Blue Planning in Practice course applied in Europe: MSP for the Mediterranean Sea

Blue Planning in Practice course applied in Europe: Maritime Spatial Planning for the Mediterranean Sea

Written by Susanne Altvater, s.Pro

This article has been contributed by Susanne Altvater from S.Pro. She participated in our Blue Solutions training of trainers in Bali last year and gives insights on how she integrates the Blue Planning in Practice training into her work on Marine Spatial Planning in the Mediterranean Sea basin:  

© s.Pro

Training Programme (Limassol – Cyprus, 16-20 October 2017)

In the frame of the EU project* ‘on climate change and integrated marine policy in the Mediterranean Sea basin covering the coastal areas of 12 Mediterranean countries’ a training has been organised on aspects of Maritime Spatial Planning during October 2017 in Limassol, Cyprus. Focal points from North African countries and Israel participated coming from a range of different institutions and being experts in their topics. The training is adapted from the Blue Solutions “Blue Planning in Practice” course: the training material has been complemented with further and detailed exercises for selected elements of the course (“training boxes” for different sub-steps) and practical guidance to meet the precise and individual needs of the participating countries. Specific needs have been collected in advance by a questionnaire showing that data issues and cross-sectoral approaches are most relevant at this stage.

Background information on the context of Marine Spatial Planning in the Mediterranean Sea

Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) is a quite new topic for the countries along the Mediterranean coastline outside Europe (except Israel which has just finalised a first MSP); currently no coherent planning targeting the territorial waters of the participating countries exists. However, the Barcelona Convention, aiming at the protection of the Mediterranean marine environment from all sources of pollution including the protection, preservation, restoration and sustainable and rational use of the biological resources of the Mediterranean Sea, entered into force in 1978 (revised 1995). With its Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management it is the first regional legally binding instrument signed by all Mediterranean littoral states. It serves as an overarching governance framework, which lays down the general requirements and the institutional mechanism for environmental protection and sustainable development in the Mediterranean Sea region. Several other transnational agreements concerning the sea basin are currently being negotiated.

MSP could support the implementation of the Barcelona Convention and protection and sustainable use of the Mediterranean coastal and marine resources. By further enhancing capacities and staring first MSP pilot activities national states like Morocco or Egypt could take a lead in the region. Cross-border cooperation could reduce the barriers to cooperate with Israel on a technical level.

Perception of the course and outlook into the future

After some initial scepticism regarding the casework with the fictitious coastal state “Bakul”, participants appreciated how the group work quickly broke the ice among the multi-national and multi-religious group of participants. There will be further training courses in the region on Integrated Maritime Policy, sustainable Blue Economy and Port Development which are all strongly related to MSP., Participants agreed on an ongoing exchange among the participating countries.


*EU/EC Project No. EUROPEAID/136489/DH/SER/Multi, 2016-2019