MSP-GREEN Deliverable 2.2 “First Policy Brief” published!!!

Published: Friday, 15 March 2024 Print Email

The D2.2 offers an overview of the initial project results with highlights specifically designed for policy makers

Policy Brief MSP GREEN

The objectives of Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) include contributing to the effective management of maritime activities and to the sustainable use of marine and coastal resources, considering socioeconomic needs. The MSP Directive (2014/89/EU) recognizes that healthy marine ecosystems and their multiple services, if integrated in planning decisions, can deliver substantial benefits regarding food production, recreation and tourism, climate change mitigation and adaptation, shoreline dynamics control, disaster prevention, just transition and fair distribution of benefits of sustainable blue economy.

The European Green Deal (EGD) (COM(2019) 640 final) is a set of policy initiatives aiming to achieve carbon neutrality in Europe by transforming the EU economy into a modern, resource-efficient and competitive one, addressing a wide range of issues, including circular blue economy, biodiversity, zero pollution, clean marine energy, climate change mitigation goals of maritime sectors etc.

Hence, there is a need to unfold the already existing MSP – EGD nexus and better exploit the potential for MSP, to actively promote the achievement of EGD goals in the marine domain. In such a context, MSP-GREEN project is working to contribute aligning maritime spatial plans to the ambition of the European Green Deal (EGD) by creating a framework for plans as marine enablers of the EGD. The framework will provide a cross-cutting approach to the EGD key topics relevant for marine environment and sustainable transition of blue economy.

There is a strong interconnection between the EGD objectives and MSP. To reach the objectives set by the EGD, MSP needs to take a cross-sectoral approach, which indeed is intrinsic of its mandate. Marine activities are interconnected and affect each other.

Such interconnections can result in conflicts and synergies, to be respectively managed and supported by MSP. In this regard, multi-use of the sea space is perceived as a possible or even an essential solution, although work must still be done for its operationalisation.

The complexity represented by stakeholder engagement across levels of governance and sectors is a well-known challenge of MSP. The transition of maritime sectors creates a new level of difficulty. Policy makers involved in MSP must convince maritime economies and marine practitioners not only to coexist but to rethink, rather substantially, their worlds. Presenting the EGD as an opportunity for change that will bring human societies to a better future may trigger a sense of belonging. This may be easier using science-based information to avoid confusion and misconceptions. When presenting solutions and valuable experiences from maritime industries it should be ensured that they are in line with expected impact reduction and are not green claims. It is also important to present local case studies and examples that stakeholders can relate to. It may prove useful to create a connection with shared interests and values like safety, stability, recreational and cultural values of the sea. When promoting change in regulations and management of maritime activities co-design is a key aspect for endorsement. Stakeholders are the actors of change, both at institutional and sector level, and they need to understand that their choices have the power to affect reality. The EGD puts social fairness at its heart, leaving no person and no place behind during the EU’s transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Narratives should ensure fairness is represented and stereotypes are avoided.

The Maritime Green Deal will be interpreted in many ways, including different points of view. It is important to remain open to plurality as long as the objectives are the same and the discourse is a proactive one. Policy makers and MSP experts have the opportunity to co-design effective communication, as long as they agree on clear goals targets and most effective channels.

MSP-GREEN will engage in a dialogue with multiple maritime stakeholders, from all EU basins, on MSP as a promoter of EGD in the marine domain. Focus groups, five sea basin and one EU level workshop will be organized to identify actionable recommendations.

Follow the Policy Brief on the MSP-GREEN website: https://mspgreen.eu/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/policy_brief1_green.pdf

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