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Stakeholder involvement

Main issues

As noted in the EU MSP Directive the management of marine areas is complex and involves different levels of authorities, sectors and other stakeholders. In order to promote sustainable development in an effective manner, it is essential that stakeholders, authorities and the public are engaged at an appropriate stage in the preparation of maritime spatial plans.

Member States should establish means of public participation by informing all interested parties and by consulting the relevant stakeholders and authorities as well as the public concerned at an early stage in the development of maritime spatial plans.

‘Stakeholder involvement’ and ‘public participation’ are often are often used interchangeably; even though at least to – our interpretation -  ‘stakeholder involvement’ relates more to processes which take into account concerns and issues raised at stakeholder / industry level and are therefore highly related to practices described under the Topics ‘strategy’, ‘vision’ and ‘cross-sector integration’. On the other hand ‘public participation’ refers more specifically to processes, which involve the general public.

The degree of public engagement may vary substantially, from provision of information, standard consultation processes with opportunity to comment on plans, to direct involvement of parties in decision-making and action (partnerships). Stakeholder involvement may also take different forms depending on whether it concerns more general and strategic MSP issues or whether it is related to the preparation of concrete maritime spatial plans.

Stakeholder involvement is not a ‘one-off’ exercise within a MSP process, but serves one or more specific purposes depending on the stage of the MSP process - ranging from ‘issue identification’, evidence gathering, consensus building up to monitoring and evaluation. It is therefore a horizontal issue, which relates to all other topics covered under this paper.

Please note that this section of the EU MSP Platform website is not currently being updated with new information. However, the resources throughout our website remain relevant to our mission of sharing knowledge and experiences on MSP in the EU.

Frequently Asked Questions

Stakeholder Involvement in MSP


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Imagine approach for stakeholder involvement


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