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publicationNovember 2, 2022

Marine Spatial Planning for a Resilient and Inclusive Blue Economy Toolkit

Blue Economy, Marine spatial planning, PROBLUE

Oceans are faced with weak governance, lack of data, and limited investment. The World Bank is providing technical and financial support to governments and the private sector to close these knowledge gaps and support the development of a Blue Economy: the sustainable and integrated development of economic sectors in healthy oceans. Marine spatial planning (MSP) provides a comprehensive and integrated investment framework and financial and social rational for the Blue Economy. It does this by reducing investment risk and improving investors’ certainty to access marine resources. Specifically, it addresses upstream environmental and social issues and allocates the spatial and temporal distribution of marine activities. Despite increased interest in MSP, the understanding of its process and use as an investment framework is limited.

The PROBLUE multi-donor trust fund program within the World Bank, has produced this Marine Spatial Planning for a Resilient and Inclusive Blue Economy Toolkit comprising a series of guidance notes and factsheets related to the different MSP phases, and the data and tools to inform these efforts. This toolkit closes these knowledge gaps and highlights the World Bank’s opportunity to deliver financial and technical support to governments and the private sector. This is essential if countries are to take advantage of investment opportunities to improve food security and livelihoods and strengthen community resilience to natural and economic shocks.

The “Marine Spatial Planning for a Resilient and Inclusive Blue Economy” guidance note takes advantage of the World Bank’s strength in financing, technical assistance, convening across sectors and mobilizing the private sector to guide to World Bank staff and clients to design, implement and monitor marine spatial plans. The note is in two volumes:

Marine Spatial Planning Guidance Note on Blue Economy PROBLUE
Volume 1: Key Considerations to Formulate and Implement MSP outlines the MSP process: identifying entry points, making the case, establishing enabling conditions, formulating a plan and implementing it.



Marine Spatial Planning Guidance Note on Blue Economy PROBLUE
Volume 2: Integrating Cross Cutting Themes into MSP focuses on cross-cutting issues to ensure the marine spatial plan is inclusive, uses the best tools and data throughout the process, and supports delivering climate change and biodiversity targets. The cross-cutting volume also provides guidance on monitoring and evaluating progress throughout the different stages in MSP.


Applying Economic Analysis cover
Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) rarely includes a comprehensive analysis of the economic impact that plans have on the ocean and stakeholders. “Applying Economic Analyses to Marine Spatial Planning” guides clients on using various tools and data for a robust economic analysis of the MSP process. Such analyses will increase buy-in, foster livelihoods, attract finance, and help draw financing for marine projects at a sufficient scale and pace within a Blue Economy.

Blue Economy Data and Tools Guidance Note PROBLUE
The “Blue Economy Data and Tools Guidance Note” supports clients to identify key data and tools to use in MSP. Data can be in many forms: environmental, social or economic assessments, analytical studies, or a geographic information system. The type and quality of data used will directly impact the results of planning and implementation. The note also looks at different aspects of data and tools, its challenges and identifies how project managers, planners and implementers can use data to support MSP projects.

Gender, Marginalized People and Marine Spatial Planning
Gender, Marginalized People and Marine Spatial Planning highlights the benefits of empowering women and other marginalized groups in MSP. It makes six key recommendations for doing this: analyze stakeholders’ needs and interests; practice culturally sensitive and context-appropriate consultations and decision-making; use existing cooperatives and organizations to engage stakeholders; disaggregate data; consult stakeholders early for non-negotiable thresholds; and allocate an abundance of time and resources for consultations. (Also available in Portuguese, French)

Climate-Informed Marine Spatial Planning”
Climate-Informed Marine Spatial Planning guides the integration of climate risks and opportunities in the design, planning, and implementation of marine spatial plans. MSP can support clients to meet their national and international climate targets and enable the World Bank Group to implement its Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP). The Fact Sheet also highlights climate change considerations across marine sectors to reduce uncertainty for private sector investors, and recommendations for integrating climate change throughout the MSP process. (Also available in Portuguese, French)

Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BES) in Marine Spatial Planning
The Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BES) in Marine Spatial Planning outlines the role MSP and recommends mainstreaming BES into the goals of other economic sectors and highlights how MSP allows for trade-offs between oceanic sectors to help build a more sustainable approach for the use of common resources. It also notes integrating BES into MSP can support the sustainability of marine sectors, implementing the circular economy, as well as the location of marine protected areas (MPAs). (Also available in Portuguese, French)