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EU Public Consultation on Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) and Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM)

Wednesday, 18 May 2011
On 23 March 2011, the European Commission launched a public consultation to explore options for future EU action on Maritime Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Zone Management. The consultation’s target group comprises persons working on, or with an interest in, Maritime Spatial Planning and/or Integrated Coastal Zone Management, including government officials, NGOs’, researchers, coastal or maritime companies. The ultimate purpose of the consultation, which runs until 20 May 2011, is to gather stakeholder feedback about the status and future of Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) and Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) in the EU, and to assess where further EU action would be most useful.

MSP is one of the key components of the EU’s Integrated Maritime Policy. On 25 November 2008, the European Commission adopted a Communication entitled 'Roadmap for Maritime Spatial Planning: Achieving Common Principles in the EU' The purpose of the Roadmap, which identified 10 key principles for maritime spatial planning in the EU, was to facilitate the development of spatial planning for both marine and coastal spaces by Member States, to form the foundation for the development of a common approach to maritime spatial planning and to encourage its implementation at national and EU level. Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) and Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) are two of the main cross-cutting tools necessary for an EU integrated maritime policy-making. MSP provides a framework for arbitrating between competing human activities on Europe’s seas (shipping and maritime transport, offshore energy, port development, fisheries and aquaculture) and managing their impact on the marine environment. Its objective is to balance different sectoral interests, to maximise synergies and to achieve rational use of sea areas and the sustainable development of the maritime economy. Maritime Spatial Planning also has a vital role to play in supporting the implementation of existing EU legislation, such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, as well as possible future developments in the field of Integrated Coastal Zone Management.

The EU has co-financed two test projects on MSP in the Baltic Sea and in the North East Atlantic, including the North Sea and the Channel area. Each project involves bodies from different Member States. With the launch of those two projects at the end of November/beginning of December 2010, the EU aims to gain practical experience of applying MSP in a cross-border area.

On 17 December 2010, the European Commission adopted the Communication 'Maritime Spatial Planning in the EU - Achievements and future development'. This Communication took stock of the debate the Commission launched with the Roadmap Communication of 2008. The 2010 Communication reviewed developments on MSP at both national and EU level since the 2008 Roadmap and reported the results of the stakeholder workshops organised as part of the Roadmap consultation process. It acknowledges that by bringing activities in different sectors together within a common planning framework, MSP can be used to prevent conflicts, maximise synergies, and ensure the efficient and sustainable use of scarce maritime space. The Communication concludes that action is now needed at EU level to ensure that MSP is deployed in the most coherent and effective way possible across sea basins to the benefit of both the development of maritime activities and the protection of the marine environment.

To determine the best way forward, the Commission has launched an impact assessment to explore a range of options to further promote and develop MSP and ICZM. The outcome of this work is to be presented at the end of 2011. The public consultation on MSP and ICZM constitutes integral part of this work as the information gathered will be used in the final impact assessment and may be used to prepare draft proposals on Maritime Spatial Planning and/or Integrated Coastal Zone Management.

Main Source: European Commission, Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries
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