Risk Assessment for Spatial Management (WKRASM)


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This report presents the outcomes of a workshop led by ICES on risk management in MSP, particularly focussing on a method called ‘Bow-Tie Analysis'.

Application in MSP: 
Unknown effect
Not sector specific
Type of Issue: 
Cross-border cooperation
Ecosystem-based approach
Environment aspects
Sea-basin cooperation
Type of practice: 
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Develop and implement plan
Cross-border / trans-national aspect: 

Questions this practice may help answer

  • What methods are available for integrating risk management into marine planning?
  • How does marine planning relate to cumulative impact / effects assessment?
  • How can MSP be integrated with other management frameworks?

Implementation Context

In April 2013, WGMPCZM discussed the current state of knowledge and approaches regarding trans-boundary cumulative effect assessment (CEA) and cumulative impact assessments (CIA). The discussion identified the need for a tool that could provide transparency and structure for these types of assessments and the evaluation of management options that would integrate these assessments in MSP for European regional seas incorporating regional ecosystem objectives. The Bow-tie analysis was proposed as a possible tool for this type of evaluation and a further workshop was planned to address this and make recommendations on its use.

Aspects / Objectives

The workshop focussed on the following objectives:

  • Assess the use of the Bow-tie analysis approach in risk evaluation of management options for achieving ecosystem objectives in a spatial management context.
  • Develop a common understanding and language for evaluating management options in MSP.
  • Define needs for education and training of experts in applying the methods used in the workshop.

The goal of the workshop was to provide recommendations to ICES and OSPAR as to the application of the Bow-tie analysis as a tool for Cumulative Effects Assessment (CEA) and developing management options to reduce potential risks from large scale spatial developments on MSFD indicators.


A 2 day workshop was attended by seventeen participants from Belgium, Canada, Germany, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

The workshop briefly discussed various methods of risk assessment and management to justify the choice for elaborated discussions on the Bow-tie analyses and then analysed in detail the use of the Bow-tie analysis (IEC/ISO 31010) in cumulative effects (CEA) and cumulative impact assessments (CIA) in a marine spatial planning context.

Main Outputs / Results

The report presents the outcomes of a workshop on risk management in MSP, particularly focussing on a method called ‘Bow-Tie Analysis'. Workshop report is published online at: http://ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Expert%20Group%20Report/S...


The report is highly relevant to developing marine planning processes and integrating it with existing tools. There is emphasis on the specific requirements within the EU.

Contact Person

Roland Cormier

Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Centre for Materials and Coastal Research - Institute for Coastal Research

E-mail: Roland.Cormier@hzg.de

Responsible Entity

International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES)