Interactive Simulation Game on Maritime Spatial Planning

Raising awareness and achieving wider public and stakeholder engagement in ecosystem-based Martime Spatial Planning

Quick guide

The interactive Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) Game “Maritime Spatial Planning. If I were a decision Maker” is developed by the Institute ErmakNW, Russia, according to the Programme "BBNP - Building Capacity and Involvement of Civil Society in Environmental and Natural Resources Management in North West Russia and the Barents Sea".


Managing marine resources and maritime spatial planning entails a complex system of governance that involves a variety of stakeholders in both national and transnational level. Water resources, particularly the Baltic Sea and its basins, require concerted actions to ensure the good ecological status of the marine ecosystems, as well as prosperity of the coastal regions through a sustainable management of resources. The MSP Game engages participants in a role game, which will enable them to explore this multi-faceted system of governance, and to identify solutions to conflicts of interest among stakeholder groups and nature conservation.


Through the adaptation of the MSP Game to the Baltic and Barents Sea Regions in the context of BBNP, the project was able to raise awareness and achieve wider public and stakeholder engagement in ecosystem-based maritime spatial planning processes, and at the same time increase their visibility.

The MSP Game was adapted to different stakeholder groups, and a particular target are young people and students. Stakeholders engaging with the MSP Game gain a better understanding of how to apply MSP in practice, and understand the importance of transnational cooperation and ecosystem approach to achieve the common objective of saving the sea and increasing prosperity. The MSP Game therefore also contributes to the common objectives defined in the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and to the implementation of the Baltic 2030 Action Plan, by engaging stakeholders in a creative capacity building exercise of systemic thinking and problem solving based on realistic scenarios.


The MSP Game is based on international experience in interactive participative tools such as MSP Challenge (Netherlands) and is developed taking into account the specifics of stakeholders involvement with no experience in MSP and the skills to use the spatial planning software tools.

Game content contains a description of the marine and coastal area, the history of coastal countries and regions, environmental conditions, historical and current economic activities, socio-economic situation and proposed spatial solutions for the use of the area. Graphic materials - maps of natural conditions, bio- and geo- diversity, vulnerable and productive areas, investment proposals for the development of economic activities and corresponding financial opportunities, accompany information about the playing area.

Players are divided into teams, and each team is responsible for the development on its own sea area. In accordance with the provided input information and investors' proposals, the teams are developing Maritime spatial plans. At the same time, each player must follow their role instructions, in accordance with which they act, defending the interests of their sector, sometimes conflicting with the interests of the team as a whole.


The MSP Game in a simplified form simulates the real process of maritime spatial planning and integrated sea management and forces players to take into account a complex of factors similar to the real process of marine use - the conflicting interests of the sectors of the marine economy, the coastal population, respect for natural resources and reducing anthropogenic load while achieving good socio-economic status.

The result of implementing the MSP game can be understanding of the ecosystem-based management (EBM) concept by civil society and applying the MSP process in dialogue with key stakeholders. Through learning the game, the civil society becomes an active and capable stakeholder in MSP. Moreover, the game strengthens awareness and capacity among NGO and communities as actors in EBM MSP processes.


Launching the MSP Game

The MSP Game is organised as an offline moderated session, supported with the developed text and graphic materials (description of the game, tasks and roles, maps and schemes). The Game can be adapted for the specific watershed, different audience and number of players.

To launch the MSP Game, get in touch with ErmakNW for the guidance, support and arrangement of the game.

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