Participation of stakeholders in the process

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Participation of stakeholders in the process


In the development of the MSP framework and the marine area plans, the Marine Spatial Planning National Working Group must ensure that all relevant stakeholders are adequately consulted (MSP Act 2018, Section 8).

To this end it is planned to have various stakeholder engagement meetings for governmental as well as non-governmental stakeholders. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic contact meetings have been postponed until further notice. In the meantime, the Marine Spatial Planning National Working Group is implementing a virtual stakeholder process, which was commenced in the beginning of 2021.

Watch: MSP Stakeholder engagement approach 


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To be able to engage with any interested party, the MSP Secretariat compiles a stakeholder list. Please register yourself as a stakeholder here » Register.

Stakeholder Engagement in MSP

The South African Government, through the Marine Spatial Planning National Working Group (MSP NWG), will engage with organs of state, industry and civil society stakeholders during the South African MSP process. As per the MSP Act (Act No. 16 of 2018), stakeholder engagement is a critical element of MSP.

A stakeholder is understood as being a legal person or individual that represents or has an interest in the ocean and is engaged in marine activities or uses. All stakeholders should be able to contribute to the MSP process in South Africa.

Stakeholders, in this context, represent the following three broad categories:

  • Government (i.e. government stakeholders including departments, provincial and municipal authorities, public enterprises, and other state agencies)
  • Industry (i.e. those representing the key marine sectors operating in the area)
  • Civil society (i.e. the research community, citizen and community-based organisations, NGOs, conservation groups and the general public)

The South African government seeks to engage with stakeholders in order to:

  • Create awareness on MSP and the South African process, its purpose and benefits
  • Encourage ownership of the marine area plans and trust among stakeholders and decision-makers by ensuring that stakeholder views are considered
  • Encourage voluntary compliance with rules and regulations of the marine area plans
  • Gain a better and shared understanding of the complexity of marine planning areas and the human influences that exist in each
  • Deepen the shared understanding of the problems and challenges in marine planning areas
  • Examine existing and potential synergies and conflicts of use in marine areas together with stakeholders
  • Establish multiple-use objectives for the marine planning areas and planning solutions jointly with stakeholders
  • Use stakeholder expertise and knowledge to bring together the best available knowledge base for the MSP process

In engaging stakeholders, the South African government seeks to ensure that the MSP process is transparent, coordinated and that stakeholders understand how they can be involved, contribute and influence the plan’s development.

Throughout the MSP process, and particularly in the coming process for the development of the marine area plans, the South African government will be communicating with stakeholders by email, via the MSP website, newspaper articles, radio and TV broadcasts as appropriate and suitable. The MSP NWG will also engage with stakeholders through a series of virtual and contact meetings.


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Next steps

Watch: Next planning process steps and stakeholder engagement opportunities

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Beginning in 2021, the MSP NWG is inviting interested stakeholders to ask questions on MSP in general and in South Africa. Comments are specifically invited on the steps South Africa has taken to-date and the forthcoming MSP process. Background and information material is available here, as well as guidance on how feedback, comments and questions can be submitted. 

In addition, the MSP NWG is currently in the process of developing so called “marine sector plans”. These marine sector plans specify the overall development objectives and priorities of each maritime sector for the coming two decades from a national point of view. The spatial claims and interest of each sector are specified and outlined in the South Africa’s mainland and sub Antarctic territory. This includes proposed zones and spatial regulations including their location and extent. The sector plans therefore summarise the national spatial and sector priorities that each sector would like to see translated into the marine area plans across the marine planning areas.

Importantly, the marine sector plans are not the final marine area plans. Rather, they are critical inputs for the next step of developing integrated cross-sectoral marine area plans. The marine sector plans serve as the sectors’ proposals that will then need to be further discussed negotiated across sectors.

The MSP NWG and the MSP Secretariat are planning to hold a live virtual event for any interested stakeholders during the course of 2021 to inform stakeholders on MSP in general, status of process, next steps including role of marine sector plans. The draft marine sector plans will be made available on the MSP website so that interested stakeholders can access them. Spatial information contained within the draft marine sector plans (e.g. proposed sector priority zones) will be made available through the MSP Support Viewer on OCIMS. Stakeholders are then invited to answer guiding questions within a given period in order to provide input on each of the draft marine sector plans.

Thereafter, live virtual meetings are planned to respond to the stakeholder feedback, showing if and how comments have been considered in the draft marine sector plans, and to answer additional or open questions. The marine sector plans will then be finalised by the MSP NWG and submitted to the MSP Directors-General Committee as required by the MSP Act.

Further information and guidance will be released on the accessibility of the draft marine sector plans and commenting procedures prior to this stakeholder engagement process step.


For more information please contact:

MSP Secretariat
Ocean Conservation Strategies
Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment
Address: 1 East Pier Road, East Pier Building, Waterfront, Cape Town, 8001



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