SIMWESTMED project: First regional meeting on Maritime Spatial Planning


The first regional meeting on Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP), organized in the framework of the SIMWESTMED Project by the Priority Actions Programme Regional Activity Centre (PAP/RAC), was held in Hyères, France on 5 October. With the aim of facilitating the exchange of experiences, and identifying opportunities for cooperation on MSP implementation in the Western Mediterranean region, the meeting brought together the project partners as well as key national and regional actors involved in the implementation of ICZM and the application of MSP in the region. These included relevant research institutions, national authorities, and other stakeholders from the EU-member states of the Western Mediterranean.

The meeting included presentations by project partners from France (Shom; Project coordinator) and Italy (CORILA) on the progress of the initial assessment and data inventory. PAP/RAC presented the key aspects of MSP and Land-sea Interactions application in the Western Mediterranean as well as the relation between MSP application and the implementation of the ICZM Protocol to the Barcelona Convention.

PAP/RAC experts also presented key issues and respective recommendations that need to be considered, in the application of MSP in the region, including:

  • integrating the Ecosystem Approach in the application of MSP;
  • linking MSP with ICZM;
  • supporting a cross-border cooperation and multi-scale approach to MSP;
  • ensuring stakeholders involvement;
  • assessing and improving data availability and accessibil

The meeting participants were invited to rank the selected issues, according to their importance for the application of MSP at national and regional level, and discuss the reasons for this ranking. The issues of data availability and accessibility and stakeholder involvement marked highest among the discussed issues.

The last session of the Meeting was dedicated to the case studies planned to be developed and implemented in the framework of SIMWESTMED in the four countries covered by the Project (France, Italy, Malta, and Spain). The meeting participants discussed and exchanged experiences and information on key issues and challenges for the implementation of the case studies and identified areas for further cooperation at sub-regional level, thus paving the way towards the operational phase of the case studies.

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