Gathering practitioners for MSP discussions

After two productive years of fostering trans-border collaboration in maritime spatial planning (MSP) across the Baltic Sea Region, the need to continue the conversation emerged. In May, a consortium of eight countries submitted a proposal to the European Commission for a new MSP project, named PanBaltic SCOPE.

A platform for practical MSP solutions

The overall project includes MSP activities at different geographic scales from pan-Baltic to site specific. The proposed project will support the member states by providing a platform for hands-on cross-border collaboration. At the subregional level, there will be a specific case related to the busy geographical area between Finland, Åland and Sweden. The case includes cooperation between the Regional Council of Satakunta in Finland, the Government of Åland and the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM).

The project will also develop and test tools and methods for the practical implementation of an ecosystem-based approach to MSP. It will also build experience on how to integrate land–sea interactions in MSP and deliver new and developed planning knowledge for direct practical use in national planning processes. At the pan-Baltic level, the project will contribute to further development of the transboundary cooperation on MSP in the Baltic Sea Region.

Towards a common MSP strategy

The PanBaltic SCOPE project is built on the results and experiences of a series of MSP-related projects in the Baltic Sea region as well as on national MSP processes. In particular, the experiences from real-life planning and recommendations on further work from the Baltic SCOPE project from 2015 to 2017 will be utilized.

The Baltic SCOPE project determined various sectorial activities that often conflict with each other. Whether it is the development of the offshore wind farms installations over existing shipping routes or fisheries over environmental goals, they all need transboundary collaboration between the countries in the Baltic Sea region. The overall objective of the proposed PanBaltic SCOPE is to achieve coherent national maritime spatial planning in the Baltic Sea region and to build lasting macroregion mechanisms for cross-border MSP cooperation.

Participants and implementation 

The recent collaboration was established between eight MSP authorities from Denmark, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Sweden and Finland, including the autonomous region of Åland, the Finnish Environment Institute and three regional organisations: HELCOM, VASAB and Nordregio. The consortium is led by SwAM.

The project is designed to support the implementation of the EU MSP directive and the objectives defined in the EU BSR Strategy, Blue economy and EU2020 Strategy as well as the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan and VASAB Long Term Perspective for the Territorial Development of the Baltic Sea Region.

If finally approved, the PanBaltic SCOPE project will start in January 2018.