and processes of environmental protection at national and international levels and with economic and social issues;
  • Promoting and implementing transdisciplinary approaches, merging knowledge on social, cultural and economic processes as well as on ecological, biological, geological and physical and cultural processes;
  • It is important for the southern WestMED countries to first develop the planning of the marine space at national level, and once this is achieved to proceed to regional level.


Article originally published by the WestMED Initiative.


Click here for the speakers’ presentations

MSPglobal pilot project in the West Mediterranean