This document was produced as part of the SIMWESTMED Project (Grant Agreement N0. EASME/EMFF/2015/126.96.36.199/02/SI2.742101).
PROJECT: Supporting Implementation of Maritime Spatial Planning in the Western Mediterranean region (SIMWESTMED)
Competition for maritime space – for renewable energy equipment, aquaculture and other uses – has highlighted the need to manage our waters more coherently. Maritime spatial planning (MSP) works across borders and sectors to ensure human activities at sea take place in an efficient, safe and sustainable way. That is why the European Parliament and the Council have adopted a legislation to create a common framework for maritime spatial planning in Europe. The Directive 2014/89/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 2014 (said Maritime Spatial Planning Directive) establishes a framework in order to reduce conflicts between sectors and create synergies between different activities, to encourage investment – by creating predictability, transparency and clearer rules, to increase cross-border cooperation – between EU countries to develop energy grids, shipping lanes, pipelines, submarine cables and other activities, but also to develop coherent networks of protected areas, and to protect the environment – through early identification of impact and opportunities for multiple use of space.
The SIMWESTMED project (Supporting Implementation of Maritime Spatial Planning in the Western Mediterranean region) is an EU/DG Mare co-funded cross-border project. It was launched on 1st of January 2017 and involves Spain, France, Italy and Malta, while these countries had just designated their Competent Authorities and transposed the Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) Directive. SIMWESTMED aims to support the implementation of the MSP Directive in the waters of Spain, France, Italy and Malta, as well as to establish cross-border cooperation mechanisms between these Member States, to contribute to the coherence of their marine spatial plans to be established by 2021.
The action ran until 31st of December 2018 and was based on a partnership of public bodies of the countries and two international organisations. It was composed of CEDEX, IEO, AFB, CEREMA, Shom, CORILA and its affiliated entities IUAV and CNR-ISMAR, MIT, IMELS, PA, CPMR, UNEP-MAP and its affiliated entity UNEP-MAP/PAP-RAC. Shom acted as coordinator.
The objectives of the SIMWESTMED project were addressed through a variety of activities and desktop or case studies. They are dedicated to identifying the methodology steps, and explore the challenges and opportunities of the MSP implementation in the Western Mediterranean area, including thus related to transboundary issues (Ecosystem based approach, marine policies, Barcelona Convention, Land Sea Interactions, geographical scale of the plans, data interoperability, tools to support MSP). The project led to a multiplicity of outputs including overviews of MSP relevant information related to the countries and on more focus areas, to a number of interviews and meetings where stakeholder views were collected to feed the reasoning, and to guidelines and good practices to be shared at a national and transnational level with marine stakeholders, scientists as well as planners, administrations and authorities.
In addition, SIMWESTMED permitted a lot of progression internally in the countries and regarding transboundary cooperation. It led to establish and develop new dialogues and to connect the technical or scientific actors, the stakeholders, the administrations of the countries of a same sea basin, and the administrations within the countries, including the representative of Regions. It allowed to better understand Maritime Spatial Planning mechanisms, to share knowledge and as such reached to build capacities, which is of importance as there is such a need in the Mediterranean area compared to more Northern countries. The project also permitted to address topics which have never been addressed before.
The involvement of some countries in SIMWESTMED and in the EU-DG Mare "brother" projects SUPREME, SIMNORAT and SIMCelt was useful for them to develop a global vision with their neighbours through the East and West side of the Mediterranean and in the Atlantic sea basin.
At the end of this exercise, it is stated the need of pursuing the work and dialogue in particular through common tools, but at this stage, the SIMWESTMED has constituted a common knowledge and background.
D I S C L A I M E R:
The contents and conclusions of this report, including the maps and figures, do not imply the expression of any opinion or endorsement of the participating partners concerning the legal status of any country, territory, area, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The depiction and use of boundaries, geographic names and related data shown on maps included in this report are not warranted to be error free nor do they imply official endorsement or acceptance by any of the participating partners. This report is a working document and may rely on data from sources external to the SIMWESTMED project Consortium and, in addition to this, it may contain some information gaps. Neither the European Commission or Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises nor UN Environment/MAP Barcelona Convention Secretariat may be held responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained in this report.