New study provides guidelines for successful maritime spatial planning

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The development of a maritime spatial plan (MSP) is a requirement under EU as well as national legislation. How, however, to prepare an efficient plan leading to success?  A new study "Maritime Spatial Planning for Blue Growth" provides guidelines and examines different practices, approaches and lessons learnt that help the Member States develop sustainable growth for their maritime economies.

One of the key findings of the report is the necessity to develop a vision for MSP. Although it is not an obligation, the study finds out that the development of a vision is extremely important. In some cases, the process itself has proven to be more important than the final vision document, claim the authors. It serves as a stakeholder engagement and cooperation mechanism and facilities the dialogue on a joint future among those who currently experience tensions. The development of a vision allows to consult stakeholders and take into account their needs, points of view and priorities when designing MSP plans. The authors clarified the meaning of the different formats and elements of a vision in the first part of the study, the Handbook for developing Visions in MSP.

The second part focuses on nine sector areas from wind energy to maritime tourism and different approaches for development of each of these sectors. It explains how to best consider the development of each sector during MSP processes and how to reach the related blue growth potentials in a sustainable manner.

The third and final part provides a Handbook for developing MSP indicators. It suggests indicators related to Blue Growth, maritime sectors and MSP processes. Indicators are measurements of objectives to be met. Thus, they are essential for decision making, negotiating and communicate with partners. While linking MSP and blue growth is not straightforward, the report provides guidelines, examples and checklists for creating indicators tailored to the national and regional objectives.

Read the whole report

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