1st Planners’ Forum within the Capacity4MSP project

The 1st Planners’ Forum within the Capacity4MSP project took place on 31 March 2020, it continued an already established tradition of successful planners’ meetings. To follow the global health situation, meeting took place online and proved that this format also can ensure the collaboration among maritime spatial planning practitioners.

During the meeting several current topics in maritime spatial planning (MSP) in the Baltic Sea region (BSR) were discussed. Capacity4MSP project partners from Russia – Scientific and Research Institute of MSP Ermak NorthWest and Russian State Hydrometeorological University introduced with the efforts done to develop the MSP Roadmap for Russia. These efforts to achieve a Russian MSP is complex due to the large and diverse areas the plans must detail, encompassing 13 seas, 11 catchment areas and 23 coastal constituent entities. The project MSP Roadmap for Russia will enhance the Russian MSP framework through analysis of processes and cooperation with stakeholders. Furthermore, the regional specifics of marine spatial planning and the management system of Russia will be analysed and detailed.

Further discussions included the MSP revision for the German EEZ that was presented by the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency of Germany. Within the revision, three different perspectives have been identified and developed as plan alternatives: traditional maritime uses, climate protection and nature protection. As of now, the three perspectives/alternatives are all prioritised equally in the process. The revision includes the implementation of the ecosystem-based approach, consideration of new uses and a comprehensive approach to designations for all relevant uses. The plan will also highlight the need of international cooperation and coherence. The MSP-proposals will be evaluated and subsequently consulted nationally and internationally. The effort of the MSP revision will be completed in the summer of 2021.

As next topic, HELCOM Secretariat introduced with current issues for the HELCOM-VASAB MSP Working Group – updates of the work plan, BSR MSP Roadmap and the Baltic Sea Action plan. Furthermore, the check-list for practical assessment of cross-border coherence in MSP were reviewed.

The Planners’ Forum discussions were continued with the Estonian MSP updates and upcoming transboundary consultations by the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Estonia. The Estonian marine spatial plan and impact assessment is now completed, along with a national consultation. Transboundary discussions are now commencing. The focus of the plan is strategic spatial development at state level, based on environmental issues and best available knowledge, covering a wide set of marine uses. Two pilot plans have already been adopted, and will continue to be so as the new national plan is implemented, hence, they are somewhat different in character from the national marine spatial plan.

Final discussions were led by SUBMARINER Network for Blue Growth and covered the topic how to support the implementation of MSP in the BSR. What support is needed to help countries implement their marine spatial plans? How will it work and what exactly does “implementation” entail? Based upon the results from the Pan Baltic Scope-project, these questions can be answered easier. Pan Baltic Scope has produced a set of objectives and indicators that will help within the implementation evaluation process. The report detailing the How and Why of national MSP-processes can be downloaded from this link HERE.

The next Planners’ Forum is planned to be organised in Gothenburg, Sweden in November 2020, third meeting in March 2021 and the last Forum in June 2021. Planners’ Forum meetings are organised within the Interred BSR financed project platform Capacity4MSP. More information www.capacity4msp.eu