Cross-border cooperation in the Macaronesian Marine Spatial Planning, under debate in the Canary Islands

The University Institute ECOAQUA, dependent on the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC), has organized two technical workshops that will bring together hundreds of experts this September 21st in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and next September 28th in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, with the aim to establish the basis for cross-border cooperation for Macaronesia between Portugal and Spain in the coming years

These meetings are organized in partnership with the Macaronesian Marine Spatial Planning Project - MarSP), financed by The Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) of the European Commission, which is the program that has helped the development of marine spatial planning in the Canary Islands, and in which all the social and economic stakeholders and sectors linked to the marine environment of the Archipelago must work to create and establish a more rational use of marine space and the interactions among its uses.

In recent decades there has been a significant increase on demand and competition for the use of maritime space with the participation of multiple stakeholders related to various economic activities, such as marine conservation, renewable and non-renewable energy, aquaculture, fishing, tourism and leisure, among others. Therefore, it seems increasingly important to search for appropriate solutions to find the right balance between the development of maritime sectors and the good environmental status in marine and coastal ecosystems.

In this sense, ecosystem planning is a major challenge within the common European policy and for the maritime sector as a whole, which can provide enormous potential for economic and social growth, in order to guarantee biodiversity and ecosystem services and to preserve the marine environment.

The first of the sessions organised by ECOAQUA will take place this Friday, 21st September, at the Institución Ferial de Canarias (INFECAR), in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and the second next Friday, 28th September at the Spanish Institute of Oceanography of Canary Islands, in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Both workshops will follow a similar program, from 10:00 to 13:30, and about 600 experts are summoned there.

The marine spatial planning project being developed in the three outermost Macaronesian regions (Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands) will be presented to the attendees during the two workshops with the aim of improving cross-border cooperation between Portugal and Spain in the area, as well as establishing priority areas and similar planning processes that will make it possible to have a standard methodology applicable throughout 2019, in line with the EU Directive on Maritime Spatial Planning (Directive 2014/89/EU).
 
The researchers of the ULPGC University Institute ECOAQUA work in 35 research segments. The organization has more than 20 years of research experience and international R&D. It is dedicated to the promotion of research, innovation and postgraduate training in the conservation and sustainable use of coastal resources, in addition to the development of sustainable aquaculture, with the aim of addressing the field in a multidisciplinary way of the marine environment and its problems, as well as the study and management of natural resources.