Improved science based maritime spatial planning and identification of marine protected areas

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Open Call Reference: HORIZON-CL6-2021-BIODIV-01-12


Restored and properly protected coastal and marine ecosystems bring substantial health, social and economic benefits to coastal communities and the EU and Associated Countries as a whole. The need for stronger action is all the more acute as marine and coastal ecosystem biodiversity loss is severely exacerbated by global warming.


Achieving a good environmental status of marine ecosystems, will be accomplished not only through protected areas and the restoration of important ecosystems but also by the ways we use the sea so that we no longer endanger food security, fishers’ livelihoods, and the fisheries and seafood sectors. The EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 underlines the application of an ecosystem-based management approach to reduce the adverse impacts of fishing, extraction, mining and other human maritime activities, taking into account pressures from land-based activities, especially on sensitive species and seabed habitats. To support this, national maritime spatial plans should aim to cover all blue economy sectors and take into account the natural ecological features and the link between them.


– Prioritisation of future protected areas, restoration areas, and science-based maritime spatial planning (including in larger scale hot spots identified in maritime national plans in order to develop ad hoc plans addressing specific scenarios so as to ameliorate the high impact of human activities over the ecosystem services).
– Implementation of the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 (legally protect a minimum of 30% of the EU’s sea area of which 10% is strictly protected, and integrate ecological corridors, as part of a true Trans-European Nature Network, maritime spatial planning and ecosystem-based management covering all sectors and activities at sea, as well as area-based conservation-management measures) and the Convention on Biological Diversity post-2020 framework.
– Improved science based for the description of Ecologically or Biologically Significant marine Areas (EBSA)

– Design of ad hoc innovative flexible socio-ecological management to cope with a rapidly changing environment for coastal, offshore and deep-sea marine ecosystems, taking into account their connectivity, including through deep-sea migratory species, and the need to preserve their inherent natural dynamics.
– Where relevant, creating links to and using the information and data of the European Earth observation programme Copernicus, the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) is expected
– Proposals should outline a plan on how they intend to collaborate with other projects selected under any other relevant topic/call.
– Provide approaches for greater policy coherence between the Water Framework Directive, Marine Strategy Framework Directive, Maritime Spatial Planning and the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 and how these policies can better assist in the preservation of inherently and spatially dynamic systems.

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