Availability and sustainability of macro-regional frameworks stays high in importance

Week ago Barcelona was hosting important international events – 3rd Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning Forum and 5th Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning Conference co-organised by the Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission (DG MARE) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO).


Among the participants from all over the world VASAB had an opportunity to share knowledge and experience from Baltic Sea Region in two folds. Firstly a very final draft of VASAB Vision 2040 was advertised, secondly existing support for macro-regional framework for MSP in the Baltic Sea Region was illustrated (see ePoster here).

It is curious to observe how more and more regions are looking into possibilities to establish trans-boundary cooperation mechanisms to work jointly on Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) that is coherent, addresses climate change and protects the fragile marine environment. All the EU member states of the Baltic Sea Region have MSP in force, and hopefully, it can be concluded that the Baltic Sea Regions` MSP has benefited from the well-established macro-regional frameworks. VASAB has provided a world-wide unique platform for cooperation on spatial planning. Joining forces with environmental policy maker HELCOM (Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission) has strengthened the application of Ecosystem-based approach, while including MSP under the umbrella of EU Strategy for Baltic Sea Region and particularly Policy Area ‘Spatial Planning’ has supported a more multilateral view on planning.

The ongoing work on the VASAB Vision 2040 provides new opportunities to MSP especially in enhancing land-sea interactions, including coastal stakeholders in planning of the Baltic Sea and creating prerequisites for Sustainable Blue Economy. Furthermore, currently there is eMSP NBSR project in implementation as well as new projects are upcoming in 2023 related to MSP and adjacent issues are in focus.