Establishing the basis for Marine Spatial Planning in the Azores through a participatory process

PANORAMA

Abstract: 

In the middle of the North Atlantic is the Azores, an archipelago of nine islands. Despite their small size, the surrounding maritime space of the islands accounts for almost 1 million square kilometres. Under the European Union (EU) and Portugal legal frameworks for Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP), the autonomous region of the Azores, led by Regional Directorate for Sea Affairs (DRAM), is required to develop its Situation Plan. This is the main MSP policy instrument in Portugal. The Macaronesian Maritime Spatial Planning (MarSP) project came into being to support the development of the maritime spatial plans in the archipelagos of the Macaronesia region (Azores, Canary Islands and Madeira). This pilot project built capacities and tools to implement MSP in these EU outermost regions from 2018 to 2019. The team in the Azores developed innovative methodologies to approach the initial steps of the planning process, where the participation of stakeholders and citizens had a central role.

Sea Basin(s): 
Country: 
Year: 
January 2021
Application in MSP: 
Taken into account in an MSP process
Sectors: 
Not sector specific
Type of Issue: 
Social aspects
Stakeholders
Type of practice: 
Methodology
Tools
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Develop and implement plan
Cross-border / trans-national aspect: 
No

Questions this practice may help answer:

  • How to establish the basis for MSP using a participatory process?

Implementation Context:

This practice is produced in the context of the MarSP Plan (Macaronesian Maritime Spatial Plan, completed in December 2019).

Aspects / Objectives:

The aim of this practice was to develop innovative methodologies to approach the initial steps of the planning process in the Azores, where the participation of stakeholders and citizens had a central role.

Method:

This practice has been developed thanks to 5 building blocks for solutions:

  • BB1. Organising stakeholder engagement and public participation. (This first block interacts with all others.);
  • BB2. Creating a vision and objectives for MSP;
  • BB3. Building scenarios for MSP;
  • BB4. Sector analysis and briefings;
  • BB4. Spatial database and filling gaps.

They are all described thanks to two categories: "enabling factors" and "lessons learned". Videos and stories are also available to support development.

Transferability:

The report focuses on the Macaronesian region, specifically the Azores but the enabling factors described and lessons learned can support MSP processes in other insular areas and regions.

Responsible Entity:

University of the Azores, MARE - Centro de Ciências do Mar e do Ambiente

Costs / Funding Source:

N/A

Contact person:

Helena Calado

University of the Azores, MARE - Centro de Ciências do Mar e do Ambiente