VASAB participated in the European Maritime Days 2023 and European Blue Forum Launch

Maritime stakeholders came together in Brest, France at the end of May. More than 1500 people joined the European Maritime Days 2023 (EMD 2023) as well as many attended the launch of European Blue Forum. Sustainable Blue Economy was in spotlight. VASAB took an active role in both events.

Responsible for the communication of the eMSP NBSR project, VASAB Secretariat`s team was present in the project stand in the exhibition area of EMD 2023. It provided insight in the project activities, events, and planned results, as well as offered a chance to meet MSP experts from the North and Baltic Seas.

VASAB had the pleasure to join the discussion on how offshore wind can be nature friendly where VASAB Secretariat`s spatial planning expert Liene Gaujeniete presented VASAB`s work in workshop How to plan & deploy nature friendly offshore wind? organized by LPO/BirdLife International France and Renewables Grid Initiative. The workshop brought together MSP expertise with views of NGOs and industry, the role of cross-border cooperation and governance in coherent, ecosystem-based MSP was emphasized.

Another highlight of the week was the launch of the European Blue Forum aimed to build a pan-European sustainable blue economy stakeholder platform to discuss shared challenges and priorities over the medium term with the aim of finding consensus, synergies and solutions towards a common vision. It aims to fully represent European Sustainable Economy, including the underrepresented actors, new and emerging sectors together with the more established ones. Discussions in Oceanopolis Brest emphasized the importance of wide stakeholders’ dialogue and MSP is seen as instrumental to balance the growing needs.

VASAB`s work on Maritime Spatial Planning is contributing for more coherent, sustainable and inclusive Baltic Sea Region:

  • VASAB Vision 2040 sets a perspective for vibrant, resilient and well-connected region, including an aim to achieve carbon neutral, decentralized, secure and independent energy in the Baltic Sea Region by 2040, supporting balance between natural resources and human activities, as well as contributing to efficient and harmonious planning systems.
  • The well-established HELCOM – Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission & VASAB cooperation has fostered close cooperation among the Baltic Sea countries on more coherent maritime spatial plans and joint approaches across borders.
  • Planners` Forum is providing a safe space for MSP practitioners to come together and exchange on dealing with offshore wind within national maritime plans among other topics.

One of the messages emphasized during EMD 2023 is very familiar to maritime spatial planners – the oceans are transforming ‘from too big to be regulated to too small to accommodate all uses’. By organizing the EMD, the European Commission has provided a platform for the much needed cross-sectoral dialogue to address these changes.