Supporting Implementation of the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive in the Celtic Seas (SIMCelt)
Co-funded by the European Commission, SIMCelt is a two-year project which aims to promote practical cross-border cooperation between three EU Member States on the implementation of the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive in the Celtic Seas. Using an ecosystem-based approach to management, the MSP Directive aims to mitigate the collective pressures of human activities while promoting the holistic management of marine resources. Given the fluid nature of ocean ecosystems, coherent transnational planning will be key to ensuring sustainable development of the maritime economy throughout the Celtic Seas region.
SIMCelt brings together government bodies and research institutes from the UK, Ireland and France to develop practitioner focused, ecosystems-based management tools to support coherent transboundary MSP within the Celtic Seas region. SIMCelt’s over-arching objective is to support these three Member States and by extension others, with practical ways of implementing the MSP directive. It will build upon existing mechanisms for transboundary working to enhance cooperation and engagement and reduce cross-sectoral conflict. SIMCelt will explore key strategic and jurisdictional barriers to effective cooperation suggesting ways to overcome them and promote the development of coherent maritime spatial plans within the Celtic Seas.
The Celtic Seas Partnership
The Irish Sea Maritime Forum Secretariat is currently working with WWF UK on a project called the Celtic Seas Partnership. This is a four year, EU LIFE+ funded project running from January 2013 to December 2016. The Celtic Seas Partnership aims to support implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) by facilitating engagement with a wide range of stakeholders across the Celtic Seas. Other partners on the project include Seaweb Europe, the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly (Ireland) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
The Celtic Seas Partnership will be drawing to a close at the end of March 2017 and has produced a number of valuable outputs, all of which can be downloaded from the Celtic Seas Partnership website. Some of these outputs are highlighted below:
- Marine Proofing for Good Environmental Status of the Sea – Good Practice Guidelines for Terrestrial Planning
- Marine Proofing for Good Environmental Status of the Sea – Country Factsheets
- Nature’s Services and the Sea – a resource pack on ecosystem services for marine and coastal users
- 3 best practice guides covering marine management and decision making across borders, co-location of marine renewables with other interests and marine user conflict prevention/resolution
- Future trends work
Irish Sea Rim
The Irish Sea Rim has been initiated to explore the potential for growth, innovation & collaboration around the Irish Sea; encompassing 3 nation states, 6 countries, and a wealth of public and private sector linkages. The Irish Sea Rim can drive socio-economic growth across national boundaries and develop regional excellence through increased collaboration and an integrated network that cross-cuts sectors. The Irish Sea Rim will operate as an umbrella organisation and portal for regional programmes, investment and projects to over 18m people. With Energy a key sector, the Irish Sea Rim has the ability to develop as a regional economic counterbalance to London (centric-ness) that is often quoted as dominating UK politics and its economy.
Transboundary Planning in the European Atlantic
The Transboundary Planning in the European Atlantic (TPEA) Project was part-funded by DG MARE with the objective of investigating the delivery of a commonly-agreed approach to cross-border maritime spatial planning (MSP) in the European Atlantic region. TPEA was a pilot initiative which brought together Government bodies, research centres and data agencies from the UK, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland. The work of the TPEA partnership focused on three key aspects of MSP: stakeholder engagement; governance and legal frameworks, and data management; two pilot sites were used to trial the approaches and methodologies implemented by the TPEA partnership – one in the north (Republic of Ireland/Northern Ireland, Irish Sea) and one in the south (Spain/Portugal, Algarve-Bay of Cadiz). Key outputs include a Good Practice Guide which presents the key lessons and principles (illustrated with examples) to emerge from the TPEA project. The guide is intended to assist authorities with responsibility for MSP, agencies and other institutions supporting the implementation of MSP, coastal and marine stakeholders and other parties with an interest in the outcomes of MSP, and the scientific MSP community.