Maritime Spatial Planning

Community of Practice (CoP)

MSP Community of Practice

In the Mediterranean, there are many policy drivers for the implementation of Maritime/Marine Spatial Planning at regional, sub-regional and national levels. These include the MSP Directive implementation for the European Union Member States, the Ministerial declaration on Blue Economy of the Union for the Mediterranean, the Mediterranean ICZM protocol, the Conceptual Framework for MSP developed by UNEP/MAP and the MSPglobal pilot project in the Western Mediterranean Sea

During the WestMED ’22 Hackathon organised by the WestMED Assistance Mechanism in Malta and a couple of meetings under the MSPMED project, relevant stakeholders discussed the benefits of creating an open MSP Community of Practice within the framework of the WestMED Initiative and supported by CINEA and DG MARE. This, to facilitate easier and more coordinated exchanges between MSP experts/ practitioners from both the northern and southern Western Mediterranean countries.

Main Objective

On 26 January 2023, CINEA and DG MARE officially launched the Community of Practice during the kick-off meeting in Brussels. Experts discussed the structure, objectives and the action plan for the first year of exchanges.

The main objective of the MED-MSP-CoP is to establish a permanent communication and dialogue across borders between experts on MSP (i.e. planners, technical experts, researchers), to exchange knowledge and relevant experiences in the region, to reach a shared perspective on topics of common MSP interests and enhance the cooperation between the northern and southern countries of the Mediterranean.

Thanos Smanis, WestMED expert and member of the MSP Assistance Mechanism, confirms the enthusiasm for this initiative that he noticed from people in the field:

The instant willingness by MSP experts from across the region to mobilise and establish a Community of Practice on MSP for the MED, for joint dialogue and cooperation, demonstrates the widely shared perception that this will significantly strengthen a regional vision. In the end, a regional vision that actually works, requires all stakeholders to join forces in this joint maritime space.