Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning | 15-17 March 2017 | Paris, France | by Martin Le Tissier
All hands on deck – UNESCO and EC join forces for new MSP roadmap
Not so much mapping roads as mapping the future for our coastal seas and oceans provided the focus for the 2nd International Conference on Marine Spatial Planning. More than 300 experts from all continents and representing stakeholders, practitioners and academics young and old descended on the UNESCO building in Paris between 15 – 17 March to ruminate and conjugate on progress made since the first conference in 2006 and identify MSP priorities for the next decade and beyond.
Exchanging experiences and networking, including through innovative tools such as gaming and cartooning, across eleven thematic sessions, conference speakers highlighted MSP as a significant planning tool and process to implement global ocean governance goals and in particular the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. MSP was promoted as an instrument to ensure that the global ocean remains healthy and sustainability managed, delivering economic growth, jobs and resources to all countries.
FEC and MaREI were not absent from these proceedings with Joseph Onwana Ansong giving a presentation in a session on Institutional Capacity Development for MSP, and Joseph and Celia Le Lievre presenting ePosters as well as manning a SIMCELT stall. Not to be outdone, past-SSC member of FEC Stephen Olsen gave 2 presentations in sessions on Cross-border cooperation in MSP.
Marine spatial planning is becoming more and more important as countries increasingly seek to take advantage of space provided by their Exclusive economic zone and develop economic activity offshore – so-called blue growth – often leading to competition for space and conflict between users. A key outcome from the conference is the adoption of a “Joint Roadmap to accelerate Maritime/Marine Spatial Planning processes worldwide” . The roadmap identifies common challenges and proposals for actions to be implemented in the coming years, reaching out for collaboration with other UN bodies and Member States. The roadmap will be submitted to the UN Conference on SDG 14 (5-9 June 2017) by IOC-UNESCO and DG MARE as part of a joint voluntary commitment highlighting the contribution of MSP to the implementation of Agenda 2030.
A key outcome for me from the conference was a tangible motivation and enthusiasm from all speakers and participants to move beyond articulation of problems and barriers to developing pathways and means to proactively plan for a more sustainable future – allowing the marine space and resources to make its contribution to social and economic security whilst protecting the very environment upon which all this old and new activity depends. However, all maritime activity depends on the physical space and natural resources of coasts to enable and facilitate the development of blue growth highlighting the value that a project such as Future Earth Coasts can bring – mobilising communities of knowledge brokers, practitioners and other stakeholders to provide a science interface between society, policy and practice.
Now all post-event materials have been made available on their website:
More information on MSP on the European Commission website