Marine Ecosystem Services for MSP “NAMares”

Namibia/South West Africa

Project duration October 2020 to September 2022 

project summary

NAMares is a practice-oriented project that is designed to support the nascent marine spatial planning (MSP) process in Namibia, with potential for outreach to the wider region. Currently, stakeholders and decision-makers in Namibia lack awareness of the full value of marine ecosystems and their wide-ranging benefits for society. Also, the consequences of marine planning decisions and trade-offs are still difficult to assess.

The overall goal of NAMares is to support planners in making more informed decisions by improving the available knowledge base on marine ecosystem services. It aims to provide decision-support methodologies, including a spatial cost-benefit approach, to allow trade-offs between ecosystem services to be assessed. It will also provide a method for carrying out risk assessments for marine ecosystem services.

The project will be implemented through a mix of desktop work and practical workshops which will involve stakeholders, scientists/experts, planners as well as decision-makers in relevant ministries. Throughout its lifetime NAMares will closely collaborate with Namibia’s National Working Group on MSP to ensure results are relevant and sustainable. Expected results include an improved evidence base (new information) for MSP, enhanced capacity for decision-making in MSP, enhanced marine literacy of decision-makers and other stakeholders by means of various communication products, and servicing the science-policy interface by linking the NAMares project to the ongoing MSP process in Namibia.

Links to the wider region can be strengthened by inviting international participants to join the workshops, by presenting results at conferences, and by distributing the project outputs through regional networks. 


To identify, classify, communicate and evaluate the various benefits arising from marine and coastal ecosystem services to stakeholders, planners and decision-makers

An improved evidence base for MSP through enhanced and accessible knowledge about marine and coastal ecosystem services and the benefits they provide to people

Enhanced capacity for decision-making in MSP by enabling consideration of trade-offs between values and risks, thus contributing to improved conditions for area-based management

Enhancing the marine literacy of decision-makers, planners and stakeholders by directly involving selected groups in identifying benefits from marine ecosystem services and developing targeted and innovative communication products

Capacity building among planners, stakeholders and young scientists

Servicing the science-policy interface by linking the NAMares project to the ongoing MSP process in Namibia and the wider region

areas of work

Identifying and classifying marine and coastal ecosystem services (MCES) in Namibia to start building an evidence base for MSP (“What do we have?”)  

  • A literature study that will look at the concept of MCES and available classification systems
  • Development of a template to enable the classification of MCES in Namibia as an output and indicator of progress  (incl. dialogue workshop with scientists and stakeholders)
  • Identification of MCES in a case study area
  • Creating a MCES hotspot map

Assessing the risks associated with ecosystem services and their benefits using the bowtie method (“What can we lose?”)

  • A classification of the range of threats that could affect ecosystem services and the identification of associated benefits 
  • A risk matrix indicating which service is particularly vulnerable to what type of pressure
  • Identification of action to prevent or mitigate the risks identified
  • A final trade-off analysis between the three scenarios (by means of two more workshops)

    Testing methods for spatial cost-benefit analysis of ecosystem service scenarios (“How do we prioritise?”)

    • A “beneficiaries map” describing the various beneficiaries of the MCES analysed and their geographical distribution
    • A spatial economic benefit analysis  for two potential uses/MCES scenarios
    • A cost-benefit analysis for the scenarios
    • A dialogue workshop with stakeholders and decision-makers to create awareness on the results of the scenario exercise

    Sharing and communicating the knowledge generated nationally and internationally (“Towards greater ocean awareness”)

    • Decision-makers and stakeholders:
    • Video briefs & Briefing papers on project results and required actions to preserve key ecosystem services and the ecological conditions/processes they depend on
    • Citizens, teachers and students:
    • Factsheets, workshops (e.g. ocean literacy course) and information packs for teachers
    • A campus seminar to introduce MCES and the NAMares assessment tools for B.Sc. and M.Sc. students and university staff 


    University of Namibia (UNAM)

    Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht for Materials and Coastal Research (HZG)