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EMFAF – Maritime Spatial Planning Projects – 2021

The EMFAF supports the EU common fisheries policy (CFP), the EU maritime policy and the EU agenda for international ocean governance. It provides support for developing innovative projects ensuring that aquatic and maritime resources are used sustainably.

3.75 million euro

Appeal framework

Institution European Commission
Sectors Energy
Regions European Union, Worldwide
  • Eligible non-EU countries:
    • countries in the Atlantic, Baltic Sea, Black Sea, North Sea and the Mediterranean,
    • countries having waters adjacent to EU Outermost Regions,
    • countries under cross border Maritime Spatial Planning cooperation and only when its participation is necessary for the objectives of a given action and link with activities undertaken under Regional Sea Conventions.
  • The action must take place in the following sea basins/areas:
    • the Atlantic, Baltic Sea, Black Sea, North Sea and the Mediterranean Sea basins as well as the EU Outermost regions marine areas.

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Priorities and funded actions


  • To reflect and align EU Member States’ maritime spatial plans to the ambition of the European Green Deal and the related initiatives in areas such as climate change mitigation and/or adaptation, biodiversity, food, mobility, energy transition, alongside established activities and interests;
  • To promote the use of an ecosystem-based approach, including Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and strengthen the process of the Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs);
  • To reinforce the sea basin dimension of MSP;
  • To make MSP digital and pan-European: the European MSP Platform will work with EMODNET to harmonise data and to disseminate the contents of these plans through a common or shared digital platform.


  • Development of a clean, circular blue economy, preserving and protecting biodiversity in the marine environment (in particular with spatial measures), facilitating the supply of clean, affordable and secure, energy, enabling the provision of healthy and environmentally-friendly food from the sea;
  • Facilitate/enable the development of an economic sector (e.g. tourism and maritime/underwater cultural heritage, offshore wind energy, aquaculture) in the maritime domain;
  • Designing maritime spatial plans to integrate objectives and measures of other EU instruments (e.g. the Marine Strategy Framework Directive) with the aim to reduce collective pressures and ensuring that marine ecosystems are in a healthy, productive and resilient condition;
  • Developing strategies and approaches to review/revise maritime spatial plans to make them future proof, more integrated and more coherent, especially in a sea basin context;
  • Addressing gaps and challenges in the collection, integration, use, re-use, access, including to data produced by non-public actors, of data in the MSP context: using best available data and instruments to prepare, monitor and revise maritime spatial plans;
  • Promoting ocean governance through MSP: incorporating oceans’ governance tools into the MSP process and in maritime spatial plans.

Among financed activities

  • Establishment of a Steering Committee (SC) to ensure the overall strategic steering of the project. The SC should comprise relevant representatives of the Member States where the action takes place (such as MSP competent authorities), as well as the beneficiaries involved. The Commission and CINEA may participate in an observer capacity only;
  • Establishment of an Advisory Committee (AC) to provide expert advice on the project’s activities. The AC should be composed of a maximum of five recognised experts in MSP or in relevant fields of activity;
  • Working procedures defining how the project and the SC will operate (assigning clear roles and responsibilities, describing the decision-making process, frequency of meetings etc.);
  • An opening and closing conference.

Additional information

  • This call for proposals is an open call for proposals.
  • Initial duration of the action: between 24 and 36 months.


  • Be a legal entity (public or private);
  • Be established in one of the eligible countries;
  • Applicants lust be public authorities or bodies in charge of maritime spatial planning of those coastal Member States which are responsible for MSP in the selected area;
  • The consortium must be composed of at least 2 entities from 2 different countries.
  • Amount of the grant: 3.75 million euro
  • Indicative budget per project: between 1 and 1.95 million euro
  • Co-financing rate: up to 80% of the total eligible costs

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