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.
The HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan committed the HELCOM Contracting Parties to jointly develop by 2010 as well as test, apply and evaluate by 2012, in cooperation with other relevant international bodies, broad-scale, cross-sectoral MSP principles based on the ecosystem approach that reflect the specific conditions and needs in the Baltic Sea Region.
The 51st VASAB CSPD/BSR meeting on 21-22 January 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 on 20 May 2010 in Moscow 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 deputy co-chairs. The outcomes of the meetings can be found here.
The HELCOM-VASAB MSP Working Group follows and examines as well as makes use of the outcomes and findings of regional project activities relevant to MSP, such as PartiSEApate, BaltSeaPlan and Plan Bothnia.
Mandate for the joint HELCOM-VASAB MSP WG
The Mandate for the joint HELCOM-VASAB MSP WG, 2010-2013 is 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 Mandate of the Working Group is prolonged until 31 December 2016. A revised Mandate was approved by the 62nd VASAB CSPD/BSR meeting and by the 41st Meeting of the HELCOM HOD.
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.
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.
Regional Baltic Maritime Spatial Planning Roadmap
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 accross 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.
Work Plan for the joint HELCOM-VASAB MSP WG
The Work Plan for 2010 – 2013 for the Joint HELCOM-VASAB Maritime Spatial Planning Working Group was approved at the Second Meeting of the Joint HELCOM-VASAB MSP WG.
The Joint HELCOM-VASAB Maritime Spatial Planning Working Group Work Plan for 2014-2016 was adopted by HELCOM 35-2014 and the 66th VASAB CSPD/BSR 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 Horizontal Action "Spatial Planning - 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 Horizontal Action is available here.