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Call for applications: workshop on MFC, Maritime Spatial Planning and Climate Change

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

On 9-11 October 2023 in Bremerhaven (Germany), SEA-UNICORN ​WG3 will organize a 3-day workshop focussing on the relationship between Marine Functional Connectivity (MFC) and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), and specifically address the effects of climate change. The emphasis will be on merging Systematic Conservation Planning within MSP.

The operationalization of connectivity, coherence, and equivalence inside areas and across natural, socio-economic, and geopolitical boundaries requires novel approaches. The role of overlapping or conflicting designations in MSP and Conservation planning (e.g., EBSA, OECM, MPA, Natura 2000 sites) needs to be considered, for tools and approaches for EB-MSP, EBM to achieve the Marine Conservation Objectives in light of anthropogenic marine use.

With our evolving understanding of Marine Functional Connectivity, we are increasingly confronted with a complex factor: Climate Change. Therefore, a large number of recent MFC studies consider climate scenarios, and under these scenarios often observe changes in spatial use. As a consequence, previously designated marine protected areas might lose their effectiveness in the future, as they no longer cover the optimal areas based on scientific knowledge. We will evaluate recent studies on this topic and review if existing Marine Protected Areas guidelines are fit for purpose and consider the effects of climate change. We will also propose guidelines for dealing with climate change in Marine Protected Area designation, evaluation, and propose strategies for adaptation of boundaries and locations. The outcome of the workshop will be a draft paper to inform marine managers and policymakers about MFC Systematic Conservation Planning within MSP.

We are looking forward to meeting and working with interested Sea-UNICORN members and experts from all sectors regarding this workshop.


  • David Goldsborough, (SEA-UNICORN, WG3 Co-leader, Van Hall Larenstein, Netherlands)

  • Mike Elliott (SEA-UNICORN/Project MarinePlan, IECS, UK)

  • Ánna Reichel (Project MarinePlan, Thünen-Institut of Sea Fisheries, Germany)

Application: Please fill in this form before 22 September (Accepting 12 participants)

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