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Report on needs, barriers and enablers for MSP and Capacity Building


In this report some of the barriers and enablers in the existing platforms approaching Sea/Ocean themes are assessed and some criteria used to analyse each one is developed. The input of this deliverable consists of the processed results from the Virtual Workshop (MS5), considering the internal partners’ survey and external experts’ interviews. Inputs supported the identification of needs, barriers, and enablers in the context of ocean governance in the context of MSP. This report also supports a diagnosis of the current situation, identifying the common challenges and the opportunities to overcome them. This report identified the gaps in knowledge which needed to be covered during the capacity building process and which might be discussed and developed on the platform.

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 needs, barriers and enablers that affect the MSP process?

Implementation Context:

This report is a deliverable of the MSP-OR project - Advancing Maritime Spatial Planning in Outermost Regions, intending to support MSP competent authorities in Portugal (Azores and Madeira), Spain (Canary Islands) and France (French Guiana) to increase their knowledge, providing grounds to launch and adopt the principles of MSP.

Aspects / Objectives:

This report aims to present the needs, barriers, and enablers of the MSP process in the studied areas and details how they interact with each other in the MSP process.


A review of ocean governance in MSP was conducted based on results from workshops, scientific literature, and other work packages from the MSP-OR project.

Main Outputs / Results:

The identified needs are:

  • Have and consolidate an adaptive management that supports new data inclusion in a constant learning process that considers both specific and wider contexts.
  • Have a science-based structure with compatible data for cross-border cooperation
  • Involve cross sectoral stakeholders’ engagement from the beginning of the process
  • Translate technical language into an appropriate and effective method of communication
  • Quality research and collaborative work

The identified barriers are:

  • Prevalence of fragmented framework with multi-layered sectors and instruments
  • Many different governance systems interact on the ocean, making MSP complex and slow
  • Many "wicked problems" hamper the MSP process. "Wicked problems" are defined as "there are no straightforward solutions or definitive formulations, and stakeholders’ groups often disagree on values, norms and goals, making adaptation difficult and requiring holistic and collaborative reasoning to address them".
  • Lack of awareness and capacity

The identified enablers are:

  • Collaborative projects can build trust among participants and stakeholders
  • Dialogue maintenance in such forums/exchange platforms
  • Alignment with international policies and use of social impacts and ecosystems services assessment
  • Keeping the evaluation process and adaptation on track
  • Continually developing capacity building and fostering ocean literacy


The detailed needs, barriers and enablers are common in every MSP process and therefore this report can be used in other sea basins.

Responsible Entity:

Acores government

Costs / Funding Source:

European Union under the Grant Agreement number: 101035822 — MSP-OR — EMFF-MSP 2020.

Contact person:

MSP-OR contact: (info[at]msp-or[dot]eu)