Digital Ocean Forum 2024


Lodewijk Abspoel

Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management - Netherlands - Digitwin North Sea Project

Advisor Integrated Maritime Policy

Lodewijk Abspoel is a senior policy advisor for European Integrated Maritime Policy, including Ocean Governance and Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) at the Dutch coordinating ministry for the North Sea. He was involved in drafting the EU MSP Directive (89/2014 EU) and project leader of the Dutch North Sea 2050 Spatial Agenda. He has since been working in various EU funded projects to optimize and future proofing MSP. This includes work on land-sea interactions, cross-border coherence & cooperation, and emerging topics in MSP such as climate change and the EU Green Deal. Currently Lodewijk is advising the Greater North Seas basin Initiative (GNSBI). The Netherlands’s government started this Initiative with France in 2023 to jointly explore a new governance approach for ecosystem based marine/maritime spatial planning & development. The initiative brings together all North Sea(s) countries and European Commission services around a holistic agenda with the aim to deliver the 2030 and 2050 sustainability targets. This includes objectives for renewable energies, biodiversity(restoration), marine food supply and transforming into a truly sustainable blue economy. In 2011 Lodewijk initiated the development of the MSP Challenge, aiming to prototype a Digital Twin of the Sea. Using state of the art serious gaming simulation, visualization and interaction techniques the MSP Challenge is intended to work as a both an InfoQuarium and a sea basin wide decision support & planning tool, provinding feedback on effects of human uses of planning options on the marine and coastal ecosystems and socio-economic features. The MSP Challenge software is able to inter-connect with specialized models such as Ecopath with Ecosim for ecosystems and SAMSON for shipping. The software is now supporting the national DigiTwin North Sea. It is used and elaborated upon in the new Interreg Norsaic North Sea project. Objective amongst others is to connect the North Sea data, models and information with the English Channel (La Manche) and the Irish waters, capturing all relevant data and information for the Greater North Seas together. The MSP Challenge board game, used in MSP global trainings by the Intergovernmental Oceanic Commission of UNESCO and supported by DG Mare, he designed in his art-workshop at home, and serves to bring together the oceans’ and coastal communities, scholars, civil servants and politicians in the basics of cross-border Maritime Spatial Planning. In 2020 Lodewijk was guest editor of the special on Maritime Spatial Planning of the Journal of Ocean Technology (JOT), a scientific periodical published by the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland Canada. Publication: Communicating Maritime Spatial Planning: The MSP Challenge approach. Lodewijk Abspoel, et al., Marine Policy,

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