HELCOM-VASAB MSP WG
Joint Planning of the Common Sea – HELCOM-VASAB Maritime Spatial Planning Working Group
The 7th conference of Baltic Sea Region ministers responsible for spatial planning and development held in Vilnius on 16 October 2009 in its Declaration stated that a common Baltic approach for Maritime Spatial Planning should be discussed and tools and methods of such planning developed. Enhanced co-operation is necessary in the field of capacity building actions to ensure exchange of experience, to promote education and to increase competence in Maritime Spatial Planning. The ministers underlined that a close co-operation with HELCOM with regard to environmental aspects and with other relevant actors is essential.
VASAB CSPD/BSR in 2010 decided to re-establish the VASAB MSP Working Group. The first meeting of the Working Group took place on 16-17 March 2010 in Riga; it suggested close cooperation with HELCOM.
The HELCOM Ministerial Meeting in 2010 agreed to establish a joint co-chaired HELCOM-VASAB MSP Working Group. The first meeting of the joint HELCOM-VASAB MSP WG took place on 21-22 October 2010 in Helsinki.
The Working Group ensures cooperation among the Baltic Sea Region countries for coherent regional MSP processes in the Baltic Sea. Meetings of the joint HELCOM-VASAB MSP Working Group take place up to three times a year. The Working Group is co-chaired by HELCOM and VASAB-nominated co-chairs and vice-chairs.
Outcomes of the Joint HELCOM-VASAB MSP WG meetings
The outcomes of the meetings can be found here.
Mandate for the Joint HELCOM-VASAB MSP WG
The Mandate for the joint HELCOM-VASAB MSP WG, 2010-2013 was initially adopted by VASAB CSPD/BSR and HELCOM HOD, setting out the overall aims of the Working Group, the anticipated tasks as well as organizational rules. The revised Mandate, 2013 – 2016 was approved by the 62nd VASAB CSPD/BSR Meeting and by the 41st Meeting of the HELCOM HOD. The extended mandate for the HELCOM-VASAB MSP WG is according to HELCOM HOD 50-2016 up to 2021 and according to the 81st VASAB CSPD/BSR Meeting – till the end of 2021. VASAB CSPD/BSR 85th Meeting and HELCOM HOD 60-2021 Meeting have adopted a prolonged mandate for the joint HELCOM-VASAB MSP WG until 2030 in line with the timeframe of the Regional Baltic Maritime Spatial Planning Roadmap 2021-2030.
Joint HELCOM-VASAB Maritime Spatial Planning principles
The Joint VASAB-HELCOM Maritime Spatial Planning principles were adopted by VASAB CSPD/BSR and HELCOM HOD in December 2010.
Regional Baltic Maritime Spatial Planning Roadmap
The Regional Maritime Spatial Planning Roadmap identifies strategic goal and objectives of the MSP development.
The Regional Baltic Maritime Spatial Planning Roadmap 2013-2020 was created to fulfill the goal of drawing up and applying maritime spatial plans throughout the Baltic Sea region by 2020 which are coherent across borders and apply the ecosystem approach. It includes necessary steps in seven fields in order to achieve the goal as well as timeline. The Roadmap was drafted by the MSP WG and adopted by the HELCOM Ministerial Meeting on 3 October 2013 and agreed by the 62nd VASAB CSPD/BSR meeting.
The assessment of application of the Baltic Sea Common Regional Maritime Spatial Planning Framework was implemented in the frame of the EU-funded project Pan Baltic Scope (2018-2019). The objective of the Assessment was to analyse the application, implementation, achievements and possible future adjustments to update the joint regional framework for the Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) process in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR), namely Baltic Sea Broad-Scale Maritime Spatial Planning Principles (MSP Principles), Guidelines on transboundary consultations, public participation and co-operation (Guidelines) and Regional Baltic Maritime Spatial Planning Roadmap 2013-2020 (Roadmap).
New Regional Maritime Spatial Planning Roadmap 2021-2030 has set a goal to strengthen the joint effort and coherence throughout the Baltic Sea Region to implement Maritime Spatial Plans, aiming for sustainable development of the region and building a sound basis for an adaptive Maritime Spatial Planning process applying the ecosystem-based approach. Roadmap has been adopted by VASAB CSPD/BSR 85th meeting on 6 May 2021 and adopted by the HELCOM Ministerial Meeting 2021.
Agreed Maritime Spatial Planning guidelines
11th Meeting of the Joint HELCOM-VASAB Maritime Spatial Planning Working Group held in Riga on 30 September-1 October 2015 agreed on Guidelines for the implementation of ecosystem – based approach in Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) in the Baltic Sea area.
The 12th Meeting of the Joint HELCOM-VASAB MSP Working Group held in Gdansk on 24-25 February 2016 approved Guidelines on transboundary consultations, public participation and co-operation.
The 17th Meeting of the Joint HELCOM-VASAB MSP Working Group held in Riga on 14-15 November 2018 agreed on Guidelines on transboundary MSP output data structure in the Baltic Sea.
The 23rd Meeting of the Joint HELCOM-VASAB Maritime Spatial Planning Working Group held online on 16-17 November 2021 agreed on Voluntary guidance for assessment of cross-border coherence in Maritime Spatial Planning.
Workplan for the Joint HELCOM-VASAB MSP WG
In order to implement commitments stated in the Regional Baltic Maritime Spatial Planning Roadmap, the Joint HELCOM-VASAB Maritime Spatial Planning Working Group develops a Work Plan, for adoption by VASAB CSPD/BSR and HELCOM HOD every 3 years.
The Work plan of the Joint HELCOM-VASAB Maritime Spatial Planning Working Group for 2022-2024 was approved by the VASAB CSPD/BSR in its 88th meeting in December 2022 and the HELCOM Heads of Delegation of EU and EU Member States in a correspondence procedure in February 2023.
Previous Work Plans:
- Work Plan for 2010-2013 was approved at the Second Meeting of the Joint HELCOM-VASAB MSP WG.
- Work Plan for 2014-2016 was adopted by the 66th VASAB CSPD/BSR Meeting and HELCOM 35-2014.
- Work Plan for 2017-2019 was agreed by the 74th VASAB CSPD/BSR and HELCOM 38-2017.
- Work Plan for 2020-2021 was adopted by VASAB CSPD/BSR written procedure and HELCOM HOD 57th meeting.
EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region
The EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region has attributed VASAB and HELCOM a prominent role in promoting MSP in the region together with other stakeholders according to the policy area “Spatial Planning” that is encouraging the use of Maritime and Land-based Spatial Planning in all Member States around the Baltic Sea and develop a common approach for cross-border cooperation”. More information about the activities of the policy area is available here.