Last June UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) published the guide, "Marine Spatial Planning: A step-by-step approach toward ecosystem-based management". The guide offers countries an operational framework to conserve the value of their marine heritage while at the same time allowing sustainable use of the economic potential of the ocean. The ten steps identified in the guide are based on international good practice with marine spatial planning and have been refined in two regions, including the Ha Long Bay World Heritage site in Vietnam. A systematic approach to the allocation of appropriate uses of marine space can support effective management of World Heritage sites and can be particularly useful for the planning and management of multiple uses in areas surrounding marine World Heritage properties.

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