Stakeholder Perception on Maritime Spatial Planning


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This document sums up the main finding of the SIMNORAT “stakeholder engagement in MSP” component, which aimed to assess stakeholders’ perception of MSP and to support their engagement in the process, particularly concerning crossborder aspects.

Application in MSP: 
Unknown effect
Not sector specific
Type of Issue: 
Type of practice: 
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Vision and aims
Cross-border / trans-national aspect: 

Questions this practice may help answer

  • How did SIMNORAT approach stakeholder engagement in their project?
  • How could/should one approach stakeholder engagement in MSP?


The objective was to explore and support good practices in stakeholder engagement within a transboundary context. SIMNORAT’s stakeholder engagement component shared strong links with the components “Analysis of the MSP processes”, “Spatial demands and future trends for maritime sectors” and “Case studies”. Conclusions of these components were used to support discussions among stakeholders in order to engage them in the discussion about the MSP processes, in particular about its transboundary dimension. Outcomes of the 'Improving stakehodler engagement' component could be considered as a contribution to the coherence of national plans that will be developed in the coming years.


All the activities were carried out in collaboration with the partners involved in the project’s countries (France, Spain and Portugal) in order to fully capture the shared interests and specificities, but also the cross-border
perspectives. In this aim, the partners followed common objectives and methodologies for data collection and analysis. The approach adopted for stakeholder engagement consists on the organization of multisector participatory workshops, based on information collected during interviews of different stakeholders from the three countries. The aim is to involve stakeholders in cross-border discussions and to support the sharing and use
of good practices for the stakeholder engagement process, in order to contribute to the better coherence in the three countries. Based on tested methods in SIMNORAT project and the results obtained, a methodological guide for stakeholder engagement is provided here. Summarizing the main steps of each method used, this methodological guide is applicable to other countries and to other European projects like SIMNORAT or non-European projects on MSP.

The three main methods of stakeholder engagement used in this project are:

  • Interviews
  • Participatory workshop
  • Serious games

As part of SIMNORAT, different methods were tested in at least one of the three countries (France, Spain and Portugal) when the application of each of these methods was not achievable in each one of them. The different methods of stakeholder engagement used are presented in the table below:

Implementation Context

The methodological guide for stakeholder engagement provides an overview of the activities, tools and outputs realised or used in the framework of SIMNORAT’s stakeholder engagement component. There were mainly two types of activities carried out with stakeholders: interviews and workshops (two cross-border and one national). The semi-direct interviews took place between May and September of 2018. They shared a common methodology, were conducted and transcribed by the respective partners of each of the countries. Their coding and analysis were carried out between August and December by the mixed AMURE and AFB team.

The cross-border workshops between France and Spain and between Spain and Portugal were respectively held in October 2018 in Irún (Spain) and in November 2018 in Vigo (Spain). The only national workshop done in SIMNORAT was the French one and happened in October 2018 in Brest (France). During the final conference of the project, another international stakeholder engagement workshop took place in Brest (France), end January 2019. For the workshops, various methods and tools were used to engage stakeholders: post-it sessions, round table discussions and also the “MSP Challenge” board game.

The complementarity of the approaches used in the SIMNORAT project has allowed expanding the stakeholders understanding of the MSP implementation process from very different prisms. The interviews
allowed to collect free statements rather focused on the overall perception of MSP and of the stakeholder engagement mechanisms, but above all, they highlighted the concerns and expectations of each stakeholder
about the implementation of MSP. The participatory workshops allowed reaching a more constructed collection of statements fed by the debate and the diversity of actors that led it. The proposals are rather
focused around local specificities and are sources of proposals and solutions. Finally, the use of serious games as a stakeholder engagement process is not intended to collect information and data, in contrast tothe two
other methods. It is more about sensitizing stakeholders and informing them of the sometimes complex decision-making mechanisms. As part of the project, the facilitation of the “MSP Challenge” serious game
aimed to test an unusual method of stakeholder engagement but especially to promote the understanding of the issues of MSP and the various sectors of activities including conversation.

Main outputs/results

The analysis of the stakeholder engagement in the context of the MSP process has allowed the elaboration of a communication document (AFB et al. 2018). Using simple drawings, the document aims at reaching a
broad public, by presenting in a satiric and accessible way the main outputs and ideas of the analysis of the interviews.


All the activities were carried out in collaboration with the partners involved in the project’s countries (France, Spain and Portugal). However, the content of the methodological guide as well as the comic book provide useful information for other countries as well.

Responsible Entity

SIMNORAT project