Blue Planning in Practice Training in Caribbean SIDS

The Blue Planning in Practice (BPiP) was delivered by Vera Noon and Sarah Mahadeo aka “Diaries of the Ocean”, and held from 28 – 30 November 2022, in a virtual setting.  

The course was aimed at early career professionals working for government institutions, universities, NGOs, and the private sector that are responsible for planning, conservation and over-seeing different human activities on the marine landscape of Caribbean countries. The BPiP training course and materials were developed by the Blue Solutions Initiative in cooperation with a range of international experts in the field of marine spatial planning. The course is therefore informed by decades of practical experiences and learning in the field. This training introduced the theory and practical starting points of integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) and MSP, while strengthening MSP planning and implementation. It is based on a large and diverse range of existing frameworks, tools, guidelines, articles, and online resources aiming to enable national and local planners and practitioners to develop and implement integrated coastal and marine policies and plans.

The training comprised two breaks per day, one of 30 minutes, and a second of 15 minutes coupled with an energizer. The duration each day was five hours, from 12:00 to 17:00 AST.

The trainer team was composed of two members: MSc Sarah Mahadeo and MSc M.Arch Vera Noon. Together, the trainer team presented a good combination of ample experience and knowledge on MSP, participatory training methods and local knowledge. It should be noted that both Ms. Noon and Ms. Mahadeo are ECOPs and have given a similar training to Caribbean ECOPs in March 2022.


Screenshot of participants

In total, 19 participants (8 males and 11 females) took part in the training programme. They represented a diversity of professions coming from governmental agencies, universities, NGOs, and the private sector (see list of participants in Annex 4). Participants were chosen strategically to ensure that they have been or will be involved in some level of coastal or marine spatial planning in the Caribbean; that there was a balance of genders; and that they represented a wide variety of nationalities. Nine (9) countries from across the region were represented including, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, the Bahamas, the US Virgin Islands and Trinidad and Tobago.

The trainer team observed that from the first day onwards, all members of the group were highly motivated and seized the opportunity for learning. The daily feedback sessions and the final evaluation suggest that participants perceived this training programme as a fruitful learning experience. Many highlighted the engaging and highly participatory training methodology, the use of casework examples, and the online tools as valuable experiences that supported learning and created a collaborative spirit among participants.

They particularly enjoyed the casework exercises in which they were divided into smaller groups for working through the steps of a fictitious MSP process. This was highlighted as a very effective learning-by-doing tool. Many participants appreciated the use of a variety of visual training materials for inputs and instructions on group work as well as for documenting reflection sessions, which supported the learning process.

The trainer team noted that by the end of the workshop, all participants appeared to have gained a good understanding of the transdisciplinary and participatory nature of MSP. This was reflected in the daily feedback sessions and the final feedback on learning progress indicating that all participants have increased their knowledge and skills regarding planning in coastal and marine areas (see graphic on learning process below). Also, many of the participants indicated that they had learned from the participatory and reflective training methodology as well.

Self-assessed learning progress for
First day (Cyan dots) and Last day (Purple dots):

Participant Feedback

The information on this page comes from the Training Report delivered by the training team: Vera Noon, and Sarah Mahadeo.

Thanks go to IOC-UNESCO and Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) for their generous funding to support this capacity development training.