Achieving Ecosystem-based Marine Spatial Plans.


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In this position paper, WWF provides its opinion and recommendations on how to achieve the ecosystem-based marine spatial plans.  

Sea Basin(s): 
February 2020
Application in MSP: 
Unknown effect
Nature protection
Type of Issue: 
Ecosystem-based approach
Type of practice: 
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Analyse spatial aspects
Cross-border / trans-national aspect: 
Coherence with other processes: 
Common Fisheries Policy
Habitats and Birds Directive
Integrated Coastal Zone Management
Marine Strategy Framework Directive
Strategic Environmental Assessment

Questions this practice may help answer: 

  • How to ensure an ecosystem-based approach in the EU's marine spatial plans? 

Implementation Context: 

The position paper is developed in respose to the requirements for the EU Member States to draw up the marine spatial plans by 31 March 2021 with the purpose of protecting, preserving and restoring the marine environment. 

Aspects / Objectives: 

The WWF provides its vision to ensure an ecosystem-based approach to the EU's marine spatial plans. 


Following an overview of the legislative context, the paper provides a list of conservation measures and recommendations in regard to the transparency and governance development, as well as implementation of the ecosystem-based approach in the MSP. The document ends with an overview of monitoring, enforcement and funding measures.  

Main Outputs / Results: 

The WWF stresses that adoption of the ecosystem-based approach must apply within and across the borders of the EU Member States with the purpose of effective nature conservation, secure ocean resilience in light of ongoing climate change, and supporting the Sustainable Blue Economy. 


The recommendations provided in the position paper are applicable to a wide range of marine spatial planning processes.  

Responsible Entity: 


Contact person: 

Janica Borg 

Senior MSP & MPA Coordinator 

WWF European Policy Office 



Dr. Anne-Cécile Dragon 

Marine & Fisheries Policy Officer 

WWF European Policy Office