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Maritime Spatial Planning: Advancing more and more

Written by: Ángel Hurtado

Edited by: Nathalie Mezza-Garcia

The 3rd International Conference on Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) was held from March 23-24, 2021, and brought together experts from around the world to discuss the latest developments and challenges in MSP. The conference was organized by the European MSP Platform and was held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning is a process that helps to manage the use of the ocean and its resources. It is a way of organizing and regulating human activities in the marine environment, while ensuring that the health and well-being of the ocean and its ecosystems are protected. MSP can help to balance the needs of different stakeholders, such as fishermen, shipping companies, and conservationists, and ensure that they can all use the ocean in a sustainable way.

The conference began with an opening address by Virginijus Sinkevičius, the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries. He highlighted the importance of MSP in achieving the goals of the European Green Deal, and called for increased cooperation and collaboration between different stakeholders in the marine environment.

The conference included a range of presentations and discussions on various aspects of MSP, including the legal and policy frameworks for MSP, the use of spatial data and technology in MSP, stakeholder engagement and participation, and the challenges of implementing MSP in different contexts.

One of the key themes of the conference was the need to take a more integrated and ecosystem-based approach to MSP. This means considering the interconnectedness of different parts of the marine environment and the need to balance different uses and activities to ensure that they are sustainable and compatible with each other.

Another important topic discussed at the conference was the role of MSP in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Many of the goals, such as Goal 14 (Life Below Water) and Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), are closely linked to the sustainable use and management of the ocean, and MSP can play an important role in helping to achieve these goals.

Overall, the 3rd International Conference on Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning was a valuable forum for experts and stakeholders to share their experiences and ideas on MSP. It highlighted the importance of taking an integrated and ecosystem-based approach to MSP and the role that MSP can play in achieving sustainable development and a healthy ocean.

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