How to develop a vision for maritime space that can be effectively used in MSP?

The purpose of the handbook is to assist planners in developing a maritime vision or a strategy, as well as assisting those who wish to prepare the terms of reference for facilitating a vision process. The handbook provides quick and easy access to relevant tools and methods, building on lessons learnt from vision development processes across Europe. It indicates a range of possibilities for working with visions, showcasing options and ideas, rather than being prescriptive.

The handbook follows a possible decision-making framework, first providing ideas on how some initial decisions can be made including what format, temporal scope, skills and resources could be used for developing a vision. The handbook also suggests concrete steps and elements needed to build a vision process, such as a stakeholder engagement strategy, analysis of future trends through forecasts and scenarios, or visualization and presentation techniques.

The interactive PDF version allows users to skip through the handbook and read only the chapters relevant for them. It provides links between different tools explained in the handbook, as well as further reading material including other handbooks and useful examples.

Go to Visions page


May 04

Recording of the webinar on cumulative impact tools for MSP now available here:

May 04

The latest newsletter features the upcoming kick-off event of the International Forum for MSP,  the Blue Invest 2018 Event, the newly published MSP for BlueGrowth, Euroean Maritime Day, updates on MSP processes in Belgium, Finland and Northern Ireland and much more! 

View all newsletters here


The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) for Northern Ireland has announced that consultation will be open on the first proposed marine plan until 15 June.
The marine plan for Northern Ireland is a single document made up of two plans, one inshore and one offshore as per the definitions of the Marine Act (Northern Ireland) 2013. The Marine Plan (when adopted) will be used by public authorities in taking decisions which affect or might affect the marine area, including authorisation or enforcement decisions, and decisions that relate to the exercise of any function capable of affecting the marine area. Together with the consultation process, the  'Northern Ireland Marine Mapviewer' has been launched.

More information

Register now for the Pan Baltic Scope Opening Conference - Introducing lasting macro-regional tools for Baltic maritime spatial plans, taking place on 20 June at the World Maritime University! Registration deadline is June 9th.

Pan Baltic Scope is the international collaboration of planning authorities and regional organizations created to strengthen the knowledge and enhance the cross-border dimensions in MSP cooperation establishing durable tools for such partnership. The partners representing the national planning authorities will highlight the status and progress of MSP processes in each country opening the panel for discussion. Ecosystem-based approach, green infrastructure, land-sea interaction, cumulative effect assessment and socioeconomic analyses in MSP will be in the centre of practical discussions in the parallel workshops. We invite practitioners and researchers interested in MSP, as well as policy makers and stakeholders involved in marine and coastal activities to get acquainted with Pan Baltic Scope and its plans, as well as dive together into the vastness of the maritime spatial planning.

Topics will include the progress of national MSP processes, socio-economics, cumulative impacts, the ecosystem-based approach, green infrastructure and land-sea interactions.

Target group: Planning Authorities, Sector Agencies and other MSP projects in Baltic Sea Region and elsewhere. Other MSP projects funded by the EMFF. DG Mare, DG Regio, EASME. The conference will take place back-to-back with the 19 June consultation on Swedish plan proposals.


Draft agenda

More information about this event

On the 20th of April  2018, the Council of Ministers has adopted the Belgian draft MSP for the period 2020-2026. The advice of the consultative commission, composed of all the competent Belgian federal and Flemish government services, has been carefully scrutinized and many valuable suggestions have been incorporated in the draft MSP. A large-scale and formal consultation process will be initiated in July 2018 and citizens will be invited to send in their comments to the draft plan and to the strategic environmental assessment (SEA). A public hearing will also be organized. As part of the consultation process, the neighboring and interested countries will also be contacted. Hereby, the Belgian Minister for the North Sea, Philippe De Backer, commits to continue the Belgian leading role in MSP. More information will follow in due course.

More about MSP in Belgium


Apr 20

New Agenda published 'International Forum for MSP' kick-off


Thon Hotel EU, Brussels, Belgium

The Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, jointly with IOC-UNESCO, are organising the kick-off event of the International Forum for MSP in Brussels, Belgium on 24 and 25 May, 2018. The event aims to start working on international guidelines on cross-border MSP. This is a direct follow up of the "Joint Roadmap to accelerate Maritime/Marine Spatial Planning processes worldwide" adopted during the 2nd International Conference on Maritime Spatial Planning, in March 2017 in Paris. The event will two interactive technical workshops, on cross-sector transboundary integration, and on stakeholder involvement. Plenary discussions are foreseen on the subject of EU as well as international cross-border perspectives. During the 1.5 days, a wide exchange of practices is envisaged, focussing on cross-border MSP, Ocean Governance, the international MSP guidelines, as well as EC objectives in funding projects, feedback from MSP projects, and MSP in the transboundary context of Large Marine Ecosystems.

Maritime Spatial planners from all across the world and experts directly involved in planning are welcome to participate and give their input.  The agenda includes a welcome speech by Mr. Joāo Aguiar Machado, the Director General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission as well as a closing speech by Mr. Vladimyr Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO.

Registration has closed. For enquiries about the event, please contact DG MARE through:

***New version of agenda published***

Apr 19

The first phase of the French public consultation on its National Strategy for the Sea and the Coast is now closed. Between 26 January and 25 March 2018, France held a public consultation which was structured around two methods: an online participatory platform and the organisation of citizen workshops. Within one month after the closing of the consultation, the National Commission for Public Debate will analyse the feedback results and integrate these in a report, which will be published on both the online platform ‘merlittoral2030’ as well as on the National Commission’s website.

All contributions and the summary of local workshops are available on

Apr 19

EASME has published the study 'MSP for Blue Growth' providing guidelines for successful MSP. The study is divided into three parts, presenting a methdodology for creating an MSP vision process, 9 maritime sector analysis fiches with a specific focus on MSP, and an MSP Indicator Handbook. Download the full study below!

Apr 19

Finland has launched to keep all interested parties informed of their MSP processes.:

The website is available in Finnish, Swedish and English. In addition, a Twitter account has been launched:

Apr 19

The Belgian government has published a Vision for the North Sea 2050. A Think Thank has also been established. The Vision is available for download below.

More about the Vision and Think Thank (website in Dutch and French only)