News archive



The final conference programme and background documents are now available for MSP for Blue Growth: How to plan for a Sustainable Blue Economy?, taking place later this week from 11 - 12 October in Brussels, Belgium. 

Registration has now closed. Follow along with the event on and Twitter using #MSP4BG and @EU_MSP_Platform

More information about this event is found here. 


An updated programme is now available for MSP for Blue Growth...      How to plan for a Sustainable Blue Economy?, taking place from 11 - 12 October in Brussels, Belgium. Several additional speakers have been confirmed. Registration has now closed.

More information about this event is found here.




Register now for the conference MSP for Blue Growth - How to plan for a sustainable Blue Economy.
The deadline for registration is 29 September 2017. View the draft programme here. The conference will be organised at Area 42, Rue des Palais – 1030 Brussels, Belgium.

Blue Growth has become a major policy objective for the European Commission, Member States and a broad range of maritime actors. It has contributed to jobs and economic growth, supported innovation and research, and promoted a collaborative and inclusive approach to the maritime economy. However, there are still many challenges facing the development of maritime economies:

  • Anticipating future trends and demands – How to plan and accommodate for the Blue Economy?
  • Synergies versus tensions – How to foster synergies between maritime economic activities rather than tensions?
  • Stakeholder engagement – how to ensure that maritime economic development is transparent and inclusive enough?

Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) can help to accommodate tomorrow’s Blue Economy by creating a framework for evidence-based and inclusive maritime spatial plans from national authorities. MSP reconciles economic needs with other dimensions and demands, including the protection of the environment, the supply of ecosystem services, the interactions between activities and processes occurring at sea and onshore, and cross-border cooperation.

This conference aims to provide a forum for discussion and exchange, offering concrete examples and guidelines on how to apply MSP as a tool to accommodate sustainable maritime economic development. It will build on a Technical Study which aims to:

  • Assess future spatial needs of a wide range of maritime sectors;
  • Discuss how the MSP process can facilitate a better understanding of the needs across maritime sectors stakeholders and ecosystems;
  • Share best practices on how MSP can really support the Blue Economy;
  • Discuss approaches and experiences towards synergies, co-location, etc.;
  • Discuss approaches and experiences of conflict resolution and addressing spatial tensions.

Please visit the conference event page for more information as we approach the conference. You can also follow conference updates on Twitter using #MSP4BG.


Several coastal projects have been awarded with funding in Scotland to attract tourism and economic growth. 18 coastal locations will receive £4.3m from the Coastal Communities Fund., among which coastal paths at the Rhins of Galloway and whale watching projects in the Hebrides.

More information

Jul 18

Read about the actions taken by the EU to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. You can view them per target:

  • 14.1 - By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
  • 14.2 - By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
  • 14.3 - Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels
  • 14.4 - By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics
  • 14.5 - By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
  • 14.6 - By 2020, prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and refrain from introducing new such subsidies, recognizing that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of the World Trade Organization fisheries subsidies negotiation
  • 14.7 - By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism
  • 14.a - Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
  • 14.b - Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets
  • 14.c - Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want

More about the commitments

The conference will take place on 11-12 October 2017 in Brussels, Belgium and aims to provide a forum for discussion and exchange, offering concrete examples and guidelines on how to apply MSP as a tool to support sustainable maritime economic development (‘Blue Growth’). This conference, organised by the EU MSP Platform on behalf of the European Commission is aimed at both MSP practitioners, authorities as well as industry representatives and will be attended by Mr. Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

In particular, the conference aims to:

  • Share best practices on how MSP can lead to certainty and sustainability of the Blue Economy;
  • Discuss approaches and experiences of conflict resolution and overcoming tensions;
  • Discuss approaches and experiences towards synergies, co-location, etc.;
  • Discuss approaches, experiences and various purposes on how to anticipate fu ture maritime developments and their spatial implication – enabling planners to really ‘plan for the future’;
  • Discuss how the MSP process can facilitate a better understanding of the needs across maritime sectors stakeholders and ecosystems, thus fostering a more sustainable economic development;  
  • Discuss the role/needs of traditional maritime mobile sectors such as shipping & fishery versus the place-based needs of relative newcomers such as offshore energy & aquaculture. 

More about this event

First version of the HELCOM State of the Baltic Sea report -  summary of key findings published. Included are pressures on the Baltic Sea, biodiversity, cumulative impacts and spatial aspects as well as impacts on human well-being. 

Read the report here

The Global MSP Inventory was developed by UNEP-WCMC to support the European Commision Study on international best practices in cross-border Maritime Spatial Planning. The inventoryy was designed to provide an up-to-date characterisation of MSP Processes outside of Europe, and to enable a simple analysis of characteristics of MSP processes. The Global MSP Inventory uses information from the UN Environment's 'MSP in Practice Initiative' and its associated database of MSP processes. The inventory file contains:

  • Methodology - a description of the approach taken to develop the inventory, as detailed in the study report;
  • Inventory - the spreadsheet of MSP processes and information fields
  • Description of inventory fields - the description and source of information contained within the inventory
  • Dropdown - the list of pre-selected responses used within the inventor

View the inventory and the study here.


The Council of the European Union has announced the European Maritime Day (EMD) host cities for the period 2020-2024:

  • Cork, Ireland will host EMD 2020;
  • Den Helder, The Netherlands will host EMD 2021;
  • Ravenna, Italy will host EMD 2022;
  • Brest, France will host EMD 2023;
  • and Svendborg, Denmark will host EMD 2024.

This year's event took place in Poole, United Kingdom. Burgas, Bulgaria, will host EMD 2018 and Lisbon will host EMD 2019.

More about EMD

The study, published by DG MARE, presents the results of a systematic stakeholder dialogue in the region. Initiated by the European Commission in September 2016, the aim of the dialogue was to identify and discuss in greater depth the processes necessary to realise the Baltic Blue Growth Agenda in the coming years.

Read the full report and executive summary here

Jun 23

The Global Ocean Science Report (GOSR) assesses for the first time the status and trends in ocean science capacity around the world. The report offers a global record of who, how, and where ocean science is conducted: generating knowledge, helping to protect ocean health, and empowering society to support sustainable ocean management in the framework of the United Nations Agenda 2030.

The GOSR identifies and quantifies the key elements of ocean science at the national, regional and global scales, including workforce, infrastructure and publications. This is the first collective attempt to systematically highlight opportunities as well as capacity gaps  to advance international collaboration in ocean science and technology. This report is a resource for policy makers, academics and other stakeholders seeking to harness the potential of ocean science to address global challenges.

A comprehensive view of ocean science capacities at the national and global levels takes us closer to developing the global ocean science knowledge needed to ensure a healthy, sustainable ocean.

Read the report here

The two-day MSP Conference – Addressing Land-Sea Interactions took place in St. Julian’s, Malta on 15 and 16 June 2017 and was a great success. National experts and MSP practitioners exchanged experiences and knowledge during three interactive sessions focusing on key LSI issues in specific countries / contexts, strengths and weaknesses of sub-national approaches to LSI and the LSI issues faced by participants. A total of 15 presentations were given during the panel sessions ‘Introduction to LSI’, ‘Sub-national approaches to LSI’, ‘National and sea-basin approaches to LSI’ and ‘Sectoral approaches to LSI and specific tools’. The presentations can be downloaded here, and the photos taken during the course of the two days are now available here. You are also invited to take a look at the conference programme (including the speakers’ bio), the participants list and the conference briefing paper. The conference report can be downloaded here and includes the reports of the interactive sessions as well as summaries of the presentations.