Skip to main content
European Commission logo

MSPglobal: international guide on marine/maritime spatial planning

MSP Global - International Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO)


As of 2021, over forty-five countries worldwide are either implementing or approving marine spatial plans – and dozens more laying the foundation – moving away from isolated sectoral management to an integrated planning framework for their maritime jurisdiction.

Produced jointly by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE), the “MSPglobal International Guide on Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning” presents a diversity of topics, case studies and actions to assist governments, partners and practitioners in their MSP processes.

Questions this practice may help answer:

  • How to prepare the planning process (stakeholders, scale of action, etc.)?
  • Which What are the key steps in preparing a maritime spatial plan?
  • How to monitor and assess MSP implementation?

Implementation Context:

The MSPglobal Guide is the result of a joint initiative by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Maritime Affaires and Fisheries (DG MARE) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, in order to support the development and implementation of marine/maritime spatial planning (MSP) processes worldwide.

Aspects / Objectives:

This objective of this guide is to support governments, decision-makers and MSP practitioners to develop maritime spatial plans and to describe the evolution and lessons learned worldwide from MSP implementation.


This guide was drafted based on the experience and accumulated expertise of professionals working on various aspects of MSP (technical, practical and conceptual). MSP Global invited professionals from all over the world to take part of an international expert group. Regional consultations and international MSP forums were also organised.

Main Outputs / Results:

This guide can be used at any stage of an MSP process, from the initial or pre-planning phase to implementation.


This guide can be used to develop MSP training courses, teaching and learning interactions, develop or advance good practices, and to engage audiences who already have previous knowledge about spatial planning.

Responsible Entity:


Costs / Funding Source:


Contact person: