Intact ecosystems freely provide a bounty of goods (e.g., food and mineral resources) and services (e.g., recreational playgrounds, climate regulation), and there is a strong current interest in unlocking the economic potential in the oceans. 
Although this is a global trend, it is emerging particularly rapidly in developing countries as they seek economic opportunities and alternative livelihoods. For example, there is the continental 2050 Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy, regional BCMariSMaG project in the Benguela Current, and the South African Government's national Operation Phakisa, with many other initiatives developing around the continent.

Given the treasure trove of opportunities and resources in the ocean that are available for exploitation, there are multiple users accessing the goods and services. Consequentely, conflicts often arise as the multiple uses and users' needs overlap in space and time.


The problem is that poorly managed resource use can impact ecosystems, sometimes irreversibly, compromising the future provisioning of goods and services


The established international best practice to solve this problem is spatial planning, particularly for the marine environment. Nelson Mandela University has taken a leadership role in providing an academic and education platform to develop the required expertise to expand Africa's and national capacity in the Marine and Maritime fields (e.g., the establishment of SAIMI and a Marine and Maritime Science Task Team), and in the field of marine spatial planning. It is against this backdrop that we have convened the workshop.


Contact information
Dr Linda Harris
Postdoctoral Fellow
Tel: +27 (0)41 5044281