Africa charts a course for a sustainable Blue Economy
Emphasising the importance of marine spatial planning
TANZANIA: The Second Marine Spatial Planning Forum for Africa took place this week in Dar es Salaam to explore the potential of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) in driving Africa's sustainable Blue Economy.
Organised by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) and its Sub Commissions, in collaboration with various regional institutions and initiatives, the forum brought together experts, policymakers, and stakeholders.
The African Blue Economy Strategy (ABES) recognises MSP as a fundamental enabler for harnessing the immense potential of Africa's coastal and ocean resources. ABES seeks to drive economic growth, alleviate poverty, and promote environmental sustainability through the sustainable use of marine resources.
The Updated MSP Roadmap, a collaborative initiative by IOC-UNESCO and the European Commission, places significant emphasis on “capacity development and awareness.” This strategic focus is geared towards facilitating knowledge exchange, transfer, and creating a heightened awareness of MSP's benefits and best practices. It is through such capacity building that African nations can effectively implement MSP, unlocking the full potential of their marine resources while preserving the delicate ecological balance.
While the MSP approach has gained global recognition, many countries still require support in the development and implementation of their marine spatial plans. This need for assistance is particularly pronounced in Africa, where the potential of the Blue Economy remains largely untapped. The 2nd MSP Forum for Africa aims to address this gap by addressing the unique challenges and opportunities associated with Marine Spatial Planning on the African continent.
Marine Spatial Planning, as a public process, involves the meticulous analysis and allocation of the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine areas. This process aims to harmonize ecological, economic, and social objectives, all of which are determined through a political framework. By striking a balance between conservation and sustainable development, MSP has emerged as a critical tool for managing marine resources and fostering responsible economic growth.