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Developing Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) tools for Turks and Caicos

Through an innovative integrated, stakeholder-led approach – connecting science and communities, this project builds a Territory to Territory partnership between SAERI in the Falklands Islands and DECR in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) to Develop Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) tools for TCI to feed into long-term planning and decision-making in the marine environment.

Background

MSP is a stakeholder-driven science-based process to develop a strategic plan for managing and protecting the marine environment, addressing multiple and cumulative uses of the sea and achieving ecological, economic and social objectives.

TCI currently has no such holistic strategic approach to marine management, but this was identified as a priority action in the 2012 TCI FCO/JNCC funded “Environmental Mainstreaming” report.

There are a range of stakeholders working in TCI’s EEZ, which is rich in biodiversity, and provides important ecosystem goods and services including its vital disaster mitigation role. However, there is risk to the marine environment from resource extraction and coastal development and such pressures are likely to intensify. Existing management, use and legislation needs to be improved to ensure sustainability. This project will create the framework and tools to bring together these functions and uses of the marine environment, which is essential for developing a MSP in TCI and includes a series of reviews, stakeholder meetings and workshops; an all-island metadata catalogue and GIS database for analyses and visualisation.

TCI are considering ratifying CBD and this work will contribute directly to Aichi Targets and to TCIG commitments that were established under the Environment Charters.

Project Objectives

  • Deliver against the priority issues identified in the assessment criteria
  • Demonstrate technical excellence in its delivery
  • Demonstrate a clear pathway to impact in the OT(s)

A) Priority Issues
Priority areas: The project is well aligned with priority funding areas identified in Round 7, in particular 1) Contributing to the delivery of a well-managed Blue Belt of marine protection around the OTs, 2) Responding to, and mitigating against, the impacts of natural disasters on the OTs. 3) It also delivers a novel and innovative approach to MSP developed in the Falkland Islands, 4) involves partnerships in order to provide greater capability for the partners by sharing cross Territory expertise and 4) incorporates the
use of natural capital.
Contribution to multilateral environmental agreements: Although TCIG have not ratified CBD it is working towards this and as such, this project contributes to Aichi Targets 11 (10% of oceans in marine protected areas), 10 (Vulnerable Ecosystems) and 19 (biodiversity knowledge improved).
National Commitments: The project will help TCIG to meet commitments under the Turks and Caicos Environmental Charter, in particular commitments 1 (To recognise that all people need a healthy environment for their well-being and livelihoods and that all can help to conserve and sustain it), 2 (To use our natural resources wisely, being fair to present and future generations), 3 (To identify environmental opportunities, costs and risks in all policies and strategies), 5 (To aim for solutions which benefit both the
environment and development).

B) Technical Excellence
The project will deliver a suite of novel, highly integrated, spatial and ecosystem-based approaches, maximising data already available, to deliver this project. The IMS-GIS Centre for the South Atlantic (by SAERI) will also offer important synergies. Baseline knowledge of TCI marine usage and biodiversity will be consolidated using GIS and geospatial analyses. SAERI has developed technical excellence in the development of small-island models for Marine Spatial Planning and data management approaches that is sensitive to scale and resource limitation, while retaining credibility, this technical excellence that has been developed on the Falklands under previous projects will be shared with TCI.
C) Impact

This project has been developed with our local partners in the TCI Government (i.e. DECR) and project scoping consultations with TCI government have resulted in departmental and ministerial level support (see LoS). This has prepared a pathway for impact, which will be built upon during the project by the DECR and on-island project staff. This high-level support is crucial for ensuring the use and application of the tools that this project develops and ensuring the long-term continuation and sustainability of the MSP process. The project will be run by Islands, for Islanders, building substantial local capacity and availability for essential follow-on work.

Photos by Luc Clerveaux – DECR, Turks and Caicos Islands Government unless otherwise stated