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Christopher McDougall is the team´s Project Leader. Most recently he has been working as Principal Technical Advisor and Mid Term Reviewer for a GBP 23 million UK government programme to support small island developing states in developing their maritime economies. He has worked as Team Leader of a team of environmental experts undertaking an initial environmental baseline assessment for the development of St. Lucia’s airport. He has also worked for several years as Project Lead for the Facility for EuroMed dialogue and exchange of best practices for Integrated Maritime Policy / Blue Economy, where he oversaw technical inputs and assured deliverables. He has a long track record in environmental impact assessment, and Integrated Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning.

Thanos Smanis is the team´s Expert Coordinator. He is an Environmental and Climate Change expert. He is an Ecosystems Management PhD candidate with experience of more than 14 years (since 2005) as Environmental and Climate Change Consultant / Technical Project Manager / Researcher.

He has been involved in the preparation, appraisal and supervision of multiple projects in applied conservation science, through working with research institutes and environmental organizations. He was involved as collaborative researcher / consultant in numerous EU, ACP, and ENPI projects during his collaboration with various donors / institutes / research centres such as the Centro de Estudios Ambientales del Mediterrάneo (CEAM, Spain), the Institute for Water and Wetland Research (IWWR, The Netherlands), The Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology (EEMB, California-USA), Kapodistrian University of Athens (KUoA, Greece) and other private companies.

He is specialized in ecosystem-based approaches and adaptation to climate change. The last 4 years through his involvement as environmental / blue economy expert in different EU BE policy projects, all related to Blue Growth – “Facility for Regional Policy Dialogue on Integrated Maritime Policy / Climate Change”, “Facility for blue growth in the Black Sea” and “Assistance mechanism for the WestMed Initiative” - he focuses his activities on BE and IMP aspects of different sea basins.

Patrycja Enet is the MSP focal point for the North Sea. She is a marine and coastal expert with 20 years of experience in ocean/coastal management and climate adaptation at the global and regional -EU- levels. She is a senior advisor in the United Nations System, working for the UN Climate Change Secretariat (UNFCCC) Adaptation Programme Oceans and for the Secretariat of the United Nations Environment Management Group (UN-EMG) – her specific tasks include advancing evidence-based action in the thematic area of ocean-climate and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by addressing enhancing resilience of oceans, sustainable ocean management as well as source to sea marine litter across sectors for a UN-system wide support to Member States. She has working knowledge of the legal and global frameworks for maritime zones with activities taking place in the oceans and seas; sustainable development, climate actions and disaster risk reduction. She specializes in governance of the seas and coastal areas by use of integrated approaches of MSP, ICZM, IWRM, EbA and MPAs, where she has been linking expert communities with different background including academic, engineering, decision makers, policy makers, NGOs, etc.

In Europe, she has been involved in managing marine and coastal areas through the initiatives of the European Commission that supported the development of the EU Maritime Policy, including strengthening the capacities through guidance, dialogue with policymakers and stakeholders, international partnerships and cooperation. In one of her assignments, she developed and carried out the European Commission’s Ourcoast initiative that created stable information mechanisms to support the implementation of marine and coastal planning and management in the EU. 

She has been working at northern European research institutes, marine engineering enterprises, and the non-governmental coastal and marine union, where she has been delivering technical advice and combining knowledge in policy and processes with on the ground practical experience at the national, regional and local level in various countries around the world. She spent the last few years at the Dutch national knowledge institute Deltares working with climate adaptation, risk management and integrated approaches for marine and coastal areas, with specific tasks focused on advising the Dutch Ministry on international developments in the field of ocean governance, and she has been involved in the international efforts for oceans by providing expert input to high-level forums, e.g. Science for Ocean Action for a High-level Panel on Building a Sustainable Ocean Economy. With vast experience in international project settings and interest in sound practical implementation of integrated approaches, throughout her entire career she has been actively engaged in marine and coastal management and planning to improve coordination between land- and sea-based activities. The countries of her current professional affiliation are: the Netherlands, Germany and France.

