New MSP guide shows how site would look at different stages of planning

The MarViva Foundation, an NGO that supports sustainable management of coastal and marine resources in the Eastern Tropical Pacific region, has produced a new guidebook on marine spatial planning. Based on findings from a regional capacity-building and training event on MSP in May 2012, the guide focuses on challenges faced by practitioners in North America, the Caribbean, and the eastern Pacific.

Similar to other guides on MSP, the publication describes the concept of marine spatial planning, the elements of MSP processes, and governance issues. A unique feature of this guide, however, is that it uses a particular example – in this case the south Pacific coast of Costa Rica – to illustrate the progression of an MSP process. Readers can follow a series of maps of the site (called "How does the area of analysis look now?" and "How do we want the area of analysis to look in the future?") to see how MSP advances from one stage to the next. Marine Spatial Planning: A Guide to Concepts and Methodological Steps is available here.

Study on EU policy and marine spatial planning

A new analysis of European policies on marine spatial planning concludes that the EU's existing Marine Strategic Framework Directive already provides an adequate legal framework for MSP, including links to many directives, and that any new directive focusing solely on MSP could "increase complications and tensions in an already crowded policy landscape." Authored by Wanfei Qiu and Peter Jones of the University College London, the study features discussion of ecosystem-based and integrated-use perspectives on MSP, including in relation to the role of MPAs. The open access paper "The emerging policy landscape for marine spatial planning in Europe" appears in the journal Marine Policy at

New report on state of Mediterranean coastal and marine environment

Produced under the aegis of the UNEP Mediterranean Action Plan, the latest report on the state of the Mediterranean coastal and marine environment focuses on the drivers, pressures, state, and known impacts of human activities in the region. The report is intended to inform decision-makers from contracting parties to the Barcelona Convention as they advance a formal ecosystem approach to managing human activities in the Mediterranean. These parties (countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea and the European Union) committed in 2008 to applying an ecosystem approach to the region.

The report provides guidance and recommendations on avenues for furthering ecosystem-based management in the Mediterranean. These avenues primarily pertain to establishing a systematic, comprehensive, and efficient monitoring regime for Mediterranean coastal and marine systems. The report also analyzes information gaps that exist in regional monitoring data. The State of the Mediterranean Marine and Coastal Environment report is available at

Report: Reverse global declines in ocean health by scaling up regionally successful strategies

The global decline of ocean health is primarily due to market and policy failures, according to a report by the UN Development Programme and the Global Environment Facility. These failures have led private and public entities to under-invest in environmental protection measures (such as wastewater treatment and coastal habitat protection) and over-invest in activities that negatively impact the marine environment, including over-fishing and chemically intensive agriculture.

According to the report, these failures – and the resulting declines in ocean health – could be reversed by scaling up proven instruments and approaches that have worked at regional levels. These include strategies, for example, that have helped lower the risk from invasive species in ship ballast water, and that have bolstered the sustainability of tuna fisheries in the Pacific.

Catalysing Ocean Finance (Volumes I & II) estimates that an initial public investment – on the order of US $5 billion over the next decade – could catalyze several hundred billion dollars of additional public and private investment, and thereby foster global transformation of ocean markets toward sustainability. The report is at