Toward the operational implementation of MSP in our common Mediterranean Sea
Overall: € 3,135,916.25
EC contribution: € 2,508,733.00
Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) emerged worldwide as an important policy tool for planning, in an efficient manner, the different ways the Seas and Oceans are used, in order to achieve both the sustainable development of the Blue economy and a long-lasting safeguarding of marine resources. MSP is also recognised as a useful tool to strengthen cross-border cooperation and to support improved ocean governance, in order to avoid different kinds of conflicts. Within the EU's marine waters, the Mediterranean Sea represent a very complex and delicate area resulting from several factors including the presence of a large number of non-EU countries, the difficult geo-political situation in some hot-spots, the intense maritime uses and the widely differing environmental-marine characteristics.
The overarching objective of the MSP-MED project is to facilitate the MSP Directive’s processes, currently at different stages of implementation, in the Member States (MS) surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, by supporting the establishment of coherent and coordinated maritime spatial plans across the Region. The MSP-MED project capitalises on the results of other EU-funded projects on MSP in the region, either recently carried out or still ongoing, and also promotes the active participation of both EU and non-EU Mediterranean countries, in a pan-Mediterranean approach. The MSP-MED project addresses specific issues regarding the national MSP implementation, tailored to the actual needs of each MS, and at the same time implements activities at basin scale, enhancing cooperation and knowledge sharing, finally ensuring coherence among the MS’s plans. The activities are built around specific intensive workshops, prepared by the Consortium partners, which also provide the opportunity to share best practices and approaches. The participation on these events is wider than the Consortium border: the target groups include the administrations/authorities in charge of the plans, stakeholders belonging to the various economic sectors and Civil Society Organisations, research and academic institutions, non-EU Med countries’ authorities, and finally the general public.
The overall objective of MSP-MED is to promote the Maritime Spatial Planning process in the Mediterranean Sea, by supporting the establishment of coherent and coordinated plans across the Mediterranean marine regions and between Member States (MS), in line with the MSP Directive objectives. More specifically, the project intends to achieve the objectives through different core activities:
1. Support the work of the MSP competent authorities and/or inter-ministerial bodies in the establishment and adoption of maritime spatial plans (in line with article 6 and 8 of the MSP Directive).
This is achieved through direct involvement in the project’s activities of the Competent Authorities and the institutions responsible for the implementation of MSP in the Mediterranean. The project supports the definition of the different national MSP objectives through specific tasks, supporting the roadmaps towards the plans being adopted by the participating MS and facilitating the establishment of preliminary plans for the identified national areas or subareas. During this phase, a number of workshops will be organised to address specific needs and interests of the national institutions responsible for the MSP implementation. The WP2 is entirely dedicated to the achievement of these objectives.
2. Support the development of relevant cross-border cooperation on MSP with bordering Member States and third countries with a view to ensuring that maritime spatial plans are coherent and coordinated across marine regions concerned (in line with article 11 and 12 of the MSP Directive).
The project facilitates, through already existing collaboration and communication channels, the consultation processes of plans with bordering Member States and third countries in the Mediterranean. It will strengthen and foster mechanisms of cross-border cooperation in the field of MSP through the organisation of different trainings events and workshops, in line with the UNEP/MAP activities. Where relevant, agreements on common MSP objectives at a basin or sub-basin scale will be promoted. It will also foster the establishment of a regional network of experts on MSP in the Mediterranean, promoting international and cross-border dialogue on specific relevant issues and gaps. Some of the project’s activities such as Task 2.7 and WP4 will organise workshops and meetings, in order to contribute to international events of exchange and confrontations between MED MS and between MED MS and non-EU countries.
3. Making use of the best available data and organise the sharing of information in an exhaustive way, necessary for maritime spatial plans, by using relevant mechanism and tools such as INSPIRE and EMODNet (in line with article 10 of the MSP Directive).
The project facilitates the use of data and the sharing of knowledge and information necessary for maritime spatial plans, enhancing existing IT platforms/systems used to share data and information, and using existing tools to develop MSP data analysis. The WP3 addresses the main needs concerning data gathering and homogenisation, in order to have a common dataset, needed for the coherent implementation of MSP in the Mediterranean.
The structure of the project is broken down into three core WPs, in addition to the two coordination and dissemination WPs requested (WP1 and WP5), which directly respond to the Client’s requests:
- WP2 – Setting-up of maritime spatial plans (Art. 6 and 8);
- WP3 – Data use and sharing (Art. 10);
- WP4 – Cooperation among Member States (Art. 11) and third countries (Art. 12).
As a whole, the project proposes two types of activities targeting distinct spatial scales, by adopting a nested approach:
- activities to directly inform and feed the national MSP implementation processes;
- activities to support and guarantee a harmonised implementation across the whole basin through a transboundary approach (e.g. sharing of methodologies and experiences, sharing of data, shared analysis and discussion of transboundary issues).
In WP2 and WP3, each country develops activities addressed towards their national process, based on its stage in development, its specific needs (i.e. spatial demands, development potentials, conservation needs, requests from local communities and stakeholders), and the process established to prepare the maritime plans. These combined approaches will allow the MS and/or third country to:
- Boost national processes in preparing and implementing maritime spatial plans;
- Share the most relevant information for MSP, particularly those with transnational relevance;
- Share, multi-laterally, how the MSP process in the MS is designed and implemented;
- Share and debate multi-lateral approaches, methodologies, tools adopted and used in different steps of the process;
- Promote discussion and identification of possible solutions to specific cross-border planning issues;
- Share and debate proposals and experiences of adaptive management for MSP;
- Propose and debate the most appropriate methods of evaluation and monitoring of the MSP plan;
- Consider the possible synergies with other directives’ requirements;
- Propose and debate the most appropriate methods to integrate and ensure synergies between MSP and the already existing framework of land use planning, especially along coastal areas.
On the other side, WP4 is meant to foster cooperation on MSP among Member States and with third countries in the Mediterranean. To achieve this objective, the WP is divided into three core activities:
- 4.1 Address transboundary issues of common concern at a basin scale level;
- 4.2 Establishing transboundary cooperation with Member States;
- 4.3 Establishing transboundary cooperation mechanisms and instruments with third countries.
The WP allows joint activities and analysis to be carried out on specific areas which have transboundary issues and on selected topics and sectors with relevant transboundary content (e.g. conservation issues, maritime transport, leisure boating and yachting, safety etc.). The cooperation instruments are mainly in the form of meetings and workshop distributed among the Mediterranean basin. A common methodological framework will be adopted for all the transboundary activities and sub regional workshops will facilitate capitalisation and dissemination events. Around 25 workshops are foreseen during the project, spread over all the WPs and categorised into Technical, National, Bilateral and Pan-Mediterranean Workshops.
- Consorzio per il coordinamento delle ricerche inerenti al sistema lagunare di Venezia – CORILA (IT), Coordinator;
- Universita Iuav di Venezia – IUAV, (IT);
- Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche - Istituto di Scienze Marine – CNR-ISMAR, (IT);
- Office Francais de la Biodiversite – OFB, (FR);
- Service Hydrographique et Oceanographique de la Marine – SHOM, (FR);
- Instituto Espanol de Oceanografia – IEO, (ES);
- Panepistimio Thessalias - University of Thessaly – UTh, (EL);
- Planning Authority Of Malta – PA, (MT);
- Ministry of Environment and Energy of Greece – YPEN, (EL);
- Regionalni Razvojni Center Koper - Centro Regionale di Sviluppo Capodistria Zavod - RRC Koper, (SI).