What do you need to make MSP actually happen? MEAM asked seven MSP practitioners from around the world, and from different stages of MSP planning and implementation, what has helped them most to move their MSP processes forward. Responses ranged from realizations and partnerships to analytical tools and guidebooks, highlighting the wide variety of factors necessary for implementing MSP.


Chantalle Clarke-Samuels, Director, Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMAI; www.coastalzonebelize.org), Belize. Email: directorczmai@gmail.com

"CZMAI worked closely with research scientists at the Natural Capital Project (www.naturalcapitalproject.org) to use the InVEST suite of models to inform decision making for Belize's first national integrated coastal zone management plan. Decisions were communicated in an explicit coastal and marine spatial zoning scheme. The valuation of ecosystem services and examination of alternative management options for the future provided a robust science basis that addressed social and national economic development issues as well as long-term ecosystem health and functionality."

Western Pacific

Sangeeta Mangubhai, Director, Fiji Country Program, Wildlife Conservation Society. Email: smangubhai@wcs.org

"My partnership with The Nature Conservancy's Global Marine Team helped me the most in implementing MSP in the Western Pacific region. They had experience in spatial planning and were able to share resources, case studies, websites, and the UNESCO guide with me. Working as a team, we developed a process for the Raja Ampat MPA Network [in Indonesia] sharing each other's experiences and knowledge from different geographies."


Michelle Portman, Assistant Professor, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Email: michellep@cc.technion.ac.il

"What helped the most was funding. Without that the Israel Marine Plan (http://msp-israel.net.technion.ac.il/en) may not have gotten started. Our funding comes from a philanthropic foundation that identified a gap in, or lack of, interest in marine conservation and planning in Israel and worked hard to remedy this. Conservation and planning are very well developed in this country in the terrestrial realm but not in the marine realm. A parallel process now being led by the government, which began shortly after ours, was likely nudged along due to our effort."


John Weber, Ocean Planning Director, Northeast Regional Ocean Council (http://northeastoceancouncil.org), US. Email: jweber@northeastoceancouncil.org

"My biggest realization was that a rapidly changing ocean coupled with an increase in our demands on the sea requires us to do better than the old (cliché but true) siloed and ad hoc approaches. Meeting the demand for food, energy, transportation, recreation, and conservation means that we need to be smarter, better informed, and willing to engage in the messy conversations involved in moving away from the status quo. Fortunately, the realization of the need for new approaches was also accompanied by the fact that we have a lot of the basic tools to make this work."


Erik Olsen, Principal Scientist, Institute of Marine Research, Norway. Email: eriko@imr.no

"Realizing that MSP is a strategic management process of broad societal interest requiring aggregated and synthesized information of the state of the plan area rather than detailed knowledge about each component and process is fundamental to succeed in any integrated management process. Managers and decision-makers need to synthesize knowledge, pay keen attention, and use tools such as indicators, models, and decision support tools. Without this, they can easily lose the holistic perspective necessary to develop and implement a comprehensive plan."


Nguyen Chu Hoi, Associate Professor, Vietnam National University. Email: nchoi52@gmail.com

"I started gaining awareness of MSP when I worked with the IOC-UNESCO team to develop the MSP guidelines document 'Marine Spatial Planning: A Step-by-Step Approach toward Ecosystem-based Management', published in 2009 (http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001865/186559e.pdf). After that I prepared CMSP [coastal and marine spatial planning] national resource and training documents for coastal and marine managers and officials and CMSP technical planners and implementers in Vietnam. We have also tested applying CMSP in Vietnam using a spatial zoning tool in the coastal area of Quang Ninh – Hai Phong. The guidebook and tool have helped me the most in implementing the MSP process in Vietnam – specifically, the focus on coastal and marine spatial zoning and planning using an inter-sectoral collaborative mechanism."

[Editor's note: Nguyen is now working as a national consultant on a WB-MARD (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) project to help Vietnam's eight coastal provinces apply integrated spatial planning in coastal areas for sustainable fisheries development (2014-2017).]


Paul Gilliland, Head of Marine Planning, Marine Management Organisation, UK. Email: Paul.Gilliland@marinemanagement.org.uk

"The first [marine spatial] plans for England were adopted in April 2014 (www.gov.uk/planning-development/marine-planning). The first factor affecting their chances of being implemented is the mandate underpinning them. The mandating legislation requires all public authorities (not just the body preparing them) to take account of the plans in making decisions affecting the marine area. The next most important factor is people – colleagues who spend time ensuring understanding of what needs to be implemented and working with decision-making authorities."