New Guide Offers Best Practices For Drafting Marine Spatial Planning Legislation
May 2020

(Washington, D.C.)— Countries are increasingly turning to marine spatial planning to assess and organize present and future uses of their ocean environments. While resources on how to create a marine spatial plan are plentiful, little attention has been paid to how countries can give their marine spatial plans the force of law.

What is the Existing Framework for NEPA Assessment?

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires agencies to analyze the environmental impacts of major federal actions that will significantly affect the quality of the human environment. Agencies must consider the environmental consequences of proposed actions or projects, evaluate possible alternatives, and disclose information to the public before they issue final permits or other approvals.

Designing Marine Spatial Planning Legislation for Implementation: A Guide for Legal Drafters
Environmental Law Institute & Animals | Environment PLLC (for the Blue Prosperity Coalition)
Date Released
May 2020
Designing Marine Spatial Planning Legislation for Implementation: A Guide for Le

Ocean and coastal states around the world are increasingly seeking to better utilize and benefit from their ocean environments, which can be vast in comparison to their land areas. Conflicting human uses, a changing climate, and a desire to ensure long-term sustainability compound the challenge to grow a robust “blue economy.” Consequently, countries are turning to marine spatial planning as a comprehensive management tool to assess and organize present uses of their ocean environments and map for future uses.

Grenada and St. Vincent & the Grenadines

Marine spatial planning is an emerging ocean management tool that plans for and allocates multiple uses of the marine environment in a coordinated and spatially-explicit manner. The need for MSP has emerged out of the realization that most nations currently manage their marine environment on a sector-by-sector basis, which can result in conflicts among sectors and can also have cumulative, harmful impacts on the surrounding ecosystem.