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Joint Roadmap to accelerate Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning worldwide
by Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) (United Nations entity)
The sustainable use of the oceans and their biodiversity depends on appropriate planning and management of human uses. Marine/maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) plays a vital role in that sense: in maximizing the potential of maritime activities and uses, ensuring space for their development, arbitrating in case of conflicts it can bring long-term stability and transparency for economic operators whilst ensuring that we do not oppress the health of the marine environment.

The take-up of MSP is increasing worldwide and a significant body of experience and best practice has been developed over the last decade. However, there are still different levels of implementation of MSP processes in the world, including areas where MSP is in its infancy and where joint learning, improved cooperation or capacity building is needed, or areas where arrangements for MSP may exist but a strategic approach to facilitate coordination would be beneficial.

However, more work is needed. That is the reason why the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) and the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission (DG MARE) adopted on 24 March 2017 a "Joint Roadmap to accelerate Maritime/Marine Spatial Planning processes worldwide". It will contribute to sketching out a vision and a role for MSP in implementing Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, and in particular the dedicated goal SDG 14, in a comprehensive, consistent and holistic way, both within the EU and beyond at the international level.

This 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 territorial waters benefiting from marine spatial planning by 2030.

Priority area 1: Transboundary Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP)
Actions 1-3: develop guidance, launch pilot projects in 2018, hold an international conference on MSP 2021

Priority area 2: Blue economy
Actions 4-5: develop indicators, publish a study, hold a MSP and BG Conference 2017

Priority area 3: Ecosystem-based Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP)
Key actions 6: develop knowledge on EBA, GES, ecosystems

Priority area 4: Capacity building
Key actions 7 -8: develop training, launch a pilot project

Priority area 5: Building Mutual understanding
Key actions 9 -10: launch an International MSP Forum in 2018, develop communication tools

Marine spatial plans now cover almost 10% of the world's exclusive economic zones (EEZ), this voluntary commitment aims at covering 1/3 of the world EEZ with MSP processes by 2030.

Full reading of the Joint roadmap to accelerate marine/maritime spatial planning processes worldwide: https://ec.europa.eu/maritimeaffairs/content/mapping-priorities-and-actions-maritimemarine-spatial-planning-worldwide-joint-roadmap_en
Progress reports
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
  • Community or Locally Managed Marine Areas
  • Integrated Coastal Management
  • Marine Spatial Planning
  • Large Marine Ecosystem approach
  • Ecosystem-based Adaptation
  • Other (please specify):
  • This voluntary commitment aims at covering 1/3 of the world EEZ with MSP processes by 2030.
By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
Type of commitment
  • No take marine protected area
  • Marine protected area with partial protection
  • Multiple use marine protected area
  • Locally or community managed marine areas
  • MPA management and/or enforcement
By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism
Type of commitment
  • Economic benefits from sustainable fisheries
  • Economic benefits from sustainable tourism
  • Economic benefits from sustainable aquaculture/mariculture
  • Economic benefits from marine renewable energy
  • Economic benefits from marine biotechnology
  • Economic benefits from sustainable transport
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
  • Scientific, socioeconomic and interdisciplinary research
  • Research capacity development
  • Data access and sharing
  • Training and professional development
  • Scientific cooperation
  • Transfer marine technology
  • Actions that support SIDS and LDCs
Creation of an international forum for Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (2 workshops in 2018/2 workshops in 2019)
Launch of two pilots projects on cross-border Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (Feb 2018- Dec 2020)
Developing guidance on transboundary Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (2020)
3rd International Conference on Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (June 2021)
Other, please specify
European Maritime Fisheries Fund (budget for MSP)
Staff / Technical expertise
In-kind contribution
Potential partners and stakeholders
Basic information
Time-frame: January 2018 - June/July 2021
European Commission - Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) (Government)
Ocean Basins
  • Global
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
MSP practitioners, national agencies in charge of ocean management, development, blue economy, academic and science community.
Contact information
Alejandro Iglesias Campos, Marine Policy and Regional Coordination Section of IOC-UNESCO, MSPglobal@unesco.org , +33 1 45 68 40 23
Paris, France
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