Assessment to Map the Extent of usage of Marine Spatial Planning (MSPs) in Africa

Opportunity Type


The Africa Blue Economy Strategy (ABES) was endorsed at the highest political level of the African Union (AU). The Strategy incorporates key critical vectors for promoting blue economy development of the continent, including fisheries, aquaculture and ecosystem conservation; shipping, maritime safety and trade; climate change, environmental sustainability and ecotourism; sustainable energy and extractive mineral resources; governance, institutions, gender and job creation.

The objective of the Africa Blue Economy Strategy is to guide the development of an inclusive and sustainable blue economy that becomes a significant contributor to continental transformation and growth, through advancing knowledge on marine and aquatic biotechnology, environmental sustainability, marine ecosystem utilization, management and conservation and carbon sequestration, the growth of an Africa-wide shipping industry, the development of sea, river and lake transport, the management of fishing activities on these aquatic spaces, and the exploitation and beneficiation of deep sea mineral and other marine resources.

The Africa Blue Economy Strategy is consolidated based on the following five thematic technical areas:

  1. Fisheries, aquaculture, conservation and sustainable aquatic ecosystems;
  2. Shipping/transportation, trade, ports, maritime security, safety and enforcement;
  3. Coastal and maritime tourism, climate change, resilience, marine ecosystem, environment, infrastructure;
  4. Sustainable energy and mineral resources and innovative industries; and,
  5. Policies, institutional and governance, employment, job creation and poverty eradication, innovative financing.

Considering the economic and social pressure on aquatic resource exploitation, Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) has been identified as a tool for better coordination and synergy in Africa blue economy growth aimed at conservation of aquatic biodiversity. In recent years, few AU Member States have initiated the MSP process as part of their national developmental programs but the implementation still remains a significant technical challenge for a majority of the AU Member States (AU-MS). MSP is essential to balancing sustainable use and conservation imperatives and mitigating conflicts and creating synergies amongst the users, particularly during this time of the growing Blue Economy initiative on the continent. Therefore, AU-IBAR, with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), is implementing a 3-year project on “Conserving Aquatic Biodiversity in African Blue Economy’ whose overall objective is to enhance the policy environment, regulatory frameworks and institutional capacities of AU member states and regional economic communities to sustainably utilize and conserve aquatic biodiversity and ecosystems. 
Therefore, the specific objectives of the project are as follows:

  1. To conduct an assessment of global and regional biodiversity instruments to establish status of their implementation by the AU MS;
  2. To take stock of the implementation process at global and continental levels of the biodiversity instruments, identifying challenges, gaps and constraints as experienced by the AU MS;
  3. To provide support to AU MS to ratify and/or align relevant international/regional instruments related to blue economy themes (with specific reference to protecting and conserving biodiversity);
  4. To determine measures or steps for optimizing conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity while minimizing conflicts among blue economy sub-themes;
  5. To identify necessary steps for strengthening measures for mitigating the negative impacts of coastal and marine tourism, oil, gas, deep sea mining and climate change on aquatic biodiversity and environment; and,
  6. To recommend measures for strengthening gender inclusivity in aquatic biodiversity conservation and environmental management.


 Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) refers to a “public process of analyzing and allocating the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic, and social objectives that are usually specified through a political process”. As a management tool, MSP provides an integrated planning framework that moves away from sectoral management to address multiple objectives related to achieving economic and ecological sustainability and the need to reduce conflicts in marine ecosystems and environment. Considering the fact that shared marine ecosystems face major threats, which include but not limited to; overfishing, depletion of living and non-living natural resources due to the rising population pressure, expansion in human activities, pollution, rampant conversion and destruction of marine habitats and ecosystems, a shared solution for AU member states must be created to check these threats on time. If not, this may have significant negative ecological, environmental, and social implications.  MSP is therefore a practical way to organize the use of the ocean space, and the interactions among human uses (e.g. fisheries, aquaculture, shipping, tourism, renewable energy production, marine mining) and between uses and the marine environment.
Since most of the coastal African countries have developed, and some are in the process of developing MSPs and implementing pilot projects, it is of great importance that MSPs in AU member states are mapped so as to document lessons learnt and best practices, pre-empty the current management options, highlight elements pertinent for the regional MSP including challenges and develop guidelines for the institutionalization of MSPs at national and regional levels. This will enhance capacities for implementation of the MSP, by identifying the areas where member states need assistance, as well as understanding where member states are facing challenges in implementing MSP frameworks, and where this may have potential for future development.

