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Handbook on Integrated Maritime Spatial Planning


Compilation of tools and instruments that can be applied in developing effective MSP and ICM based on experience gained in various cases in Baltic, Adriatic and Black Sea.

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

Questions this practice may help answer

  • What are the benefits of MSP?
  • How to decide whether to run an MSP process?
  • How to run an MSP process?

Implementation context

The Handbook on Integrated Maritime Spatial Planning compiles key findings of the PlanCoast project (2006-2008), which aimed at exploring the application in practice of the new approach Maritime Spatial Planning.

Aspects / Objectives

This handbook was written primarily for planners to show what they can do. It also addresses decision-makers and politicians to raise awareness for MSP. Intended as a practical guide to planning and implementing MSP, it takes readers through the different stages of the MSP process and explains key elements that are necessary for success. In particular, the handbook contains:

  • Recommendations to decision-makers for creating the IMSP framework
  • Recommendations to planners on how to tackle existing problems
  • A structured approach to planning and implementing IMSP
  • Specific tools and instruments
  • Concrete case study examples from PlanCoast pilot projects
  • The handbook also provides information on where to find other background material onMaritime Spatial Planning

Main Outputs / Results

Main elements of the handbook are:

  • An explanation of the rationale for MSP

  • A decision tree for assessing if MSP is an appropriate approach
  • Guiding questions when starting the MSP process
  • The handbook presents a model for the frame and individual stages of the MSP process. Guidance on each stage is provided in deatil and illustrated with case studies.

  • A reflection on MSP as a multi-level process


The guidance on the MSP process given in the handbook is universally applicable, since it is not specific to individual cases and explicitly states that each process is individual and context-dependent.

Contact Person

Angela Schultz-Zehden

s.Pro – sustainable projects GmbH

Email: (asz[at]sustainable-projects[dot]eu)

Responsible Entity

s.Pro – sustainable projects GmbH

Funding Source

The PlanCoast project was funded by the INTERREG III B Programme. Direct costs of this practice elaboration are unkown.