Skip to main content
European Commission logo



The study identifies and describes a number of tools and approaches used in MSP in order to address multi-level, policy and sector, stakeholder and knowledge integration.  

A total of eleven tools and approaches are presented based on their ability to address any of the 4 challenges identified. Each of the tools is described by matching against the challenge it can address, strengths and weaknesses with respect to the challenge and basic conditions for application. 

Application in MSP:
Type of Issue:
Type of practice:
Stage of MSP cycle:
Cross-border / trans-national aspect:
Key words:

Questions this practice may help answer:

  • What tools and approaches might be relevant for addressing Integration challenges?
  • How do we know which tools may be relevant for addressing integration challenges?

Implementation Context:

The study was conducted as part of BONUS BALTSPACE (2016-2018) that focused on addressing integration challenges in MSP. This study was to develop a catalogue of tools and approaches that could be used in addressing integration challenges.

Aspects / Objectives:

  • To describe a selected range of tools and approaches available to Marine Spatial Planners in the context of MSP integration challenges
  • To understand which of the tools can sensibly address specific integration challenges
  • To help select tools for subsequent testing in MSP practice 


The study first defined tools and approaches as used in the context of MSP. Eleven tools (spatial, non-spatial, data-focused, process-focused) were selected as potentially relevant for MSP based on the following criteria: 

  • Could help address one or several of the specific integration challenges identified in BALTSPACE (directly or indirectly),
  • Fairly new or has not been widely discussed in an MSP context before,
  • Tested in other management contexts,
  • Fills knowledge or data gaps in MSP,
  • Provides targeted information for MSP decision-making,
  • Helps to weigh up different planning options,
  • Links different types of knowledge,
  • Facilitates a participative and transparent MSP process.

Based on this criterion, a total of 11 tools and approaches were selected.

These tools were then aligned against the MSP process to identify which tool could be useful at what stage of the MSP process. This is because specific integration challenges may occur within specific stages of the cycle. 

Figure 1. BONUS BALTSPACE approaches and tools in the MSP planning cycle (Kannen et al., 2016)

Each tool was described in terms of its role in facilitating integration, and its direct and indirect outputs. Next was a comparative characterization of tools based on their spatial focus, orientation, scale, availability, etc. to identify the potential challenges that could arise in their application. 

Main Outputs / Results:

  • A catalogue of 11 tools describing their role in facilitating integration as well as expected tangible and intangible outputs.
  • An insight into the potential synergies that exist between tools and approaches and how they can be combined for mutual support
  • An insight into the next steps for the BONUS BALSTAPCE project 
  • Challenges that exist in the context of tool evaluation as well as the assessment of tools provided in the catalogue

Role of tools in the context of integration challenges and expected outputs

Potential synergies between tools and approaches in BONUS BALTSPACE


The tools described in the catalogue can be applied in addressing integration challenges that are experienced in different sea basins.

Responsible Entity:

Helmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht as part of the BONUS BALTSPACE project 

Costs / Funding Source:

BALTSPACE has received funding from BONUS (Art 185) funded jointly from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration, and from Baltic Sea national funding institutions.

Contact person:

Dr. Andreas Kannen

Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht (andreas[dot]kannen[at]hzg[dot]de)