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Evaluation of the maritime spatial planning process


This guidance was developed to formulate a customized MSP monitoring framework for the Eastern Mediterranean. It involved the  further  development  of  existing  approaches  to  the evaluation  of  MSP  in  the  planning  process  as  well  as  in  the  implementation  and  revision phases, by means of a review and development of evaluation criteria and indicators. Specific evaluation criteria  and  indicators  were  developed  to  evaluate the MSP  process  at different  scales  and  at  different phases. Final  recommendations  for  a  suitable monitoring and evaluation(M&E) process are indicated.

Application in MSP:
Type of practice:
Stage of MSP cycle:
Cross-border / trans-national aspect:
Coherence with other processes:
Key words:

Questions this practice may help answer:

  • How can a MSP process be monitored and evaluated?

Implementation Context:

Under the SUPREME project, this guidance was developed for the elaboration of a Monitoring and Evaluation guideline customized to the Eastern Mediterranean.

Aspects / Objectives:

To develop a guidance for monitoring and evaluation of maritime spatial planning in the context of the SUPREME project, which can be used to support MSP processes in the Eastern Mediterranean.


Through a literature review on monitoring and evaluation of existing maritime spatial planning projects, this guidance looked at the cases of ADRIPLAN, MESMA, TPEA, SIMCELT, MASPNOSE and PlanBothnia to develop a conceptual framework to be applied in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Main Outputs / Results:

An overview of the conceptual framework of MSP evaluation and monitoring informed by case studies and academic literature. The proposed framework for SUPREME for E&M is depicted in the following diagram:

A set of key recommendations for the E & M are also set out throughout this guidance as follows:

  • Marine spatial planning (MSP) is a continuing, adaptive process that should include performance monitoring and evaluation as essential elements of the overall management process.
  • Planners and managers should know how to incorporate monitoring and evaluation considerations into the MSP process from its very beginning, and not wait until a plan is completed before thinking about how to measure “success”
  • Effective performance monitoring and evaluation is only possible when management objectives and expected outcomes are written in a way that is clear and measurable, either quantitatively or qualitatively, as part of the logical framework analysis process during the MSP project design stage, and potentially subsequently when more specific objectives are set for actual planning, following the analysis and clarification of specific issues.
  • Performance monitoring and evaluation moves beyond the traditional input–output focused evaluation, and, when used effectively, helps policymakers and decision makers focus on and analyze outcomes or results. Inputs and outputs tell little about the effectiveness or efficiency of a marine spatial plan. While traditional evaluation remains an important part of the chain of performance evaluation, it is the outcomes that are of most interest and importance to governments and stakeholders.
  • MSP plans should be evaluated, not only by their outcomes, but for how they improve the understanding of decision makers and stakeholders about present and future problems they face and the opportunities that planning presents to deal with problems in the present to avoid them in the future.
  • No single generic evaluation framework fits all purposes. Different evaluation needs require different evaluation approaches—no one approach fits all needs.
  • The identification of indicators and targets are critical for effective performance monitoring and evaluation; the results framework with indicators, targets and baselines should be linked to a monitoring and evaluation plan.
  • The meaning of indicators should be understood by as wide a range of stakeholders as possible.
  • The number of indicators should also be realistic and proportionate in terms of what can be measured with the given resources, but enough to ensure a comprehensive description of the system.


The conceptual framework on monitoring and evaluation of MSP described in this guidance can be used to inform MSP processes in other sea basins around the world.

Responsible Entity:

NTUA,UTh (with the participation of CORILA and YPEN)

Costs / Funding Source:

European Maritime and Fisheries Fund of the European Union-through the Grant Agreement EASME/EMFF/2015/ -SUPREME

Contact person:

Pierpaolo Campostrini
Managing Director of CORILA