The African Union Blue Economy Strategy was endorsed by Ministers at the 3rd Session of the African Union Specialized Technical Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment (STC-AREDWE) in October, 2019 and subsequently by the African Union Executive Council in February, 2020. The Hon. Ministers made the following recommendations:

  1. African Union Commission to support adequate awareness creation, capacity building and sharing of best practices of the application of the Blue Economy concept;
  2. The Commission to support setting up Blue Governance mechanisms to ensure planning and coordination at continental, regional and national levels; and
  3. The Commission to mobilize resources for the implementation of Blue Print for Africa’s Blue Economy Strategy.

To actualize the above, AU-IBAR in implementing the project “conservation of aquatic biodiversity under the Africa blue economy strategy” undertakes to formulate mechanisms to institutionalize Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) at national and regional levels by seeking consultancy services from 2 suitable short-term consultants to undertake this assignment which has been clustered for ease of execution. One consultancy will be undertaken in the South and East regions of Africa and the second consultancy will be undertaken in the West, Central and Northern regions of Africa.


The overall objective of this consultancy is to conduct an assessment to map MSPs in Africa, document lessons, best practices and develop guidelines for their institutionalization at national and regional levels, outline current management strategies and identify elements pertinent for support to strengthening ongoing initiatives on establishing regional or trans boundary MSPs. 
The consultancy will be implemented within two regional clusters:

  1. South and Eastern Regions of Africa
  2. West, Central and Northern Regions of Africa

Thus two individual consultants will be selected, one per regional cluster.


  1. Liaise with the relevant persons at AU-IBAR for adequate briefing and clarification of tasks;  
  2. Prepare inception report within 5 days of signature to the contract outlining an approach and methodology for the assignment, detailed work plan, timelines with deliverables, proposed locations for visit and comments on the Terms of Reference if any (in brief);
  3. Conduct a review of existing instruments, frameworks or institutions pertaining to MSP in AU member states and at regional levels for transboundary MSPs;
  4. Identify and review MSP related literature, instruments, frameworks or institutions from global perspectives to document lessons learnt and best practices;
  5. Identify and document ongoing initiatives on MSPs across the AU-MS and at regional or trans-boundary levels to document challenges, lessons learnt and best practices with regards to establishment and governance; and suggestions for mechanisms for support or key priority areas for interventions by the project.
  6. Identify specific elements pertinent for the regional MSP, including the main technical challenges in the implementation of transboundary MSP for AU Member States 
  7. Develop guidelines for the institutionalization of MSPs at national and regional levels across the AU-MS for effective management of aquatic biodiversity resources and ecosystems;
  8. Conduct capacity assessment for the MSP implementing agencies within AU-MS to ascertain implementation capabilities;
  9. Provide MSP and sector-specific advice and guidance to assist with designing project activities among the AU-MS;
  10. Facilitate validation workshops on findings should any such workshop be organized during the contract period.
  11. Develop a comprehensive report at the end of the assignment.


  1. Inception report: A draft version detailing the methodology and approach to be used to undertake the consultancy within 5 days of signing the contract. The draft report should demonstrate a clear understanding of the assignment by the consultant.
  2. Report on stock-taking of existing & ongoing initiatives on MSPs within the African Union member states and regional levels
  3. Synthesis of lessons learnt and best practices on implementation of MSPs by AU MS and as well as transboundary MSPs
  4. Report on technical challenges in the implementation of MSP by AU MS and regional institutions
  5. Report on identified elements, mechanisms and priority actions pertinent for strengthening and/or establishing identified national and regional or transboundary MSPs
  6. Guidelines for the institutionalization of MSPs at national and regional levels
  7. Report on MSPs implementation capabilities by AU member states 
  8. Approved comprehensive final report on the consultancy in English detailing all work undertaken, recommendations, lessons learnt and best practices



The successful candidate should have an advanced degree in disciplines related to Marine spatial planning, conservation of aquatic biodiversity and ecosystems, including marine environmental protection, aquatic environmental sciences. A PhD degree will be an added advantage.


