WMU Hosts North Sea Marine Spatial Planning Training
From 21-22 November, WMU hosted a marine spatial planning (MSP) training session within the framework of the NorthSEE project of which WMU is one of the partners. Attended by staff members from national authorities responsible for MSP in Belgium, the Netherlands, Scotland, Sweden and Germany, the training focused on transnational cooperation in MSP between the North Sea countries with a particular emphasis on transnational shipping. The training utilized the MSP Challenge simulation tool developed by the Dutch Ministry of Environment and Infrastructure together with the University of Breda.
Starting from a holistic view of the entire North Sea area, participants drew a marine spatial plan for a specific country utilizing real life data from the North Sea Region (NSR) that is provided by the MSP Challenge software as well as fictitious country profiles specifically developed for the training session. The training provided participants with a better understanding of the complexity of planning a common sea area that is shared by several different countries and sectoral interests.
The North Sea is both an environmental asset and a source for value generation for different maritime sectors. MSP is a process that helps balance the often competing user interests as well as environmental protection objectives. However, MSP can only be effective if national Maritime Spatial Plans are coordinated and not contradictory. A lack of MSP coordination leads to spatial inefficiencies, higher costs for maritime industries and compromised environmental objectives. The NorthSEE project focuses on a sea-basin-wide coordination process among MSP authorities in the NSR. In this context, NorthSEE aims at achieving greater coherence in MSP across the NSR on three transnational topics: environmental aspects, shipping routes and energy infrastructure.