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Published on 14-12-2021

Spatial Maritime Planning

The Maritime Spatial Planning (PSM) process is a practical way of establishing a more rational organization of the use of maritime space and the interactions between its uses, to balance the demand for development with the need to protect marine ecosystems and achieve social and economic objectives in a transparent and planned manner. As such, PSM is a fundamental enabling factor for sustainable development of the maritime economy.

CORILA has been involved since 2013 in the European MSP processes through the many projects, concluded and in progress and National, by virtue of a framework agreement signed with the Ministry of Infrastructures and Sustainable Mobility MIMS in March 2020. This agreement establishes that CORILA, CNR and IUAV , constituting the so-called “Scientific Pole (PS)”, must support the development and drafting of the Italian Maritime Space Plans that are headed by the Technical Committee (CT), a large set of public entities appointed by MIMS, as Authority Qualified.

The PSM Process in Italy

In Italy, maritime spatial planning is implemented through the elaboration, adoption and implementation of three Plans relating to the three sub-regions referred to in the marine strategy (Article 4 of Directive 2008/56 / EU) or the Western Mediterranean Sea, the Adriatic Sea and the Ionian Sea and the Central Mediterranean Sea. These Plans aim to provide strategic and directional level indications for each Maritime Area and their sub-areas, to be used as a reference for other planning actions (sectoral or local level) and for the granting of concessions. or permissions. Depending on the characteristics of the sub-areas and the planning needs, the Plans provide more or less detailed indications, both in terms of spatial resolution and in terms of definition of measures and recommendations.

The Plans meet the objectives for the planning of the national maritime space set by Directive 89/2014 / EU which establishes the need to have an intersectoral Plan capable of coordinating various policies through a single management act, which acquires the character of an “integrated plan “And” global plan “, suitable for identifying the different uses of the maritime space. The Maritime Spatial Management Plans, therefore, are placed as superordinate plans with respect to all other plans and programs capable of having effects on its same scope of application – not only those relating to marine waters, but also those concerning land activities that can have effects on marine waters.

The reference time horizon of the Plans is 2032, the year in which, at the latest, a first update will be due, taking into account where possible and necessary a longer period time horizon (year 2050).

The responsibility for the development and drafting of the Plans has been entrusted by MIMS, as Competent Authority, to the Technical Committee (CT), with the support of the “Scientific Pole (PS)”, formed by CORILA, CNR and IUAV.

The drafting of the Plans was carried out in three parallel, coordinated and coherent processes in the three reference Maritime Areas (Adriatic, Ionian-Central Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean) and was carried out in 6 Phases, in this case:

Phase 1 – Initial state and current and expected trend, which aims to provide a brief but exhaustive description of the environmental system, landscape and uses of the maritime area and of the main trends in progress, aimed at supporting the analysis process and planning;

Phase 2 – Analysis of interaction between uses and impacts on environmental components, which addresses the issue of the analysis of mutual interactions between sea uses and between uses of the sea and marine ecosystems, in order to make activities mutually compatible and ecologically sustainable in a medium-long term horizon;

Phase 3 – Vision and strategic objectives, which has the purpose of defining a vision and strategic objectives for planning, both on a national and Maritime Area scale;

Phase 4 – Strategic level planning, which intends to develop strategic level planning on the Maritime Areas and its portions (Sub-Areas and Planning Units), starting from the definition of the specific visions and objectives of Phase 3, up to the indication of vocations, measures, recommendations and guidelines on a local scale;

Phase 5 – Methodology and indicators for monitoring and adapting the Plan, which defines the characteristics of the Monitoring Program (PdM) with the aim of keeping track of the efficiency of the implementation of the Plans over time and any improvement measures in the event that these are deemed necessary, through mid- or end-term adjustments and revisions of the Plans;

Phase 6 – Activities for the consolidation, implementation and updating of the Plan which aims to define the elements of knowledge with respect to the protection of species, habitats and ecosystems that must be investigated, also in relation to the disciplinary investigations necessary to fill the uncertainties o the lack of data, information or knowledge that will be highlighted for specific themes or for specific areas within the three regions.

The Plans, drawn up according to the national Guidelines and in line with the operational methodology that the TC has developed and adopted, are also coordinated with the Plans of the neighboring EU member states and with the similar planning tools of the other neighboring countries, not members of the ‘EU.

Starting from September 15, 2022 and until October 30, 2022, the public consultation phase of the management plans of the Italian maritime space is officially open.

The documentation relating to the PSM public consultation is available on the MIMS web page and on the “SID il Portale del Mare” (https: // www /). Further information is available on the MIMS web page dedicated to Maritime Spatial Planning:

The PSM Process in Europe

Maritime Space Planning (PSM) has emerged globally as an important management and regulation tool for planning the different uses of the sea and oceans, in order to achieve both a sustainable development of the Blue Economy and the long-term marine resources.

In MIP, authorities and planners work together to identify effective sea management objectives and strategies, based on the protection of ecosystem services and the spatial reorganization of activities. PSM is also recognized as a useful means of strengthening cross-border and international collaboration.

In Europe, Directive 2014/89 / EU, which represents the reference framework for maritime spatial planning, establishes that Member States must adopt their plan by 2021. For this reason, since 2016 the European Union has supported the creation of plans at national level through the financing of various international projects such as:


these projects saw the involvement of CORILA, in some cases as coordinator (SUPREME and ADRIPLAN).

The MSP-MED Project, which is now coming to an end, develops from these initiatives with the aim of promoting the maritime spatial planning process in the Mediterranean Sea, supporting the implementation of coherent and coordinated plans , in line with the objectives of the MSP directive. The project brings together the institutions and some of the competent authorities involved in the implementation of the plans of Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Malta and Slovenia. For Italy, the Competent Authority has indicated CORILA, CNR-ISMAR and the Iuav University of Venice as a national partner.

Among the key initiatives carried out by the MSP-MED project are:

  • Support the work of the competent authorities for the MIP and / or of the inter-ministerial bodies in the creation and adoption of maritime spatial plans (in line with Articles 6 and 8 of the MIP Directive).
  • Support the development of cross-border cooperation on MIP with neighboring Member States and third countries to ensure that maritime spatial plans are coherent and coordinated between the marine regions concerned (in line with Articles 11 and 12 of the MIP Directive).
  • Make use of the best available data and comprehensively organize the sharing of information necessary for maritime space plans, using specific mechanisms and tools such as INSPIRE and EMODNet (in line with Article 10 of the PSM Directive).

The final conference of the “The Mediterranean Sea Space” project will take place in Rome on 13 and 14 October at the headquarters of the National Research Council (CNR).

CORILA will be involved in the implementation of other MSP projects:

  • The MSP-GREEN project (Maritime Spatial Planning as enabler of the European Green Deal) of which CORILA is the coordinator, aims to provide a reference framework for maritime plans as “marine enablers” of the “European Green Deal” (Green Agenda – AV) investigating the best possible approach to Maritime Spatial Planning to promote the Green Agenda with reference to all phases of the Planning itself: implementation, monitoring and review.
  • REGINA (Regions to boost National Maritime Spatial Planning) project aims to promote the participation of Regions (level 2 units in the NUTS classification), as well as local authorities and stakeholders in the process of developing and implementing national maritime spatial planning. ·
  • The REMAP (Reviewing and Evaluating the Monitoring and Assessment of Maritime Spatial Planning) project aims to provide EU Member States with an innovative technical framework to support the European MSP process. In particular, it aims at the development of data tools and models and the reuse of operational data infrastructures, enabling interoperability and allowing Member States to share MSP data and information on its evaluation.

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