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The European Commission and UNESCO renew their joint efforts to advance marine spatial planning globally

Date: 22 November 2022

From 21 to 23 November 2022, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) hold the 5th International Forum for Marine/Maritime Spatial planning (MSPforum) and the 3rd International Conference on MSP in Barcelona, Spain.

Both events are co-organised with the Spanish Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge and the Port of Barcelona. More than 500 participants from over 90 countries registered to attend the events.   

Th 5th MSPforum kick-started the series of events on 21st of November 2022. Representatives from International, Spanish and local authorities opened the forum highlighting the importance of cooperation in the context of transboundary MSP and sustainable blue economy. The MSPforum provides an interactive platform to enable exchanges and debate between the actors of Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP), facilitating its implementation worldwide.

MSP is nevertheless a process involving not only planners, but also  academics, industry, NGOs, civil society, and others. The 3rd International Conference on MSP (22-23 November 2022) offers these diverse actors the unique opportunity to take stock of existing experiences in MSP and exchange best practices. The Conference is also an excellent opportunity to  encourage cooperation among countries sharing coastal and marine waters and establish priorities for the future.

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. The shared objective of creating  a global community of marine planning experts and practitioners started with the adoption of the MSProadmap in 2017 and will continue with the Updated Joint Roadmap to accelerate Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning worldwide through 2022-2027.

Commissioner Sinkevičius underlined the importance of international cooperation on MSP and committed EU support for the implementation of the updated MSProadmap with a budget of 1 Million Euros in 2023. 

The 2022 MSPforum and the International Conference both focus on the six priority areas of the updated MSProadmap, which is divided into 3 cross-cutting pillars (knowledge support, capacity development and awareness, transboundary cooperation) and 3 thematic pillars (climate-smart MSP, marine protection and restoration and sustainable blue economy). 

Accelerating MSP is among the goals of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030. The ‘Ocean Decade’ aims to support improved ocean planning through a stronger MSP knowledge base, data-sharing tools and infrastructures that integrate socio-economic and environmental data to help create a holistic approach to managing ocean and coastal areas.

The thematic sessions offered forum participants, and will offer conference speakers, the opportunity to discuss how MSP can be a significant planning tool to implement global ocean governance goals, in particular the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. MSP can ensure the sustainable management of  the global ocean, while delivering economic growth, jobs and well-being to all.


About the European Commission’s DG MARE

The Commission's Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries develops and carries out the Commission's policies on maritime affairs and fisheries. DG MARE works to: ensure that the ocean resources are used sustainably and that coastal communities and the fishing sector have a prosperous future; promote maritime policies and stimulate a sustainable blue economy; promote ocean governance at international level.

About the IOC-UNESCO

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) promotes international cooperation in marine sciences to improve management of the ocean, coasts and marine resources. The IOC enables its 150 Member States to work together by coordinating programmes in capacity development, ocean observations and services, ocean science and tsunami warning. The work of the IOC contributes to the mission of UNESCO to promote the advancement of science and its applications to develop knowledge and capacity, key to economic and social progress, the basis of peace and sustainable development. Since 2006, IOC-UNESCO has developed technical guidance on MSP supported by related capacity development actions in all ocean basins.