The Role of the Law of the Sea in Marine Spatial Planning.


The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is a globally recognized legal regime. UNCLOS has been widely regarded as a “constitution for the oceans” and enshrines the notion that “the problems of ocean space are closely interrelated and need to be considered as a whole”. In compliance with the concept of effective enforcement of international norms, standards and procedures, State Parties to UNCLOS have an obligation to preserve the marine environment. The purpose of this chapter is to consider the role of the law of the sea in marine spatial planning (MSP), bearing in mind that UNCLOS has also provided the framework for the further development of, inter alia, global ocean governance.

January 2019
Application in MSP: 
Unknown effect
Not sector specific
Type of practice: 
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Vision and aims

Questions this practice may help answer: 

  • What is the role of UNCLOS in MSP?  

Implementation Context: 

The article represents a contribution to the book "Maritime Spatial Planning - past, present, future", edited in 2019. 

Aspects / Objectives: 

To analyse the role of UNCLOS in Maritime Spatial Planning.  


The relevance of UNCLOS to MSP is described.  

Main Outputs / Results: 

The role of UNCLOS in MSP is analysed. 


The insights from this study are applicable to the MSP processes at the global level.

Responsible Entity: 

University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk, Poland.

Costs / Funding Source: 

The project “Economy of maritime space”, funded by the Polish National Science Centre. 

Contact person: 

Dorota Pyć: