Marine Spatial Planning

The One Ocean Hub is exploring ways in which we can ‘connect the disconnects’ in ocean governance processes and make sure Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) involves stakeholders across all affected sectors and groups.

Hub aims is to work towards inclusive and equitable MSP framework. Photo: Heather Nel


Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is a process/tool established to manage marine spaces that represents different layers of interest or use. MSP generally has three ‘legs’: the legal, biophysical and socio-economic. The challenges in MSP to date are primarily concerned with symmetry relations between what are often very powerful profit-based extractive companies and less powerful coastal communities and groups. Another prevalent challenge is integrating spatial layers for intangible cultural values attached to ocean spaces.

Although MSP is supposed to be a collaborative and multi-sectoral process of ocean governance, it is currently criticised for being top-down and ignoring certain sectors and knowledge systems. The One Ocean Hub is therefore exploring ways in which we can ‘connect the disconnects’ in ocean governance processes and make sure MSP reaches its potential in involving stakeholders across all affected sectors and groups. The aim of the Hub’s research is to work towards inclusive and equitable MSP framework.

A MSP framework that sincerely and effectively engages interest groups across different sectors and integrates indigenous and local knowledge systems has the potential of moving towards ocean governance that can value all three aspects of sustainability and therefore promote equity and social justice alongside conservation and socio-economic development.