Today, on European Maritime Day, 26 environmental NGOs come together as one voice to demand that the proposed Directive on Maritime Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Management (MSP-ICM) gets a firmer environmental legal basis.

Today, on European Maritime Day, 26 environmental NGOs come together as one voice to demand that the proposed Directive on Maritime Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Management (MSP-ICM) gets a firmer environmental legal basis.

In a joint position paper, BirdLife Europe, Seas At Risk and WWF, supported by 23 NGOs from across Europe, warn that unless MSP-ICM are used in a way that bases decisions on the health of the environment and on the precautionary principle, the EU’s ’Blue Growth’ agenda will never be sustainable.

Monica Verbeek, Executive Director of Seas At Risk, said: “In times of economic crisis, Blue Growth is of course a popular message for policy makers to bring. They should realise, however, that without healthy marine ecosystems there can be no healthy maritime economy. We hope that the Directive will help to ensure more science-based and sustainable decision making and a more cautious use of the seas’ finite resources.”

The EU’s Blue Growth agenda for economic growth and employment is the focus of today’s discussions at European Maritime Day. The European Commission regards its proposal for MSP-ICM Directive as the key to unlocking this growth. The proposal puts environmental objectives on par with transport, fisheries and energy objectives.

The NGOs stress that the main purpose of MSP-ICM should be achieving Good Environmental Status, as required by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, and that environment should thus be the Directive’s prime legal basis.

Johanna Karhu of BirdLife Europe said: “MSP-ICM could be an improvement on the traditional ad-hoc and unsustainable sectoral approach to marine management, which has led to over-exploitation of resources and significant environmental decline. Achieving the objectives of EU’s environmental legislation must however be at the heart of the new Directive.”

Rita Santos of WWF’s European Policy Office said “We hope that the Directive will underpin the environmental protection of Europe’s busy seas and enable the efficient planning of infrastructure in an integrated manner between member states. Properly planned developments in Europe’s seas will ensure that the collective pressure of all activities is kept within environmental limits whilst allowing the sustainable use of marine goods and services by present and future generations.”

 

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