Marine Spatial Planning in Bakul – the Latin American way

Marine Spatial Planning in Bakul – the Latin American way

Written by Carolin Hoffmann, Blue Solutions Initiative

The fictitious country Bakul is the venue and place of learning in our Marine Spatial Planning training courses. Recently, Bakul was visited by another outstanding group of participants with lots of passion for the marine space. Here is what happened:

The crew

29 people affiliated to Ecuadorian Ministry of the Environment, the Ecuadorian Ministry for Planning & Development, the Ecuadorian Naval Oceanographic Institute, the project ProCamBío II, WWF and colleagues from different institutions from Mexico, Peru and Panama. In addition three instructors from MarViva and Blue Solutions.

The timeline

February 26 – March 2, 2018

The place

Atacames in Esmeraldas, Ecuador

The story

Our group traveled to Bakul to experience the different stages of a marine spatial planning process, including practical exercises related to tools, concepts and the simulation of negotiations.

The elements the group looked at included the identification of need & process design, establishing authority & organizing the process, the organization of stakeholder participation and drafting and approving the spatial management plan. Most of the sessions included practical casework on Bakul, presentations and discussions in plenary as well as reflection sessions on people’s individual working context. In addition, participants were happy to share real cases and positive examples of the marine and coastal context that they have been working on in the past. One practical example waited just nearby and was visited during a joint half-day field trip: the Marine Reserve Galera San Francisco and its spatial management plan with different types of zones of use.


Naming particular highlights out of many is a tough one! Was it the most energetic simulation of a negotiation situation ever witnessed in a Blue Planning Practice training? The longest walk ever taken on a field trip? Or the general openness of participants and impressive willingness to share all kinds of negative and positive experiences with the group?

Thanks to this dedicated group, this training was truly inspiring and we hope that many of the things that participants are striving for in their own working context can be implemented outside of Bakul!

Coming up!

We are soon going to share a video in which participants of our trainings share their impressions from the training with us. Also, the training manual is now available in Spanish : check out the Blue Planning in Practice page on our website to download it.

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