|Transboundary marine spatial planning across the French-Belgian maritime borders: past and future cooperation|
Queffelec, B.; Maes, F. (2015). Transboundary marine spatial planning across the French-Belgian maritime borders: past and future cooperation, in: Hassan, D. et al. (Ed.) Transboundary marine spatial planning and international law. pp. 154-173
In: Hassan, D. et al. (Ed.) (2015). Transboundary marine spatial planning and international law. Routledge: London. ISBN 9781317810599. 248 pp.
Cross-border activities, such as fisheries, shipping, nature conservation and offshore wind energy, are essential drivers for Marine Spatial Planning (MSP). However, until now, MSP remains a national policy implemented by one country, even if neighbouring countries are also conducting MSP with comparable objectives. Cross-border MSP is a challenge for the European Union (EU) too, which has to cope with multiple national borders across its maritime space. MSP in Member States (MS) is currently attracting the attention of the European Commission (EC) that views ‘cross-border cooperation and consultation’ as a principle of MSP to ‘ensure coherence of plans across ecosystems’.1 In 2009, the EC organized four workshops on MSP, highlighting cross-border issues as topical. It also funded two pilot projects on MSP: MASPNOSE (Maritime Spatial Planning in the North Sea see: https://www.wageningenur.nl/en/show/ Maspnose-Maritime-spatial-planning-in-the-North-Sea.htm) for the North Sea and Plan Bothnia for the Baltic Sea, both focusing on cross-border challenges, opportunities and constraints.2 Taking into account this focus, it comes as no surprise that DG Mare (European Commission Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries) justified its initiative to develop draft legislation concerning MSP as a means to provide a ‘framework for efficient cross-border cooperation and the rational management of the European maritime space’.3 Following this objective, the EC proposed a Directive establishing a framework for MSP and Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) in 2013.4Based on a case study in the framework of the TransMaSP research project (Transboundary Maritime Spatial Planning see: http://www.transmasp.ugent.be/ transmaspnl.html), with focus on the French-Belgian maritime border, this project aimed to contribute to the analysis of cross-border cooperation in MSP.5 In this area (see Figure 8.1.1), where there is a substantial amount of human activities such as maritime transport, tourism, and fisheries, the two countries share the same sand banks and its rich biodiversity. Nevertheless, they have a different governance approach and state structure. France is a centralized state with close to 11,000,000 km2 of sea under its jurisdiction while Belgium is a federal state governing only a small part of the North Sea (3,457 km2) (Maes et al., 2013a).