MSPglobal celebrates conclusion of three years of activities with major final conference

On 5 October 2021, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) held the online final conference of their joint MSPglobal Initiative. The event was attended by 535 unique viewers from 87 countries (on all continents), including participants, speakers and organizers.

The event – moderated by the journalist and broadcaster Karen Coleman – aimed to share the key outcomes of the MSPglobal Initiative while providing an overall approach to Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) initiatives at national, regional and global scale.

In their opening remarks, Mr. Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, and Mr. Vladimir Ryabinin, IOC-UNESCO Executive Secretary, highlighted the long-standing collaboration between the two institutions toward the creation of a global community of marine planning experts and practitioners, starting with the adoption of the MSProadmap in 2017. They underlined the importance of international cooperation on MSP and thanked all the experts, practitioners and policymakers who contributed to the MSPglobal Initiative during three years of intense work.

The conference was divided into four sessions:

  • Session 1: Presenting the MSPglobal results – the MSPglobal Team presented the outputs of the project and shared some lessons learned
  • Session 2: Looking towards the future: national perspectives – four of the MSPglobal beneficiary countries presented future perspectives about MSP and related maritime policies and research at national and regional level
  • Session 3: Presenting the MSPglobal International Guide on MSP – the MSPglobal International Expert Group Coordinator and some of the MSPglobal Experts presented the new guide and its development process and shared their views and experiences
  • Session 4: Scaling up MSP worldwide – representatives from governmental agencies, the private sector and civil society shared good practices on MSP from different regions; discussed what is necessary to strengthen and replicate successful MSP implementation; and reflected on how organizations like IOC-UNESCO and the European Commission could contribute to this

To conclude the event, Mr. Felix Leinemann, Head of Unit for Blue Economy Sectors, Aquaculture and Maritime Spatial Planning at DG MARE, and Mr. Julian Barbière, Head of Section for Marine Policy and Regional Coordination at IOC-UNESCO, emphasized the creation of a global community of MSP practitioners through MSPglobal. Moreover, Mr. Barbière mentioned that the integration of aspects related to data, social sciences, communication, stakeholder engagement as well as climate-smart activities needed to be further strengthened and developed.

Both Mr. Leinemann and Mr. Barbière stated that they will continue collaborating to promote MSP as a tool for the sustainable management of the ocean.

Click here to access the full report of the conference.