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Land Sea Interactions in the framework of ICZM and MSP


This document aims to provide a methodological guideline for analysing land-sea interactions (LSI) within MSP, and explores how such analysis can be embedded in the wider ICZM context. In this perspective, this document intends to support MSP planners with a possible operative framework for LSI analysis, identifying specific actions to be carried out in close connections with the MSP process. Finally, with specific regard to addressing the MSP Directive requirements, the ultimate scope of this document is to provide some guidance on how to (re)organise topics, information and effort, including those eventually already available from formal or informal processes (e.g. ICZM). The document merges specific contribution derived by the two SUPREME and SIMWESTMED projects.

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:

  • How can LSI be analysed within the MSP process?
  • What are other planning processes requiring LSI analysis?
  • What criteria can be considered to identify the geographic scope and scale of LSI analysis?

Implementation Context: 

The methodological guidelines were developed with the context of the SUPREME and SIMWESTMED cross-border MSP projects. They are intended to be applied for the integration of LSI within marine spatial planning. The guidelines were tested in case studies within the implementation of the projects. Links to the project specific reports are available here:

Key aspects concerning LSI in marine and coastal planning are:

  • The management of LSI should take into account the interactions of planning processes and plans for land and sea areas 
  • It is important to ensure that legal, administrative, consultation and technical processes are coordinated to avoid unnecessary duplications, incoherence, conflicts, waste of resources and/or excessive demand of stakeholders’ efforts 
  • The challenge is to plan and manage inshore and offshore activities in harmonized manner considering the functional integrity of the land-sea continuum 
  • The achievement of this coherence also requires alignment/integration of the different approaches, methodologies and tools applied respectively on land and at sea. 

Aspects / Objectives:

  • Provide a methodological guideline for LSI analysis within MSP 
  • Collect the needed information for a coherent land-marine planning across the coast interface 
  • Support MSP planners with a possible operative framework for LSI analysis by identifying specific actions to be carried out in close connection with the MSP process
  • Inform MSP through the identification of the key elements linking the land and marine components of the coast that need to be taken into account when planning the sea space, i.e. LSI problems to be addressed and opportunities to be exploited.


Through a literature review of existing academic articles, previous projects in the Mediterranean (e.g. UNEP/MAP CAMPs), analysis of country legislation and recommendations from MSP experts and practitioners involved in the projects, a step-wise approach to analyse land-sea interaction for maritime spatial planning was developed. The following background concepts were identified:

  • Two typologies of LSI interactions should be considered: interactions due to natural processes and interactions among land and sea-based activities. 
  • Influence of LSI on planning processes and plans for land and sea areas, as well as relations between land and sea communities, should be taken into account. 
  • Temporal dynamics of interactions should be considered. This is particularly relevant when dealing with natural processes across the land-sea interface. 
  • Criteria to define the scale and geographic scope of the analysis should be considered, weighting them according to their relative importance in the specific study area. 
  • Independently to the specific approached scale, link to a sea-basin scale approach should be taken, as a number of LSI issues have a clear wide-transboundary dimension. 
  • Linking to the more detailed analysis, identifying the specific hot-spot areas for LSI (e.g. major port infrastructures, river input, coastal nursery habitat, etc.) is also needed. 
  • LSI analysis should be based on the best available information, transparently highlight current gaps. 

Main Outputs / Results:

The main product is a methodological guideline to perform LSI analysis within an MSP process, which is described in detail within the referenced document and is summarized in the following diagram:

Figure 1 - Step-by-step methodological guideline to account for LSI in MSP

PART A and PART B of the step-wise process are proposed as two different levels of analysis according to a tiered approach. PART A is intended to be a preliminary analysis phase, aiming at identifying most relevant elements for LSI, and considering, in principle, all known land-sea interactions in the area. PART B represents a focused analysis phase, to be carried out only for the most important interactions, selected through PHASE A. These interactions are those relevant for MSP key issues, identified by the planning process. Given this approach, some steps in PART B represent a deepening of the analysis carried out thorough corresponding steps in PART A.

Since LSI analysis is embedded within the process of preparation of an MSP plan, the proposed LSI steps are clearly linked to some of the typical MSP phases. Some of the proposed LSI steps consistently overlap with corresponding MSP ones, and shall therefore be implemented together also to avoid duplication of effort and optimize timing. The opportunity to streamline LSI analysis within the process of plan making is highlighted also by Shipman et al., (2018)[1]

Incorporating LSI analysis outcomes into coastal and maritime plans represents the final and probably the most critical phase in the process of accounting for land-sea interactions. In fact, given the heterogeneity of planning contexts, the timing and the ways to incorporate LSI outcomes may be different. When planning processes formally recognize LSI (like in the case of ICZM or MSP) this can be done within a clear scheme and governance. When LSI is not formalized as a step in the planning process informal mechanisms should be established.


The conceptual framework and methodological guidelines proposed for integrating land-sea interactions and ICZM into the MSP process can be applied to different Sea Basins. Within SUPREME and SIMWESTMED projects guidelines were tested on some case studies.

Responsible Entity:

Priority Actions Programme/Regional Activity Centre (PAP/RAC)

Costs / Funding Source:

Co-funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund of the European Union (Grant Agreement EASME/EMFF/2015/ – SUPREME; Grant Agreement: EASME/EMFF/2015/ - SIMWESTMED)


Emiliano Ramieri
THETIS Spa (Emiliano[dot]RAMIERI[at]thetis[dot]it)

Martina Bocci
THETIS Spa (martina[dot]bocci[dot]1[at]gmail[dot]com)

Marina Markovic
UNEP-MAP PAP/RAC (marina[dot]markovic[at]paprac[dot]org)


[1]Shipman et al., 2018. Land Sea Interactions in Maritime Spatial Planning. Prepared for DG-ENV. Available at accessed in September 2018.