General Experience 

  1. Familiarization with national institutions with mandates in aquatic biodiversity conservation and protection, marine spatial planning (MSP) and/or environmental management.
  2. Familiarization with functions of regional economic communities (RECs) and specialized regional institutions with mandates in fisheries, aquaculture, aquatic biodiversity and environmental protection.
  3. Knowledge of continental and global instruments related to aquatic biodiversity conservation and environmental management.
  4. Record of experience on the governance Africa large marine ecosystems, and freshwater ecosystems governance systems, transboundary issues and familiarization of challenges and opportunities.
  5. Knowledge and evidence of experience on processes, political and policy related issues in the governance of transboundary or shared aquatic ecosystems. 

Specific Experience

  1. At least 7 year working experience in blue economy related thematic areas (e.g. in research and development related institutions and of conducting research and assessment of aquatic natural systems).
  2. Demonstrated evidence of performing similar tasks related to this consultancy in the last 5 years.
  3. Record of experience in enhancing institutional capacity in collaboration on governance and implementation of MSPs for conservation of aquatic ecosystems and environments.
  4. Evidence of formulating protocols or strategies for environmental governance, aquatic biodiversity conservation and to enhance transboundary cooperation in selected shared marine ecosystems.
  5. Experience with and practical challenges and mechanisms for implementing integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) and MSP for effective conservation and management of aquatic ecosystems and environment, their status of implementation, challenges and lessons in Africa. 

Other Essential Skills and Experience

  1. Diplomacy and good interactive skills necessary for dealing with senior officials in Government, RECs, other regional organizations, and donor/development organizations in Africa; Good networking skills and ability to maintain positive and constructive
  2. Very strong writing, analytical and communication skills are necessary.
  3. Proficiency in at least 2 AU languages


The applications will be evaluated on the basis of the relevant technical qualifications, experience and competence of the candidates. Applications received will be reviewed on the basis of the criteria below: 

Criteria Scores (%)
Qualifications 15
General Experience 25
Specific Experience 50
Other skills  5
Proficiency in at least 2 AU  languages  5


The AU Commission is an equal opportunity employer and qualified women are strongly encouraged to apply. 


 The consultants will work from home with travel on specific assignments agreed with the AU–IBAR Management.   


The duration of this assignment is 45 calendar days but can be accomplished within 60 days from the date of signature of the contract.


The consultancies will be implemented within two regional clusters as explained above. An individual consultancy contract will be entered into for each regional cluster. The professional fee for each consultancy is US$ 13,500.  No other payment will be made in respect of this consultancy.

Expenses for missions will be covered separately in accordance with the applicable African Union Commission rules and regulations.


The candidate will be under the direct supervision of the project team leader with oversight supervision by the Director of AU-IBAR. The team leader will have the responsibility of approval of reports.

Submission of Applications


Two consultants are required to conduct this assignment as per the following regional clusters:

  1. South-Eastern regions of Africa, and 
  2. West-Central and Northern regions of Africa.

The candidate may therefore indicate which of the two clusters his/her application is submitted for. However, the Contracting Authority reserves the right to select the appropriate candidate for each regional cluster.

Applications must include the following documents:

  • Detailed curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Copies of academic and professional certification documents
  • Declaration on exclusion criteria (see format attached)’
  • Identification documents

Application deadline

 The deadline for submission of proposals is 23rd May2022, Nairobi local time
The address for submission of applications is:

Attachment Size
Terms of references (English version) (179.65 KB) 179.65 KB
AU-IBAR declaration form (32.5 KB) 32.5 KB
AU-IBAR Personal Data Protection and Privacy Statement (149.08 KB) 149.08 KB
Closing Date
Monday, 23 May, 2022