Capacity4MSP 1st project partner meeting was held online

During these demanding and unpredictable times, the Capacity4MSP 1st project partner meeting was held online on 30th March 2020. As work in all project activities has already successfully begun, this meeting was crucial for all project partners to discuss current project progress and to update the work plan. Here is a short summary of main messages discussed at the meeting.

Maritime Institute of Gdynia Maritime University presented the progress of planned Synthesis report of current MSP activities and projects, the need for the bilateral meetings with project partners were expressed to clarify the information provided for corresponding themes of this report. It is planned to develop a draft report in May 2020.

Submariner Network is in progress with the report on identified mechanisms for the implementation of MSP. The next steps to draft a report were stated as following: relevant information from the BSR states on MSP implementation framework will be summarised and based on this information new knowledge and tools will be developed to facilitate implementation, monitoring and evaluation of current MSP plans and adaption and improvement of future MSP cycle plans.

HELCOM Secretariat is in charge of developing the user guide of BASEMAPS. The user guide is developed and available online as well as online animated video. As a next step, user guide will be updated and upcoming work on input data for BASEMAPS will be supported. HELCOM Secretariat also presented the progress regarding development of proposal for institutionalised mechanisms for a regular follow up of progress in MSP on the regional sea level.

Russian partners – Scientific and Research Institute of Maritime Spatial Planning Ermak NorthWest and Russian State Hydrometeorological University discussed the work done regarding development of Russian MSP Roadmap. The agreement is reached with several organisations in Russia to promote Russian MSP Roadmap as well as the mapping and analysis of marine use in the Gulf of Finland have been starting (to be finalised in April 2020). Because of COVID-19 situation, main challenges have arisen how and when to organise meetings with stakeholders and workshops. This topic is now in discussion together with the lead partner.

The possible workshop topics planned in the activity ‘Cross-sectoral dialogue’ were formulated after preliminary findings of the Synthesis report – Energy workshop, BlueBioEconomics in MSP, Cumulative Impact Assessment, MultiUse, Land Sea Interactions, Promotion of the use of the semi-decentralized MSP data infrastructure, Visions in MSP – rethinking BSR MSP Vision 2030, Intersectoral workshops and expert discussions on Russian MSP Roadmap, Discussion on the Synthesis report results. The biggest challenge right now is to review the mode of the workshops, following the global situation with COVID-19, introducing the remote workshops (webinariums, online questionnaires, interactive map portals, etc.).

Nevertheless, it is planned that the first workshop organised by Submariner Network will be dedicated to the Energy sector in October 2020. Several topics were suggested for this workshop, according to the Project Partners’ voting, the most important topics are: integration of offshore wind energy in the MSP: presentation of plans by MSP authorities with the focus on offshore wind planning criteria; and willingness of the offshore wind industry to share space with other uses (e.g. mariculture, tourism, fishing, shipping).

Leader of the Planners’ dialogue activity Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management introduced with the planned online Planners’ Forum agenda on 31 March 2020. The plan for the next Forums is in place – Second Planners’ Forum will be organised in Gothenburg (online if needed) as back-to-back with Project Partner meeting and HELCOM-VASAB MSP Working Group Meeting in November 2020. Third Planners’ Forum could be organised in St. Petersburg in February/ March 2021 and the final forth Planners’ Forum could be organised back-to-back with Project final conference in Jurmala in June 2021.

VASAB Secretariat presented the result of the procurement for the project activity ‘Accumulating knowledge on stakeholder involvement and engagement into MSP’. On 24 March 2020 a contract was signed with Baltic Environmental Forum (BEF) for preparation of Integrated report on MSP stakeholder involvement and engagement. It is planned that BEF will participate during the next partner meeting or Planners’ Forum (November 2020, Gothenburg) with presentation and discussion on current good practice on stakeholder engagement in MSP.

As the closure of the Partner Meeting, a proposal for the final conference was presented. The final conference of the Capacity4MSP project will be organised together with the final conference of the Land Sea Act project. Both conferences will be organised under the frame of the 4th Baltic MSP Forum that will take place in Jurmala on 1 – 2 June 2021.

All project partners look forward to implementing project activities as planned and are searching for creative ways combined together with the modern technologies to follow the work plan. Next project partner meeting will be organised in November 2020 in Gothenburg back-to-back with the HELCOM-VASAM MSP WG and the 2nd Planners’ Forum, hopefully face-to-face.

Read more about the Capacity4MSP project here.