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15 May 2018 VASAB Stakeholder Workshop 2018 "Achieving coherent and sustainable development of macro-region - Unique team-work of the countries around the Baltic Sea"

VASAB Stakeholder Workshop 2018 "Achieving coherent and sustainable development of macro-region - Unique team-work of the countries around the Baltic Sea" will be held on 15 May 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.

Many know that Baltic Sea Region had the first macro-regional strategy in the European Union. But not so many realize that macro-regional cooperation in the Baltics takes place for many decades.

Pan Baltic Scope

PanBalticScope logoProject's lifetime: January 2018 – December 2019

Total project budget: € 3 315 113

European Maritime and Fisheries Fund: € 2 817 846


The objective of the project is to achieve coherent national maritime spatial planning in the Baltic Sea region and to build lasting macro-region mechanisms for cross-border MSP cooperation.

The project is designed to support the implementation of the EU MSP directive and the objectives defined in the EU BSR Strategy, Blue economy and EU2020 Strategy as well as the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan and VASAB Long Term Perspective for the Territorial Development of the Baltic Sea Region (LTP).

The project will build on the results and experiences from a series of MSP-related projects in the Baltic Sea Region as well as on the national MSP processes. Particularly the experiences from real-life planning and recommendations on further work from Baltic SCOPE project (2015-17) will be utilized.

A Planning Forum will be established having a central role in the implementation of the project. The forum will function as a regular platform for the collaboration on specific planning issues identified by the planning authorities and regional organisations.

To support the coordination the Regional Council of Satakunta, the Government of Åland and the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management will collaborate within a FI-AX-SE Case. The Case comprises the waters between Sweden and mainland Finland, including the autonomous region of Åland with its archipelago. Of central concern for planning at sea are, in addition to the archipelago, the shallow but permanently water covered areas in the Bothnian Sea, known as banks.

The national MSP evaluation guidance will be developed for national processes in Latvia and Poland together with the national MSP authorities. The frameworks will be produced for each selected country to adapt the evaluation guidance for the needs and characteristics of national MSP processes. The Baltic SCOPE experience shows that countries not only have different timings in implementing their MSP, they also have slightly different objectives for MSP and organize their MSP processes in different ways.

The two surveys will be coordinated to see how the MSP Road map, MSP Principles and Guidelines work in practice, and, if needed, to fine-tune and strengthen them to meet the objective of improved and coherent plans in the BSR as those documents provide a common regional framework supporting cross-border cooperation and coherent national MSP-implementation in the BSR. The workshops will be organized jointly with engagement of the HELCOM-VASAB MSP working group.

The lessons learned activity will provide a feedback on progress to planners throughout the lifetime of the project coupled with two surveys and a focus group interview.

To advance the implementation of the Ecosystem-Based Approach (EBA) and data sharing existing SEA procedures will be compared for different countries in the area. Recommendations will be given on how to align SEA standards and how to integrate the EBA respectively across borders. A corresponding guideline for national SEAs in a transboundary context will help to implement a SEA strategy for the South-West Baltic Sea.
Also the methods for the cumulative impacts, green infrastructure as well as economic and social analysis will be tested during the project.

The project will develop the methods to emphasize the land-sea interactions influencing the development of the coastal areas as well as the status of the Baltic Sea.

The partners, having formal roles and mandates at national or at sea basin level in MSP, will secure the long term sustainability of the project and its results. The results will feed into the national planning processes as well as into the work of HELCOM and VASAB through its working group on MSP. The project will deliver developed tools and methods to be used within the Baltic Sea region, but that can also be used in or inspire MSP processes outside the region.



Lead partner:

Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management SWEDEN

Partner organizations:
Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) GERMANY
Maritime Office in Szczecin (UMS) POLAND
Danish Maritime Authority (DMA) DENMARK
Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development (MoEPRD) LATVIA
Ministry of finance (EE) ESTONIA
VASAB secretariat (VRAA) BSR
HELCOM Activity lead BSR
SYKE, Finnish Environment Institute FINLAND
Satakunta Regional Council (RCS) FINLAND
Government of Åland (GoA) FINLAND

Associated partners:
Ministry of the Environment FINLAND
Ministry of the Environment LITHUANIA
Ministry for Energy, Infrastructure and Regional Development (Mecklenburg and Vorpommern) GERMANY


VASAB Contacts

Laura Melne, Communication Manager
Phone: +371 28625489
E-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Egija Stapkēviča, Project Coordinator
Phone: +371 28377878
E-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Project website – coming soon


EU logo PBS

Country Fiches on Terrestrial Spatial Planning

Currently substantial administrative and responsibility redistribution changes are taking place in several VASAB countries. Therefore, VASAB CSPD/BSR decided to make publicly available information about terrestrial spatial planning (land-use planning) systems in the Baltic Sea Region countries.

The country fiches on terrestrial spatial planning contain information about the current situation and main challenges of spatial planning as well as contact information of the responsible authority at the national level. Optionally country fiches include also general information on state administrative organisation and planning responsibilities at different levels. The country fiches may also present schemes of planning hierarchy, examples/extracts of various levels spatial plans and other relevant information.

