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Baltic Sea Region MSP Data Expert Sub-Group

Successful implementation of MSP depends on good quality data and information, as this has already widely acknowledged at the Baltic Sea Region policy and project level. Data quality, accessibility and availability are crucial when considering transboundary context where consistent use of data is an important prerequisite for creating a coherent network of maritime spatial plans.

In order to achieve the goal of the Regional Baltic MSP Roadmap (to draw up and apply maritime spatial plans throughout the Baltic Sea Region by 2020 which are coherent across borders and apply the ecosystem approach), VASAB and HELCOM has established the Baltic Sea Region MSP Data Expert Sub-group (MSP Data Expert sub-group) as a sub-group to the joint HELCOM-VASAB MSP Working Group.

The aim of BSR MSP Data Expert sub-group is to support data, information and evidence availability for MSP processes with regard to cross-border / trans-boundary planning issues to ensure comparability of maritime spatial plans in the Baltic Sea Region. The BSR MSP Data Expert sub-group facilitates the work of the HELCOM-VASAB MSP WG, as well as helps with implementation of the Regional Baltic MSP Roadmap 2013-2020.

The Chair of the BSR MSP Data Expert sub-group: Ms. Kristīne Kedo, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development (Latvia).

Documents of the Baltic Sea Region MSP Data Expert Sub-group meetings are available HERE

icon Terms of Reference for a Baltic Sea Region MSP Data Expert Sub-group (BSR MSP Data ESG)


The MSP Data group has been working since autumn 2015 and has been supported by Interreg BSR technical assistance project ”Horizontal Action ”Spatial Planning” Support 2” (HASPS 2). In order to document the progress, MSP Dara group has prepared a First Report of its work.

The document defines the general structure of MSP data, provides information about currently available data sets which are agreed as most relevant in transboundary cooperation and consultations, identifies the list of data and information gaps and challenges, as well as indicates the further steps and vision of MSP data management in the Baltic Sea Region.

In case you have any comment or suggestion on the MSP Data Expert group outcomes, please, send your feedback to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

icon MSP Data Group First Report

icon Annexes to the First Report


In order to provide a general overview of the MSP process in the Baltic Sea Region countries, the BSR MSP Data group has accomplished its first attempt to visualize the status of the maritime spatial plans in the BSR. The visualization is publicly available on the HELCOM Map and Data Service: HERE


In its 9th meeting of 17-18 April in Vilnius, Lithuania, the BSR MSP Data expert group agreed on the Recommendations for transboundary MSP output data. These Recommendations set out technical requirements (data specification) for the interoperability and harmonisation of spatial data sets corresponding to the transboundary/cross-border maritime spatial planning output data (MSP output data). Recommendations prescribe how the GIS data, presenting MSP output data, could be structured in a convenient and flexible way, so they can be comprehensible to stakeholders from other countries. In this regard the Recommendations aim to ensure the coherence of the maritime spatial plans across the Baltic Sea region, as well as support transboundary consultations.

Recommendations also indicate next steps that need to be taken towards a common Baltic MSP web-map where MSP output data of all BSR countries will be displayed in a harmonized way.

icon Recommendations for transboundary MSP output data


Polish Chairmanship in the cooperation of the Ministers responsible for spatial planning and development VASAB – frame programme
1 July 2015 - 30 June 2016
1. Subject and priorities of the Polish chairmanship

The aim of the Polish chairmanship is to support an integrated territorially oriented approach (place-based approach) in the programming and implementation of public policies at different spatial scales and thematic areas.

Implementation of this objective will be the continuation of the efforts performed during the Polish Presidency of the EU Council in 2011 in the field of territorial cohesion and urban development.

Acting within this framework and using the Committee on Spatial Planning and Development of the Baltic Sea Region (VASAB Committee) as a platform for exchange of knowledge and good practice, the priorities of the Polish chairmanship are the three themes important for the Baltic Sea Region:

  • Urban issues,
  • Maritime spatial planning,
  • Territorial monitoring.

