Marine spatial planning facilitates management of competing interests by planning where different activities will happen. During the planning process, marine stakeholders with different interests, including industry and government representatives and those interested in conservation and recreational uses, are brought together to make better informed and collaborative decisions about how best to use ocean resources.
While each maritime country has its own area of national jurisdiction, the interconnected nature of the ocean requires cooperation between countries and stakeholders to share resources effectively and sustainably. The process can be challenging due of the many users involved. For example, one area might be designated for tourism, another for commercial fishing, and another for oil and gas drilling. This is further complicated when resources are split across multiple countries or states, which requires joint consideration of impacts and ways of achieving mutually beneficial outcomes. Identifying good practices, particularly in cases where cross-border cooperation is required, can assist marine spatial planning and aid national policy.
Global, regional and national datasets on environmental and ecological states, marine spatial uses and boundaries have been developed, and can be used to guide spatial planning and identify priority areas for conservation.
Marine and coastal biodiversity data can be used alongside other datasets to support marine spatial planning. Those hosted on the Ocean Data Viewer have been used by:
- Academics and the not-for-profit sector to conduct marine spatial planning and develop proposals for marine protected areas, or to identify priority areas for conservation
- Governments to develop formal reports for national and global policy reporting, including the development of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans for the Convention on Biological Diversity
- Research institutes and the development financing sector to update or provide information on current national policies, including marine spatial planning