Dr Kristina Veidemane is the MSP focal point for the Baltic Sea. She is a senior environmental expert / project manager in the Baltic Environmental Forum (BEF), having work experience of more than 20 years in the field. She holds a Ph.D. in geography with a research focus on development of coastal landscapes.

Dr Veidemane has good knowledge on EU marine and integrated maritime policy and their requirements for the Member States. She has been involved in several projects related to implementation of marine protection policies in the Baltic Sea region. Since 2009 she has taken active part in the transboundary projects related to maritime spatial planning in the Baltic Sea region (BaltSeaPlan, PartiSeapate, MARMONI, Land-Sea-Act). In 2015-2016, she led an international team to develop the country-wide Maritime Spatial Plan of Latvian territorial and EEZ waters.

Currently, she leads the Assessment of the application of Baltic Sea Common Regional MSP Framework commissioned by the VASAB Secretariat. As the BEF is favouring stakeholder engagement in environmental policy planning and implementation processes, Dr Veidemane is one of the key organisers and moderators of meetings, workshops and conferences of different scales – from local to regional level.

Natasa is an Associate Professor from Bucharest, working at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Agricultural Sciences, Ovidius University Constanta. Natasa is also a researcher at University of Bucharest, in the Interdisciplinary Centre for Advanced Research on Territorial Dynamics. Her research interests include Maritime Spatial Planning, ocean governance, the science-policy interface, coastal and wetland management, stakeholder involvement and participatory approaches. Natasa is one of the facilitators of meetings and workshops related to MSP at local and national levels.

The majority of this research work is carried out in the Black Sea Basin, Danube Delta and Eastern Europe. Natasa is a member of Marine Social Science Research Group, based in Environmental Planning, Queen’s University Belfast, engaged with a range of social science perspectives to research contemporary marine issues and to inform marine governance and policy. She is also a member of the MSP Research Network and IMBER program.

She implemented European and national research projects on different topics related to coastal and marine areas, conducting innovative research on a wide range of topics, including: maritime spatial planning; marine citizen science; coastal conflicts; just coastal transitions and environmental social justice. She is a regional expert in different EU BE policy projects, related to Integrated Maritime Policy for the Black Sea since 2015.

Prof. Stella KYVELOU-CHIOTINI is a Greek senior expert in Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development, Blue economy and Maritime Spatial Planning. As part of the AM MSP, she is the geographical expert for the Eastern Mediterranean. Stella is Professor in “Spatial Planning and Sustainable development” and Head of the Postgraduate and Doctoral Studies at the Department of Economic and Regional Development of Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences in Athens. She studied Architecture-Engineering at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) and holds a post-graduate DEA (Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies) and PhD in Spatial, Regional and Urban Planning of the University Paris I-Panthéon-Sorbonne. She is a specialist in European environmental policy (EIPA, Maastricht), local development, sustainable blue economy and Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP), carrying out research and teaching of MSP at the Department of Economic and Regional development of Panteion University. Her research activities include European territorial development and cohesion. She was a Scientific Expert of the ESPON2006 National Contact Point (2000-2006) and Director of the ESPON2013 National Contact Point (2008-2014) providing, in parallel, consultancy to the Greek Ministry of Development. She has been involved as expert in several MSP projects, namely SUPREME, IMP facility for the Mediterranean, MUSES, IMP facility for the Black Sea etc. and as coordinator in ESPONTrain (LP), ESPON-INTERSTRAT, ESPON-USESPON, and ESPON-on-the-Road. Currently she is principal investigator of the HER-SEA national research project “Developing an Observation Network for Maritime Cultural Heritage (MCH/UCH) in Greece” and coordinator (for Greece) of the REGINA-MSP Project dealing with Regions to boost national Maritime Spatial Planning, under the leadership of CEREMA (France) and participation of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR). Her research interests are focusing on blue economy, maritime spatial planning, tourism and heritage, incorporation of MCH/UCH in MSP, land-sea interaction, climate-smart MSP, sustainable urban development and construction, inclusive growth, geography and geopolitics.

