Capacity4MSP 4th BSR Planners’ Forum

4th Planners’ Forum within the project platform Capacity4MSP took place on 24 November 2021 online. Meeting exchanged the the most pressing issues from each Baltic Sea Region’s country regarding maritime spatial planning, continued with broader discussions on Russian MSP developments, updates from the EU MSP Assistance Mechanism and lessons learnt in the work of ecosystem-based approach in the Black and the Baltic Seas.

The discussion was continued on the Terms of Reference of the Planners’ Forum concept. The Regional Baltic Sea MSP Roadmap contains an action on establishing a Planner’s forum. The output of the action is formulated as “MSP Planners Forum” acting on the regular base.

As next, the MSP developments in Russia were presented. A first draft of proposal for a Russian MSP Roadmap is being finalised. The purpose of the Roadmap is to develop proposals for an action plan to ensure the MSP improvement and implementation in the Russian Federation. The draft Roadmap has been elaborated in a broad and participatory process. A large number of meetings, events and conferences have been organised in different parts of Russia. After a first round of discussion on the texts of the draft will be amended and completed, then be translated into English.

Further, a proposal for a concept for maritime functional zoning (MFZ) in Russia was introduced. The concept was elaborated within the Capacity4MSP project and was formed based on the current methodological apparatus of territorial planning and spatial zoning in Russia.

Tools for the implementation of the ecosystem-based approach (EBA) in MSP of Russian coastal waters of the Baltic Sea were presented. The conclusions are that the scientific tools for the implementation of the EBA in the MSP for the Russian coastal waters of the Baltic Sea are quite well developed, but also that legislative framework is needed for the introduction of an EBA in the implementation of MSP.

The concluding part of the Planners’ Forum exchanged the experiences in EBA between Black and the Baltic Seas:

  • EBA in the Black Sea: The Black Sea is bordered by six countries, but only Bulgaria and Romania are the EU member states. The interlinkages between MFSD and MSP in general, as well as Romania in particular, were presented. Ten key elements for the application of the EBA were used to analyse the interlinkages: good environmental status; best knowledge and practice; precaution; alternative development; mitigation; relational understanding; participation and communications; subsidiarity and coherence; adaption. The conclusion is that there are strong linkages. There have been projects relating to the application of the ecosystem approach. One example is MareFrame focusing on co-creation of ecosystem-based fisheries management solutions. Other examples are the MARSPLAN BS I and II.
  • The MARSPLAN-BS II Project will end in December. It is a bilateral project with participants from Romania and Bulgaria. The project has supported the implementation of the EU MSP directive in both countries. The Romanian case was presented in more detail. The Romanian MSP-process has been delayed due to institutional changes. A MSP committee composed of relevant ministries constitutes the competent authority for the implementation of MSP. Conservation and protection of biodiversity, capitalisation of marine resources and decision making on empirical facts and in collaboration with stakeholders are the main principles. Efficient communication was identified as crucial. In addition, the policy development at EU-level, such as the Green Deal, will require adaptions in the planning process. Another conclusion is that there is need for more transparency in relation to data and that the obstacles stemming from data and analysis ownership issue are addressed. A map web tool is available:
  • EBA in the Baltic Sea: The application of the EBA has been high on the agenda in the Baltic Sea Region. There have been different types of enablers. HELCOM and VASAB have adopted a guideline for the application of the EBA and checklist toolbox, a handbook on strategic environmental assessment and other EBA-related material have been elaborated within the Baltic SCOPE and Pan Baltic Scope projects. In the new project eMSP NBSR, the work in EBA in MSP will continue but with a broader geographical scope.

This Planners’ Forum brought together 30 participants from the Baltic and Black Seas countries, the next Planner’s Forum will be organised in spring 2022.