New guide and toolbox by the European Commission to support monitoring, evaluation and revision of Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning

On 22 June 2022, IOC-UNESCO along with the European Commission held an online seminar about “Monitoring, evaluation and adaptation of Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP)”, moderated by DG MARE’s Policy Officer Juan José Ronco Zapatero.

The webinar had two main objectives:

To open the event and set the scene, Mr. Julian Barbière, Head of Section for Marine Policy and Regional Coordination at the IOC-UNESCO, highlighted that Marine Spatial Planning is an adaptative process that needs to include performance and monitoring evaluations, thus raising the following issue: “When we think about evaluation, why don’t we do it from the start, as it will be more efficient?”

Looking at how the countries are doing it -learning by doing-, it is possible to learn which actions are working, which are not working and why they are not working. He also stated that an active approach to MSP is critical to deal with uncertainties about the future and to incorporate possible changes, like climate, economic or geopolitical ones that may affect the countries and the marine environment. Mr. Barbière informed that there is relatively little research on how the performance of monitoring and evaluation can lead to an improvement of the results and whether the current MSP initiatives are considering measurable essential features. In this sense, it is about recognizing success of MSPs and being able to document how the objectives and targets of the spatial plan are being met.

After Mr. Barbière intervention, it was the turn for Mr. Felix Leinemann, Head of Unit for Blue Economy Sectors, Aquaculture and Maritime Spatial Planning at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE), who stated that with this webinar DG MARE wants to share the results of the study they commissioned on tools for the monitoring, evaluation and revision of Maritime Spatial Planning. He also mentioned a report recently published which is a picture in time of the status of Maritime Spatial Planning in Europe. Displaying a short summary, there are 3 groups of coastal Member States in the European Union: States with a tradition in MSP; States which succeeded within the deadline to adopt a maritime spatial plan; and States with no sufficient progress. The report algo goes into the requirements needed for MSP in the European Union. Mr. Leinemann also highlighted that energy at sea mut be improved, thus MSP is an important tool for EU energy transition.

Mr. Sander van der Burg and Mr. Peter Roebeling, from Wageningen University & Research, presented systems and tools for assessment, monitoring and revision of maritime spatial plans, including in the context of the implementation of EU MSP Directive 2014/89/EU. Their presentation can be summed up in the following points:

Ms. Kira Gee, from the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (Germany), displayed a presentation about the project “Emerging ecosystem-based Maritime Spatial Planning topics in North and Baltic Sea Regions (eMSP NBSR)”, which supports the advancement of MSP around Community of Practices. She focused her presentation on two aspects: monitoring and evaluation of national plans and the coherence of those plans.

The event was attended online by 237 people from more than 80 different countries.

Watch the speakers’ presentations below:

PDF presentation of the webinar
Poll results

International MSP Guidance


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