In 2013, the European Commission proposed a Directive to spur the integration of Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) and Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) within and across Member States. To ascertain if key elements for integration exist, fundamental questions should be addressed: Are there (compatible) national policies/plans for the coast and ocean? Are ICM strategies in line with MSP policies? Are the agencies responsible for ICM and MSP coordinated? Are there common goals, indicators and integrated measures between both types of policies/plans? Portugal is one of the world's largest maritime nations, and is actively engaged in preparing policies and planning/management legislation for the ocean. An analysis of the current Portuguese policy/legislative framework, in terms of the above mentioned questions, suggested that: coordination among coastal and maritime policies and strategies is unclear, as is the articulation between institutions and between spatial plans for coastal and maritime zones; objectives of relevant policies are mismatched; there are yet no indicators to evaluate coastal and ocean policies/plans, and the articulation between measures to integrate ICM and MSP is unclear. Despite language barriers and people/institutional resistance to change, effective integration of MSP/ICM requires: flexibility and novel approaches, public participation and stakeholder involvement, systemic approaches, and finding strategic level indicators to evaluate integrated policies. Portugal can play a lead role in setting an example for other coastal nations worldwide. If appropriately tackled, the mismatches highlighted in this analysis provide pointers that may contribute to a more effective integration of ICM and MSP in Portugal and in other coastal nations.
- marine spatial planning
- plan evaluation