Regular updating of the country fiches is coordinated and carried out by VASAB CSPD/BSR members. 

2nd Baltic Maritime Spatial Planning Forum 2016 in Riga, Latvia

The 2nd Baltic MSP Forum gathered more than 250 participants from 32 countries being the regional event of the institutions responsible for maritime spatial planning. This Forum with its 16 interactive workshops provided a platform for discussions among those involved and affected by maritime spatial planning on how to develop and enhance maritime spatial planning in the Baltic Sea.

Building on the success of the first Baltic MSP Forum in 2014, it has now become a regular event – taking place once in two years. Thus, the next Forum is planned in 2018 in Germany.

The Forum was organized by the VASAB and in cooperation with ICES served also as the final conference of the Baltic SCOPE project (co-funded by EC DG MARE).

More information available HERE.

New chapter begins in the story of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region


The story of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region began in 2009. So far it has been a story of many successes and opportunities: projects and processes that have implemented the Action Plan of the Strategy have brought real change to the Baltic Sea Region. 

The story of the EUSBSR has not only been a bed of roses. Not all projects or processes have reached their goals. Many times complex structures and governance of the EUSBSR hinder good communications. The positive change brought about by a project, for example, will not be recognized if the results are not communicated clearly and effectively. 

The dedicated communicator of the EUSBSR, Interact Office Turku, has changed its focus into coordination between all EU’s macro-regional strategies and is no longer focusing solely on the EUSBSR. Due to this change decided by the member states, a solution to ensure the communications of the EUSBSR had to be created. A communications project “Let’s communicate!” answers this demand and takes the responsibility to communicate the EUSBSR. The project has a strong partnership consisting of representatives from all Baltic Sea Region countries and pan-Baltic organisations.


“Communication is in the heart of the EUSBSR! Ensuring continuity of the EUSBSR communication means established by Interact and working for more effective communication, “Let’s communicate!” steps in to become the EUSBSR communication hub!”

Baiba Liepa, Interact Office Turku


“Let’s communicate!” project aims to maintain and further develop the communications of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. The project can be considered as the communication point for the EUSBSR. 

The EUSBSR website, Twitter, Youtube and Flickr accounts are from now on administered by “Let’s communicate!” The project promotes the use of the EUSBSR visual identity, publishes news and provides with communication support and tools. For example, a wide Flickr photo bank for any visual communication needs is at the disposal of the EUSBSR stakeholders. 

“Let’s communicate!” will also work for developing further the communications of the EUSBSR framework. Great emphasis will be put on supporting the communications of the various internal stakeholders of the Strategy framework, particularly the Policy Areas and Horizontal Actions. In addition, the project will reach out in order to attract new stakeholders to take part in the action.


“We count on the "Let's Communicate" project to be a powerful tool in raising awareness of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, communicating its purpose, success stories and added value. This is in line with our ambition to address a broader group of stakeholders and to attract new actors to the implementation of the Strategy for the benefit of the whole macro-region.”

Peter Schenk, European Commission, Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy


“Let’s communicate!” has been relaunched the EUSBSR website by opening a new blog section, which is called “Highlights”. Highlights are in essence stories about the EUSBSR projects, processes and the actors behind them. 

The relaunched website will continue to be the active and up-to-date platform for any EUSBSR actor or a potential stakeholder seeking information. With the “Highlights” and other new elements planned for the website it will become also a source of inspiration!


“My expectation of the relaunched EUSBSR website is that it will provide with one common, interactive platform for all key stakeholders to use in their daily work. I would like it to be the natural point of reference for anyone having questions regarding the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, be it examples of results, basic documentation, contact details, information on funding sources or a discussion on the future orientation of the Strategy.”

Erik Kiesow, Sweden's Prime Minister's Office, National Coordinator for EUSBSR


The whole project team is eager to get started with the project activities: Let's communicate!


Basic facts:

Project: Let's communicate!

Let's Communicate the EUSBSR for the benefit of the Region
Project's lifetime: August 2016 – January 2019
Total Project's budget: € 588 737,17
European Regional Development Fund: € 457 926,58
Norwegian funding: € 50 000
The overall objective of the Project:
Let’s communicate!” project is putting the Communication Strategy into practice and is aiming at bridging gaps in both internal and external communications. Internal and external communications are in many ways intertwined: more coordination in the internal communications will automatically improve the external communications. The project is willing to function as a “Communication Point” of the EUSBSR for both internal stakeholders and for external audiences and potential new actors joining the EUSBSR framework. During the project time best practices on how to organize the EUSBSR communications are sought and thus the project is also looking beyond the project time.
The main project activities include:
  • Recognize the stories and messages that can be further disseminated in communicating the EUSBSR;
  • Sharing the stories via different channels and formats;
  • Equipping EUSBSR stakeholders with the necessary tools for efficient communications by exchanging best practices;
  • Workshops and face-to-face meetings;
  • Develop lasting dialogue between the EUSBSR actors and businesses.
Partner organizations:
Laura Melne, Communication Manager
Phone: +371 28625489
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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