Maritime transport and port stakeholders gather to discuss Maritime Spatial Planning implementation
On 6 June 2014, DG MARE organised a conference on MSP and shipping in Athens. This event was the third in a series of stakeholder events assessing the benefits and challenges of MSP for specific maritime sectors and activities. The conferences aim to draw conclusions on the specific needs and best practices of specific sectors to enhance their inclusion in MSP. It will feed the work of the Commission to support the implementation of the Directive on MSP, which enters into force in 2014.
In a press conference the previous evening, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ms. Damanaki, Greece Shipping Minister, Mr. Varvitsiotis and Ms. Meissner (MEP) welcomed the agreement on the MSP Directive. Mr. Varvitsiotis highlighted the directive as one of the main achievements of the Greek Presidency. The three stressed the importance of the implementation of the Directive as support to boost blue growth strategies in Member States.
The conference itself was chaired by the Greek Ministry of Shipping and gathered representatives of the industry, regions, environmental NGOs and national authorities dealing with transport, ports and spatial planning. It offered a first real chance for the shipping and ports industry to discuss MSP. Representatives of the sector (ECSA, ESPO, Port of Rotterdam…) stressed that they should be fully involved in the implementation of the MSP Directive. It was highlighted that MSP should be both an opportunity for the sector to have a say on the development of new maritime activities, but also to ensure future space needs (more traffic, larger vessels, port developments...).
Many speakers (IMO, Cyprus Department of Merchant Shipping, the Nautical Institute...) highlighted that there is no contradiction between shipping's international regulatory framework and national MSP implementation. Existing examples prove that IMO spatial and safety rules, especially in terms of routing, can be fairly easily articulated with national MSP.
Speakers and the audience also stressed that the real benefits of the Directive will depend on its implementation. Political awareness needs to be high, especially to ensure good links with land planning and to use MSP to streamline administrative decisions (for instance through one stop shop for planning and licensing).
All presentations can be found on the website of the conference:http://www.amiando.com/MSPConference_Athens.html. The next conference will take place in the autumn in Italy and will be focused on MSP and Maritime and Coastal Tourism. Please contact MARE-E1@ec.europa.eu if you wish to be informed about future workshops.