Baltic Sea Region maritime spatial planners continue the dialogue in Planners` Forum

With various emerging topics in maritime spatial planning (MSP) and dedicated efforts to implement the European Green Deal and new European policies in fields like renewable energy production and environmental protection, many states around the Baltic Sea are revisiting their maritime spatial plans to both monitor and evaluate as well as to update their maritime spatial plans. Therefore, there is a continuous need to consult, exchange and learn jointly with neighboring countries not only via formal procedures, but also on a more practical hands-on level.

This possibility is provided to MSP practitioners within the Planners` Forum that is an informal cooperation platform to addressing pressing MSP issues and discuss the with fellow experts from the whole Baltic Sea Region (BSR). Planners` Forum is a safe space where participants know and trust each other enabling mutual learning.


Continuing the work for more coherent maritime spatial plans

The initiative was started in 2018 as part of the Pan Baltic Scope project funded by European Maritime and Fisheries Fund of the EU. Acknowledging the importance and usefulness of Planners` Forum, it was continued within the Capacity4MSP Project Platform funded by Interreg BSR programme collecting the best practices from various past MSP projects. Planners` Forum, was initially organized and facilitated by the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management. Since the second half 2022 Planners` Forums are organized within the PASPS project that supports implementation of the Policy area ‘Spatial Planning’ within the EU Strategy for BSR (EUSBSR). With this shift, facilitation of the Planners` Forum is taken over by VASAB Secretariat and there is even more focus on contribution to one of the aims of PA Spatial Planning – ensuring coherent maritime spatial plans throughout the Baltic Sea.


Contributing to existing and developing new projects

Furthermore, Planners` Forum serves as a space were to discuss the MSP project needs of macro-regional relevance. During Planners` Forum meeting participants brainstorm on the knowledge gaps in MSP, possibilities of projects to fill those gaps and contribute to strategic policy framework. Planners` Forum also provides a space to discuss relevant project results in more depth. The latest Planners` Forum was introduced with the results of eMSP NBSR project, especially regarding the monitoring and evaluation practices. Furthermore, based on the project work, exchange of cooperation mechanisms in the North and Baltic Seas took place. Within the project consortium and events even a possibility of future joint North – Baltic Sea Planners` Forum has emerged to continue cooperation after the project concludes.

Participants develop the agenda jointly, proposing topics upon need and pressing MSP issues. So far, topics like monitoring & evaluation and offshore energy developments have been discussed. For the next Planners` Forum, participants have chosen to discuss more about the European Green Deal and MSP. Read more about the Planners` Forum here.


PASPS project is funded by Interreg BSR 2021-2027 programme