Strengthening Capacities in Coastal Spatial Planning

Spatial Planning Report (© COBSEA)
Published: 03 August 2015
Last edited: 28 March 2019
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The solution aims at sustainable development in coastal areas of the East Asian Seas region by reducing and preventing impacts of natural disasters, climate change and sea level rise. It provides references and capacity building for national and local authorities in coastal and marine spatial planning. National adaptation activities and best practices for capacity building and field application tailored to needs and priorities of each country are provided.


Southeast Asia
Scale of implementation
Coastal forest
Coral reef
Freshwater ecosystems
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Wetland (swamp, marsh, peatland)
Coastal and marine spatial management
Sea level rise
Lack of technical capacity
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Poor monitoring and enforcement


Asia | Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam


Impacts of climate change and sea level rise amplify the vulnerability of coastal ecosystems and communities. National and local coastal zone spatial planning processes must integrate challenges and emerging concepts of climate change, sea level rise, disaster risk reduction and ecosystem-based management. Local and national authorities need capacity building to master these new responsibilities.


National and local authorities with responsibilities on coastal planning and management.

How do the building blocks interact?

The regional resource document (Building block 1) for coastal spatial planning lays the groundwork for the development of national resource documents (Building block 2) and outlines needs of capacity building of national and local authorities (Building block 3) for so doing. Capacity building measures (building block 3) go hand in hand with the development of national resource documents (Building block 2. They also foster coordination, cooperation, cross-learning and promotion of best practices amongst stakeholders at all relevant levels. Continuous support and commitment from all relevant partners, awareness and recognition of threats and consequently needs to improve coastal and marine spatial planning at national and local levels are key factors for each building block. In addition to these key factors, national adoption of resource documents - be they regional or national - and capacity building instruments are pertinent to successfully accomplish the solution.


The solution’s major impact is capacity building of national and local authorities in six countries to effectively integrate emerging issues and new management concepts into national spatial planning systems. Draft spatial planning strategies, resource documents, and training material adapted to local needs serve as key references. A tested national demonstration workshop will be replicated region-wide as it is effective in boosting coordination and cooperation among stakeholders, developing awareness and education campaigns, and drafting spatial planning strategies.


Strengthening capacities in Cambodia: Based on the regional and national resource documents and trainings, a six-month demonstration activity was conducted with the aim of enhancing the knowledge and capacity of Cambodian local authorities on coastal spatial planning. This was done through hands on demonstration and development of coastal planning scenarios considering ecosystem-based adaptation (EBA) and disaster risk reduction (DRR). During the trial two things were developed with participation of local authorities and communities: a spatial planning strategy for EBA and DRR; and an outreach document in non-technical language with illustrative graphics of EBA and DRR scenarios inclu¬ding the role of mangrove and coastal ecosystems for climate change mitigation and adaptation. The spatial planning strategy and the outreach document are now used by Cambodia in their planning activities.

Contributed by

Reynaldo F. Molina Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA)

Other contributors

Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA)