A joint position paper has been prepared and signed by 19 regional NGOs with some suggestions on the Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) of the European Union. The position paper was signed by the regional NGOs: MIO-ECSDE, GREENPEACE, BIRD LIFE INTERNATIONAL, EEB, SEAS AT RISK, OCEANA, BIRDLIFE CYPRUS, DANSK ORNITOLOGIC FORENING, COALITION CLEAN BALTIC, NABU, BIRD WATCH IRELAND, MARINE CONSERVATION SOCIETY, RSPB, SEO/BIRD LIFE, SEA FIRST, VOICE, SWEDISH SOCIETY FOR NATURE CONSERVATION and LPN.

With this document, the above mentioned NGOs wish to contribute collectively to the development of an effective and successful MSP for improving the sustainable management of human activities, protecting the marine environment and reducing conflicts between users of the sea.

The document contains a collection of concerns and recommendations on the development of the MSP Directive. The suggested ways to move forwards are:

If the Commission decides a legislative option is absolutely necessary: the MSP to be an annex to the MSFD, as an alternative to a MSP Directive.

If the Commission decides that an MSP Directive is necessary: 

The objective: An MSP Directive, should it go forward separately, should have as its main goal the strengthening of the MSFD. The goal of the MSP Directive should be to facilitate the implementation of an ecosystem-based approach to the management of human activities at sea, and it should assist the MSFD in achieving Good Environmental Status by 2020 in a framework of sustainable use of marine space and resources. 

The timing: The deadlines of the MSP Directive should be aligned with those of the MSFD. Maritime spatial plans should be part of the programmes of measures which need to be prepared by Member States by July 2015 and enter into force in 2016. 

The priorities:

  • The MSP Directive must contain an obligation for Member States to finalise their Natura 2000 network as part of a representative and well-managed network of MPAs which will also include nationally important MPAs and MPAs designated under the Regional Seas Conventions, and to meet the target set at Nagoya to conserve 10% or marine areas by 20203. It must make it clear that, as stipulated by the Habitats Directive, the environmental protection areas need to be chosen independently based on the location and requirements of the features to be protected, and not dictated by the locational preferences of human activities. Ecologically significant areas are site-specific and cannot be “planned” around the needs of human activities. The integrity of ecosystems is the basis for ecosystem services and products, and not vice versa.
  • To deliver added value, a MSP Directive could be used as a tool to require data collection in the marine area, resulting in systematic surveys and data collection of environmental parameters at sea.

Find below the full text position paper: [attachments template=small-with-title include=”3458″]