The Marine Spatial Planning Challenge 2050

Imagine if you could suddenly be in 2050 and see what the environment looks like then. How is the North Sea, for example, and how has human activity affected ecosystems around the coasts of the six countries around the sea?

During the past 15 and 16 October 2018, this was possible at Novia Univeristy, when the simulation game “The Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) Challenge 2050” took place.

Twenty students of the Bachelor Program “Sustainable Coastal Management” had the chance to put into practice the theoretical knowledge acquired during the MSP lessons taught by Paloma Lucena-Moya, organizer of the event and lecturer of this Bachelor Program.

The students had to interact with each other as part of a role-play and implement their maritime plans in a digital game environment. They were able to visualize the long-term consequences for the North Sea, depending on the decisions they made as part of their maritime plans.

Together, the group considered how the countries coordinate and balance their interests in making the future of marine ecosystems more sustainable. This game is directly linked to the EU-MSP Directive (DIRECTIVE 2014/89/EU) that comes into force in March 2021 and applies to all member states. It was therefore very realistic for the students.

The MSP Challenge 2050 platform edition has been developed at Breda University of Applied Sciences (Buas, the Netherlands) in collaboration with a great many partners in particular the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water (the Neth.). The presentation has been touring around the world. The MSP Challenge platform is based on best-available geo-data and maritime data provided by a great many partners. Three simulation models calculate the longer-term impact of player decisions on shipping, ecology and (wind) energy. The current game platform hosts several regional editions: the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Firth of Clyde. Furthermore, under the MSP Challenge brand, a board game has been developed which is frequently played by many MSP institutions around the globe. Regional editions of the MSP Challenge platform edition have partly been funded by the EU Interreg Baltic, North Sea and SimCELT programs. For more information: see  #MSPglobal

Text & photos: Paloma Lucena-Moya