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Evaluation of marine spatial planning requires fit for purpose monitoring strategies

Journal of Environmental Management

Abstract:

The study provides a comprehensive overview of monitoring and evaluation practices in MSP, as well as a set of recommendations. The authors argue that evaluation processes could benefit from a better understanding of environmental, socio-economic and socio-cultural effects of MSP. Based on a literature review and eleven practical MSP case studies, the paper analysed present day trends in evaluation approaches, and unravelled the adoption of evaluation essentials for three categories of monitoring and evaluation for plan development, plan outcomes and policy implementation.

Application in MSP:
Type of Issue:
Type of practice:
Stage of MSP cycle:
Cross-border / trans-national aspect:
No
Key words:

Questions this practice may help answer:

  • How is MSP evaluation currently applied in planning processes?
  • Which indicators are considered relevant for planning processes?
  • How can MSP evaluation and monitoring be improved?

Implementation Context:

The study was carried out in collaboration between European academic and research institutions.

Aspects / Objectives:

The study aims at providing a comprehensive overview of monitoring and evaluation practices in MSP along with the key recommendations to aid consistent, transparent, sustainable, and evidence-based decision-making in MSP.

Method:

The article refined the scope of monitoring and evaluation in MSP by defining three categories that reflect different aspects of an evaluation process:

i) monitoring and evaluation of plan making;

ii) monitoring and evaluation of the plan's outcomes; and

iii) monitoring and evaluation of MSP policy implementation.

These defined a typology of monitoring and evaluation in MSP, and used a typology for standardised literature review on evaluation approaches to assess current evaluation practices based on cases studies.

Main Outputs / Results:

The study informed on how MSP assessment has evolved and highlighted key challenges for MSP monitoring and evaluation. The authors also improve the understanding of MSP evaluation by analysing the use of evaluation essentials against the three categories of plan making, plan outcomes, and policy implementation.

Transferability:

Forthcoming MSP processes need to deepen the understanding and considerations of cause-effect pathways between human activities and changes of ecosystem state through the adoption of targeted cumulative effects assessments.

Responsible Entity:

Thünen Institute of Sea Fisheries, Germany

Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Institute for Coastal Research, Germany

Funding Source:

Thünen Institute of Sea Fisheries, Germany

Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Institute for Coastal Research, Germany

Contact person:

V. Stelzenmüller 

vanessa.stelzenmuelleratthuenen.de (vanessa[dot]stelzenmueller[at]thuenen[dot]de)