Recommendations on the procedural steps to follow for the development of cross-border MSP


Please note:

The Commission is in the process of updating some of the content on this website in light of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. If the site contains content that does not yet reflect the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, it is unintentional and will be addressed.



This report describes a methodology for the development of cross-border MSP initiatives in the Western Mediterranean, taking into consideration an ecosystem-based approach. 

Sea Basin(s): 
Application in MSP: 
Unknown effect
Not sector specific
Type of Issue: 
Cross-border cooperation
Sea-basin cooperation
Type of practice: 
Cross-border / trans-national aspect: 
Coherence with other processes: 
Marine Strategy Framework Directive

Questions this practice may help answer:

How can a cross-border MSP plan be developed?

Implementation Context:

This guidance was developed as an output from the SIMWESTMED project to support a transboundary approach to maritime spatial planning (MSP) and cross-border cooperation amongst EU member-states in the Western Mediterranean.

Aspects / Objectives:

The aim of this methodology is to provide a conceptual guidance for the development of cross-border maritime spatial plans through a procedural guidance. 


This guidance was developed through a review on current methodologies for the implementation of MSP taking into consideration cross-border aspects. 

Main Outputs / Results:

The report presents a procedural step-by-step methodology for the development of a cross-border maritime spatial plan:

Step 1: Establishment of a transboundary/transnational working group

Step 2: Definition of transboundary area(s) to be planned

Step 3: Definition of common planning and management goals

Step 4: Assessment of national competencies and jurisdictions

Step 5: Definition of the study area

Step 6: Identification of necessary data

Step 7: Data management

Step 8: Mapping

Step 9: Human activities having a transboundary nature

Step 10: Identify spatial conflicts and synergies

Step 11: Identification and mapping of the scenarios

Step 12: Strategic planning proposal

Step 13: Identification of pilots actions


The methodology and conceptual framework presented is meant to be applicable to every case of cross-border MSP, beyond the SIMWESTMED regional scope. 

Responsible Entity:


Costs / Funding Source:

EC – DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) Call for Proposal EASME/EMFF/2015/

Contact person:

Niccolo Bassan