GEF LME:LEARN Transboundary Marine Spatial Planning and Sustainable Blue Economy

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The GEF LME:LEARN Transboundary Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) and Sustainable Blue Economy Course provides an introduction into MSP concepts relevant for practitioners working within Large Marine Ecosystems and their Coasts. This course aims to provide project leads, partners, and others with practical approaches, lessons on MSP and illustrative case studies. It also serves to promote an integrated, collaborative approach to ocean and coastal management with a special emphasis on LMEs.

About this Course

This online course will familiarize participants with an understanding of what marine spatial planning is about, what benefits it can have, and what results you can expect. Furthermore, the course is designed to present the basic steps of MSP process, actors and responsibilities, legislation and finances needed, the MSP tools and techniques, and finally transboundary and cross-border contexts for MSP with a special emphasis on Large Marine Ecosystems.

Course Objectives

By the end of the course participants will:

  • Have a broad understanding of the key elements that constitute Marine Spatial Planning at national and LME/transboundary scale, and be able to relate these to the organisations and countries in which they work;
  • Understand the relevance of marine spatial planning as a topic for coastal and marine development and management;
  • Be able to balance interests of different stakeholders on the basis of clear and transparent criteria;
  • Be able to start applying Marine Spatial Planning in their own specific legal, governance and administrative contexts;
  • Be able to present the basic steps of MSP process, actors and responsibilities, legislation and finances needed, and the MSP tools and techniques, transboundary and cross-border contexts for MSP, with a special emphasis on Large Marine Ecosystems.


The course is open to participants representing various stakeholder groups from the entire water sector worldwide who are interested to actively follow the course and complete all modules:

  • stakeholders and professionals forming part of water management, civil society, river basin or international organizations; development programmes and members of UN organizations; and representatives of the private sector;
  • Sustainable Development Goals focal points and facilitators within national governments.
  • decision makers, policy makers, and high-level professionals and managers active in governmental bodies;
  • capacity developers active in the fields of ocean and water governance, marine spatial planning, and Integrated Water Resources Management,  amongst others

Contents and course structure

In each module participants will find valuable and updated readings, videos, suggested web sites, and experiences from the ground.

  • Module 1: Introduction to Marine Spatial Planning step-by-step approach
  • Module 2: Transboundary and Cross-border Marine Spatial Planning
  • Module 3: Organizing the marine spatial planning process through pre-planning
  • Module 4: MSP Toolkit
  • Module 5: Data, information, scenarios, evaluation and monitoring
  • Module 6: Marine Spatial planning in the context of a sustainable ocean economy
  • Module 7: Stakeholder Participation in MSP

Course approval criteria and certificate

Responding the quiz at the end of each module and obtaining at least 60% correct responses is a condition to move into the next module, completing the course, and receiving the certificate. There are three opportunities to reach 60% of correct answers, and in all cases the platform will indicate the wrong answers.


After completing the 3 modules, participants are invited to answer a short feedback survey of the course. Once this survey is answered, participants may download their certificate. Participation in the course, as well as the download of the certificate, has no cost for the participants.


This is a self-paced course, 100 vacancies are open to take this course. Enrolled participants must complete the course before Friday, January 29, 2021. Passed that day, participants will have access to the course content, but they will no longer be able to advance in their modules or have the possibility of completing the course and get a certificate. Later, the opening of a new edition of the course for more participants will be announced. Participants interested in taking this course are welcome to enrol by clicking in the button "Register now".

Language: English.

Structure: 3 modules.

Level: Introductory.

Content: readings, videos, forums.

Time: 12 hours.

Total time dedication: 4 weeks.

Institutions: Cap-Net, GEF LME: LEARN Project, UNDP, IOC-UNESCO.

Certification: upon approval of quizzes at the end of each module.