Maritime Spatial Planning for the sustainable development of Spanish marine and coastal areas

Spanish representatives from governmental agencies engaged in capacity building activities during a training course in Madrid (Spain) as part of the MSPglobal pilot project in the West Mediterranean. Between 15 and 17 October 2019, the national experts developed their technical and institutional knowledge on Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) and Sustainable Blue Economy.

Theoretical sessions covered topics such as the MSPglobal Initiative and presentations on the implementation of MSP and Blue Economy at national level, the maritime sectors involved in these processes, existing and future conditions, as well as stakeholder participation and data and information in MSP.

“Spain has established an MSP Working Group and will develop five marine spatial plans, one for each of the five sea basins within Spain’s boundaries. They take into account environmental, economic and social objectives and will be revised every six years,” said Sagrario Arrieta Algarra from the Sub-Directorate for the Protection of the Sea.

According to the 2019 EU Blue Economy Report, Spain is the first contributor to the European blue economy in terms of employment and the second in terms of gross value added. Maritime sectors involved include aquaculture, coastal tourism, blue biotechnology, renewable energy and deep sea mining.

Rafael Sardá, Senior Scientist at the National Council of Research, emphasized how important it is for these different sectors to understand that ecosystem-based management within MSP is about them and not a separate concept. It is a new way of developing their sector, without focusing solely on the economic aspects.

“Since December 2018, an interministerial initiative focuses on developing an innovation strategy for the blue economy through a holistic, dynamic and adaptive approach, of which MSP is an important component,” explained Eduardo Balguerías Guerra, Director of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO).

As an example of the challenges of MSP implementation in Spain, María Gómez Ballesteros of the IEO underlined the social aspects of climate change mitigations for coastal zones: “Those who depend on coastal tourism are resistant, but a good communication with society is essential to support the discussion.”

With the support of the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the MSP Challenge game was used to simulate a planning process between three fictitious countries, during which participants were asked to define the vision, objectives, indicators, actions and stakeholders for short and long-term.

The course was co-organized with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation (MAEUEC), Ministry for the Ecological Transition (MITECO) and Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO). It will contribute to the development of a regional roadmap for transboundary MSP and Sustainable Blue Economy in the West Mediterranean.

Session 1: Welcome
Session 2: National MSP process
Session 3: Blue Economy
Session 4: Maritime sectors
Session 5: Maritime aspects
Session 6: Step-by-step approach
Session 7: Data and information
Session 8: Existing and future conditions
Session 9: Stakeholder participation
Session 10: Presentation of the MSP Challenge

Guidelines of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity – The Ecosystem Approach

  MSPglobal pilot project in the West Mediterranean


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