2nd International Conference on Marine Spatial Planning

When :

from Wednesday 15 March, 2017
to Saturday 18 March, 2017

Type of event :

Category 4- International Congress

Where :

UNESCO Headquarters, Room I, 7, Place de Fontenoy, 75007, Paris, France

Contact :


The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will hold its second international conference on Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) at UNESCO headquarters in Paris (France) from 15-17 March 2017. The conference is being jointly organised with the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG-MARE) of the European Commission. attendance to the conference will be by invitation only.

From 8-10 November 2006 the IOC held the first international workshop on Marine Spatial Planning at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. The workshop was attended by about 60 participants from over 30 countries. Financial support was provided by a broad range of donors and partners, including the Flemish government, the Belgian Science Policy Office, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the European Environment Agency, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the World Conservation Union (IUCN), WWF International, the Nature Conservancy, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

The workshop has been acknowledged as “the starting point for the spread of MSP internationally”.[1] In 2006, at the time of the first IOC workshop, only three countries had government-approved marine spatial plans that covered about 0.3% of the surface area of the EEZs of the world. Today, 13 countries have approved plans covering about 7%, and by 2025 approved plans in 40 countries could cover over 30%.

The 2006 IOC workshop produced a workshop report, a widely-used guide to marine spatial planning, and a special issue on MSP in the journal Marine Policy.

Almost ten years later, in 2015, DG-MARE launched the International Ocean Governance Consultation as a response to the policy implementation processes in the European Union Member States and territories in Europe and overseas. DG-MARE is also responsible for the EU Directive 2014/89 establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning in Europe, and is engaged in documenting international good practices for cross-border Maritime Spatial Planning.

Conference goals:

IOC-UNESCO and DG-MARE have agreed on the following goals to be covered during the different sessions of the Conference:

1. Review progress (status and trends) of MSP activities around the world over the past decade (2006-2016);
2. Identify good examples of the engagement of stakeholders in MSP processes;
3. Discuss examples of using MSP to achieve global ocean governance goals, e.g., biodiversity goals.
4. Identify good practices for cross-border cooperation in MSP, application of the ecosystem approach, performance monitoring and evaluation of MSP, increasing use of socio-economic information in MSP, estimating cumulative effects, using MSP to implement the “Blue Growth” agenda, and others;
5. Identify the state of the art on institutional capacity development in relation to the design, implementation and follow-up of MSP processes; and
6. Identify MSP priorities over the next decade (2017-2027), including applying MSP in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction


The attendance to the conference will be by invitation only. About 200 participants from all continents will be invited to attend the conference, primarily participants that have or are developing expertise and experience in MSP. Representatives of national governments, non-governmental organisations, and other stakeholders will also be invited to attend.

Considering that this is not an opened event, IOC-UNESCO will provide live streaming coverage during the conference for external participants to follow up the sessions.

The language of the conference will be English; interpretation will be provided in French and Spanish during the conference’s sessions.

Applications and more information about the programme at: www.msp2017.paris