In the CMSP decision-making process, as outlined in the NOP, decision-making authority is provided to the regional planning bodies, which are composed of federal, tribal, and state officials. The NOP recognizes that the coastal and marine spatial plans will need to respond to the needs of all who rely on the marine environment for economic and environmental services, and that effective consultation with the full range of these groups is essential to build the relationships needed to achieve national and regional goals for ocean management. Therefore, stakeholder involvement in the development of regional plans is an important responsibility assigned to the regional planning bodies.
The purpose of this document is to provide an overarching set of suggested principles for effectively engaging all stakeholders in a CMSP process. In developing this informational resource document, the Udall Foundation’s U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution (U.S. Institute) reviewed current and past CMSP stakeholder processes in the United States and internationally, analyzed academic literature on stakeholder engagement best practices, and reviewed surveys and white papers about desirable stakeholder involvement mechanisms from various interest groups, including government, tribal, environmental and ocean user groups. The principles described in this document are drawn from this research and from the U.S. Institute’s experience in developing similar guidelines for a range of complex federal and regional stakeholder involvement efforts.