Coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP)

A science-based tool that regions can use to address specific ocean management challenges and advance their goals for economic development and conservation. Governments can use marine planning to coordinate activities among all coastal and ocean interests and provide the opportunity to share information. This process is designed to decrease user conflict, improve planning and regulatory efficiencies, decrease associated costs and delays, engage affected communities and stakeholders, and preserve critical ecosystem functions and services.



The ecosystem approach is a strategy for the integrated management of land, water and living resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way.


A public and private interactions undertaken to address challenges and create opportunities within society. Governance thus includes the development and application of the principles, rules, norms, and enabling institutions that guide public and private interactions.

B Armitage D.R., Plummer, R., Berkes, F. , Arthur, R. I., Charles, A. T, Davidson-Hunt, I. J., Diduck, I. P., Doubleday, N. C., Johnson, D. S., Marschke, M., McConney, P., Pink-erton, E. W. and Wollenberg, E. K.. 2008. Adaptive co-management for social–ecological complexity. Front Ecol Environ; 6, doi:10.1890/070089


Governance practices and arrangements practiced but not codified in text

Integrated coastal management

A constantly realized decision-making process with a view of sustainable use, development and protection of seaside terrestrial and coastal marine areas and their resources.

Large Marine

Relatively large areas of ocean space of approximately 200,000 km² or greater, adjacent to the continents in coastal waters where primary productivity is generally higher than in open ocean areas. There are 66 defined LMEs globally, and to date, the GEF has supported sustainable governance of 23 LMEs in which multiple countries collaborate on strategic, long-term ocean governance of transboundary resources.

Maritime Spatial Planning

A public process of analysing and allocating the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic and social objectives that have been specified through a political process

Soft law

Co-operation based on instruments that are not legally binding, or whose binding force is somewhat ”weaker” than that of traditional law, such as codes of conduct, guidelines, roadmaps, peer reviews.