The ambition of the Polish chairmanship in VASAB will also be strengthening the coordination between the activities of the VASAB Committee and other important pan- Baltic organizations, especially the Council of the Baltic Sea States.

2. Calendar of events under the Polish Chairmanship

2.1. Conference: "Integrated Approach to Spatial Development of Europe – five years later, Baltic Sea Region as an example of successful implementation".

  • May 2016, Warsaw

The two-day conference summarizing the strategic processes and activities taking place in Europe, with particular emphasis on the Baltic Sea Region, and presenting progress in implementation of the territorially oriented approach made since the last conference Integrated Approach to the Spatial Development of Europe - Meaning of Territorial Cohesion, which was held in February 2011 in Warsaw.

2.2. Meetings of the Joint HELCOM-VASAB Maritime Spatial Planning Working Group
Two international meetings of the Working Group are planned, which will focus on the approximation of a shared vision for the Baltic Sea and the definition of the consistent rules for cross-border spatial planning. Additionally to Working Group meetings the Baltic Sea Region Maritime Spatial planning Data Expert Subgroup will be carried out in Riga.

  • October 2015, Riga
  • February 2016, Gdańsk

2.3. Meetings of the VASAB Committee
Poland plans to organize three VASAB Committee meetings back to back with workshops discussing more in depth the means and ways of implementing above mentioned priorities.
For each of the meetings, besides some issues fixed firmly rooted in all VASAB Committee meetings, tentatively scheduled on one topic – priority Chairmanship – which will be further discussed in the frame of a full or half day workshop.

  • October 2015, Łódź: "Workshop on revitalisation and VASAB input to EU urban agenda process",
  • February 2016, Gdańsk: "Workshop on future cooperation in maritime spatial planning",
  • June 2016, Kraków: "Workshop on territorial monitoring systems".


icon Polish Chairmanship in the cooperation of the Ministers responsible for spatial planning and development VASAB – frame programme (1 July 2015 - 30 June 2016)

HASPS - Horizontal Action "Spatial Planning" Support
Baltic Sea Region Programme 2014-2020 Technical Assistance grant project

Project's lifetime: 22 May 2015 – 30 June 2016
Total project budget: € 117 646
European Regional Development Fund: € 99 999

The project aims to support objectives assigned in the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region in Horizontal Action (HA) Spatial Planning, co-lead by HELCOM and VASAB. The project involves related activities of both organisations to improve coordination, stakeholder involvement and achievement of the strategic targets of the HA Spatial Planning.

The activities of the project contribute to the better implementation of the EUSBSR Action Plan, better visibility and promote and enable more Flagship Projects. The activities cover both thematic areas of the HA Spatial Planning: maritime spatial planning and land based spatial planning.

The project supports regional implementation of the 2014 EU MSP Directive (2014/89/EU) and implementation of the Regional Baltic MSP Roadmap 2013-2020. The project adds capacity to the joint HELCOM-VASAB MSP WG to act as a regional platform for coherent MSP activities. Four meetings of MSP Data Expert Sub-group of the joint HELCOM-VASAB MSP WG will be organized to develop common approach in MSP data and information sharing in order to coherently implement Article 10 of the EU MSP Directive.

The project also supports VASAB Polish chairmanship 2015/2016 in promoting place-based approach concept and coherent planning and monitoring of the Baltic Sea Region territory. Within the project two events are organized to strengthen the focus of HA Spatial Planning on EU Urban Agenda:

  • The workshop on urban revitalization and cooperation organized back-to-back with VASAB CSPD/BSR meeting in Lodz, Poland on 28 October 2015. The workshop aims at generating joint input of the Region (HA Spatial Planning) to the EU Urban Agenda process based on existing sustainable urban planning solutions and partnership concepts.
  • A policy conference on improved territorial cohesion will be organized in Warsaw, Poland on 6-7 June 2016. Building on the outcomes of the previous workshop the conference will discuss policy guidelines and best practices of place-based approach in territorial development, effective use of functional areas concept, territorial impact assessment tool, territorial development monitoring solutions and projects.

The project lead partner is VASAB Secretariat, project partner – HELCOM Secretariat.


