From 11 to 12 October, DG MARE organised a Maritime Spatial Planning conference on the topic of Blue Growth: 'How to plan for a sustainable Blue Economy?'. The European MSP Platform has made the following conference documentation available - please check back in the next weeks for further outputs:
Blue Growth has become a major policy objective for the European Commission, Member States and a broad range of maritime actors. It has contributed to jobs and economic growth, supported innovation and research, and promoted a collaborative and inclusive approach to the maritime economy. However, there are still many challenges facing the development of maritime economies:
- Anticipating future trends and demands – How to plan and accommodate for the Blue Economy?
- Synergies versus tensions – How to foster synergies between maritime economic activities rather than tensions?
- Stakeholder engagement – how to ensure that maritime economic development is transparent and inclusive enough?
Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) can help to accommodate tomorrow’s Blue Economy by creating a framework for evidence-based and inclusive maritime spatial plans from national authorities. MSP reconciles economic needs with other dimensions and demands, including the protection of the environment, the supply of ecosystem services, the interactions between activities and processes occurring at sea and onshore, and cross-border cooperation.
This conference provided a forum for discussion and exchange, and offerred concrete examples and guidelines on how to apply MSP as a tool to accommodate sustainable maritime economic development. Conference discussions will add to a Technical Study which aims to:
- Assess future spatial needs of a wide range of maritime sectors;
- Discuss how the MSP process can facilitate a better understanding of the needs across maritime sectors stakeholders and ecosystems;
- Share best practices on how MSP can really support the Blue Economy;
- Discuss approaches and experiences towards synergies, co-location, etc.;
- Discuss approaches and experiences of conflict resolution and addressing spatial tensions.