Belize endorses coastal zone management plan with zoning

In February, the Belize government endorsed Belize’s first National Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan. In a keynote address, Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega called the plan a “pioneering step towards strengthening the governance of coastal resources through the strategic transition from sectoral management to a coordinated, cross-sectoral decision making regime”. The plan includes a zoning scheme and policy actions designed to ensure that economic returns from key coastal resources are maximized, environmental impact is minimized, and, where possible, ecological health is enhanced. Read the full plan. Learn more about the use of the Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST) tool for development of the plan. Join MEAM for a webinar on Tuesday, June 7, about the use of InVEST for developing the plan.

New tool helps facilitate collaborative processes

Collaborative decision-making approaches help processes deal with complex technical information and reconcile conflicting interests. A new web-based tool developed by the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and the Environment provides strategies and illustrative video clips based on the California Marine Life Protection Act Initiative for facilitating collaborative decision-making processes. The tool was developed for stakeholders, facilitators, agency officials, and students among others. Access the tool.

New online marine planning learning opportunity available

The Natural Capital Project and Duke University are piloting a new online marine planning learning opportunity “Case Studies Integrating Nature’s Value into Marine Planning”. The course consists of three 90-minute self-paced learning modules. Modules introduce key concepts and in-depth analysis of marine planning processes in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and North America. Participants will be able to interact with real data, legal frameworks, and decision-support tools and will practice engaging stakeholders, managing and synthesizing information, and analyzing tradeoffs. Optional technical assessments are also available for each module for those interested in practicing basic spatial analysis (GIS mapping). The first module is currently available, and the second and third modules will be released in the coming months. Registration is limited to 100 practitioners and is free of charge. Learn more and register.

South Africa releases draft of MSP bill for comment

The South African government has released a draft of an MSP bill for public comment. The bill legislates the development of a marine spatial plan informed by maps and spatial data of different sector uses and compatible and incompatible uses within specific ocean planning areas, as well as emerging and future uses, environmental change impacts, and community and cultural values. Read the draft bill and send comments by May 23, 2016, to

Ireland publishes draft MSP regulations for comment

In July 2014, EU Directive 2014/89/EU established a framework for maritime spatial planning. The directive obliged all EU coastal Member States to transpose the directive into national law by September 2016 and establish maritime spatial plans by 2021. The Irish Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government has drafted regulations intended to transpose the Directive into Irish law and invites submissions on the draft regulations. Read the draft regulations and learn more about the consultation process here. Comments on the draft regulations should be sent by May 6, 2016, to