Baltic SCOPE
Towards coherence and cross-border solutions in Maritime Spatial Planning

Project's lifetime: March 2015 – March 2017

Total Project's budget: € 2 638 829

The overall objective of the Project: to come up with common solutions of the cross-border maritime planning leading to greater alignment of national plans. It is a unique exercise to challenge countries involved, learn from the gained experience and transfer the knowledge beyond the Project and the Baltic Sea Region.

The Project is bringing together the partners from the organizations responsible for maritime spatial planning to facilitate the implementation of the EU MSP Directive.

Baltic SCOPE was designed to increase collaboration and coordination between national authorities and other key stakeholders, in order to develop common approaches to solve transboundary issues and enhance the alignment of national maritime spatial plans in the Baltic Sea region.

Baltic SCOPE was a unique cooperation, a learning-by-doing exercise, as the national planning was taking place while the project was running, at the same time uniting planning authorities around the Baltic Sea.

When project started, there was no common platform for actual planning and for informally exchanging related information. So it was created.

Everyone worked as a team, exchanging experiences, tackling the challenges of the complicated Maritime Spatial Planning here. We asked what was needed to achieve successful cross-border cooperation, and where potential barriers lay, and came up with solutions.

The project was divided in two case study areas to handle regional differences: the Central Baltic and Southwest Baltic case studies. The Central Baltic case covered the marine areas shared by Estonia, Latvia and Sweden. The Southwest Baltic case covered the marine areas shared with Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Poland.

The two-year project covered four sectors of maritime activities: fishery, shipping, environment and energy. New methods were developed to gather information and develop planning evidence. The project reached its aim and increased the collaboration between the countries involved. The findings we made in Baltic SCOPE can benefit the Baltic Sea, now and in the future.

To continue the cooperation and cover even more spatial issues the next phase of this collaboration will start in February 2018 as PanBaltic SCOPE. Follow it via #PanBalticSCOPE

The results of the Baltic SCOPE are available on its website


Lead partner:
Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management

Partner organizations:
Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (DE)
Ministry of the Environment (DK)
Maritime Office in Szczecin (PL)
Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development (LV)
Ministry of the Interior (EE)
VASAB Secretariat
HELCOM Secretariat


MSP Country Fiches

The MSP country fiches are a reliable source of data on the MSP status in the Baltic Sea countries and Norway. The fiches contain maps and information on the sea areas, national laws and regulations, governance, contact information, existing spatial plans and plans under development as well as information on other MSP related developments.

The updating of the fiches is coordinated by the Joint HELCOM-VASAB Maritime Spatial Planning Working Group based on an agreed procedure.

icon Denmark

icon Estonia

icon Finland

icon Germany

icon Latvia

icon Lithuania

icon Norway

icon Poland

icon Russia

icon Sweden


MSP legislation implementation BS

Older versions of MSP country fiches are available HERE

The first attempt to visualize the status of the maritime spatial plans in the BSR is publicly available on the HELCOM Map and Data Service HERE

Procedure of granting support letters to the potential flagship projects

Land-based projects

On 22-23 January 2015 VASAB CSPD/BSR has agreed on the procedure of granting support letters on behalf of EUSBSR Horizontal Action "Spatial Planning" to the potential flagship projects related to land-based spatial planning:

• VASAB requests all interested project developers to submit their project ideas (in the form of Concept Note or extended project description) at least 7 (seven) working days before the deadline for submitting applications to the funding programme;
• VASAB Secretariat serves as a contact point;
• VASAB Secretariat verifies if the formal requirements of a flagship project are met by the applicant;
• VASAB CSPD/BSR members are consulted before proposing formal decision;
• Decision to grant Letter of Commitment or Letter of Support is made by the VASAB CSPD/BSR via written procedure or at the CSPD/BSR meeting. Written procedure may take up to 7 (seven) days.

VASAB_org RT @AgrenHelen: Singing and drama in the presentation of the #PanBalticScope 👏👏👏Thank you all! @havochvatten
Jun 20replyretweet
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