Author of several books and articles, columnist in electronic media and invited speaker in meetings and conferences (e.g. PECH Committee of European Parliament, European Maritime Day, ESPON seminars, IMP Facility for the Mediterranean, Council of Europe, MSP-MED project and INTERREG Greece-Cyprus workshops, Multi-Use MED and Multi-Frame Project Webinars, EUSAIR workshops, series of ECHOPOLIS international conferences, etc.), she has served as Deputy Head of the Dpt of Economic and Regional development of Panteion University (2018-2020) and was Special Adviser to the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy on insular policies, MSP and ecosystem-based management (2018-2019) and member of the Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis Unit of the Hellenic Ministry to the Presidency of Government (1988-2002). She is currently member of the Hellenic National Spatial Planning Council (6/2022-current). Stella is president of the Greek-French and International non-profit entity “SDMED Observation, Planning & Eco-Innovation” and Vice President of the Scientific Council of the INGO EUROPA (France), having a consultative status to the Council of Europe. She has a great number of publications and scientific books, among them a collective Handbook entitled “Maritime Spatial issues: maritime dimension of territorial cohesion, MSP, sustainable blue growth” (2016). She teaches at International Master/PhD programmes (International Master on tourism and heritage, International PhD Programme on ‘Territory, Innovation and Sustainability’ etc.). In 2011, she was awarded by the French government the distinction of «Chevalier à l’ordre de Palmes Académiques». She belongs also to the focal point on SDGs of Panteion University with a focus on SDG14 “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”. 

Frédérick Herpers is the MSP focal point for the Atlantic. He has 13 years of experience in geophysics sciences (hydrography, oceanography, geography) for civilian and military purposes (at French hydrographic office (SHOM) but also at French procurement agency for the Defence ministry. He has more than 7 years of experience in design and implementation of integrated maritime and coastal policies (EU, national, regional and local level) as IMP advisor for the French Prime Minister at Secretariat general de la Mer (2008-2011). He contributed to the elaboration and adoption of the French maritime policy in 2009, the law transposition of MSFD as the environmental pillar of the national strategy for the sea and the shoreline. He was project manager in French maritime consultation (2009): Grenelle de la mer where he was mainly in charge of inter-ministerial coordination for the Prime minister.

As a consultant since 2014 at Stratégies Mer et Littoral (SML), he has been working in maritime and coastal strategy at regional or sub regional level (Britanny, Loire Atlantique). He was in charge of SML involvement in WestMed Initiative (2016 – 2017) to develop a maritime strategy in the Western Mediterranean Sea basin (DG Mare). Since January 2019, he is head of the French National hub for Western Mediterranean Assistance Mechanism (2018 - 2020).

Further, he was team coordinator of the Blue Economy assessment in ENI South countries (national and regional analysis) (2017-2018); he is team coordinator and sea basin expert for the Black Sea Facility for the Blue Growth in the Black Sea; and since 2014 he has been contracted to provide legal advice for ANEL (Association Nationale des Elus du Littoral) to help French collectives (including Overseas) in developing their local maritime and coastal strategies, but also to define the national position in MSP implementation.

Atlantic and West Med MSP focal point

Marta Pascual

Marta Pascual is the Spanish National Hub for the Western Mediterranean Initiative (WestMED) as well as for the Atlantic Action Plan.

She has also been appointed as an expert working for the European MSP Platform and has also been working as a Senior Expert for the EU Commission in works related to Maritime Spatial Planning, Blue Growth, Blue Economy, Circular Economy, Natural Capital Accounting, Biodiversity modelling and Ecosystem Services modelling.

Academically, she holds a PhD in Maritime Spatial Planning, is a former Ikerbasque Post-Doctoral Researcher and currently an Associated Researcher at the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3, Spain), where she is advancing with the Eco-modelling Research Team on the development of marine ecosystem services models using ARIES (a semantic-modelling platform that uses artificial intelligence and machine reasoning following the FAIR principles).

She has more than 13 years of professional experience in the application and implementation of various European environmental and maritime directives such as the MSFD; MSPD; Habitats and Birds Directive, WFD.

Her experience in research includes various lines of spatial analysis, stakeholder engagement, scenario mapping, participatory mapping and marine and coastal research applied to maritime policies such as MSP, Ecosystem Services Mapping/Modelling, Integrated Coastal Zone Management, Biological Valuation and Ecosystem Services Valuation (ESV).