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Baltic Maritime Spatial Planning Forum, Riga
PartiSEApate Conference

VASAB together with the PartiSEApate project organised the Baltic Maritime Spatial Planning Forum - PartiSEApate Conference which took place on 17th – 18th June, 2014 in Riga, Latvia.


The forum served as a platform for discussions among those involved and affected by Maritime Spatial Planning on how to further develop and enhance MSP in the Baltic Sea Region.

The purpose of the Forum was:

  • Bring together practitioners and researchers interested in maritime spatial planning (MSP), as well as policy makers and stakeholders involved in marine and coastal activities;
  • Show experiences and practices on MSP approaches and marine resources management;
  • Establish a maritime spatial planners platform for exchange of knowledge and experience and discussion on practical and technical planning matters;
  • Discuss conclusions and recommendationsof the PartiSEApate project on Concept for a transnational institutional and governance model on transnational coordination, agreements and data exchange in MSP, Recommendations for transnational MSP and stakeholder involvement process;
  • Discuss transposition and application of the upcoming EU Directive on establishing a framework for MSP and integrated coastal management;
  • Discuss on how to enhance and ensure continuity of maritime stakeholder dialogue;
  • Propose further steps for a successful implementation of the Regional Baltic MSP Roadmap 2013-2020;
  • Set the basis for new cooperation projects under HA Spatial Planning of the EUSBSR;
  • Investigate further needs in capacity building and specialized education related to MSP;
  • Contribute to the upcoming VASAB Ministerial Conference by devising new sea basin approaches in order to draw up and apply of trans-boundary ecosystem-based maritime spatial plans to the Region by 2020.

Participants: Approximately 200 persons (MSP practitioners, marine researchers, project PartiSEApate partners, decision makers and stakeholders).

Forum covered the following topics:

  • Latest Developments in MSP in the Baltic Sea and other European Sea Basins;
  • Sectors Perspectives on the benefits of MSP in the Baltic Sea;
  • MSP and Environmental Protection;
  • How to enhance Baltic Sea wide cooperation and consultation on MSP;
  • Ways of Multi-Level Public Participation in MSP;
  • Research and Data needs for MSP.

The discussions were supplemented by an exhibition of case studies, tools and data modules relevant for spatial planning.


The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)
Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management
Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of Latvia

msp forum logo small

  Short movie about the Baltic MSP Forum





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USUN - Urban Systems and Urban Networking in the BSR

Project's lifetime: 1999-2000
Budget: 368,770 EUR

The Baltic Sea Region INTERREG IIC 1997-2001 USUN project originated from the 4th Conference of Ministers Responsible for Spatial Planning and Development in the Baltic Sea Region (Stockhom, 1996) task to prepare a programme on balanced urban network development, together with UBC and towns and cities.

The project provided documentation of the functioning of the urban system as well as documentation of future prospects of urban networking and integration. The project was carried out in close co-operation between all countries in the Baltic Sea Region and promoted the VASAB 2010 process, and a dialogue between key actors on urban networking and spatial planning.

Technical Assistance to the EUSBSR Horizontal Action „Spatial Planning”

Project's lifetime: Jan 2013 - Jan 2014
Budget: € 66 667

The overall objective of the Project: to strengthen implementation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, in particular its Horizontal Action "Spatial Planning".
VASAB is co-leader of the Horizontal Action.
The project had two specific objectives: enhancing policy development and preparation for future projects within Horizontal Action.

The Progress Report on the Implementation of the VASAB Long-Term Perspective for the Territorial Development of the Baltic Sea Region was prepared by external consultant Wiktor Szydarowski. More information is available here: Progress Review Report on the Implementation of the VASAB Long-Term Perspective for the Territorial Development of the Baltic Sea Region

VASAB stakeholder meeting "Creating synergies for well-integrated and coherent Baltic Sea Region" was organized on 12 December 2013 in Helsinki. The three interactive sessions were conducted introducing and discussing (1) the Draft Progress Report, (2) the work of several pan-Baltic organisations dealing with the thematic aspects addressed in the LTP, (3) outcomes of the relevant territorial cooperation initiatives, and (4) results of the ESPON, PartiSEApate and other projects addressing territorial development processes in the Baltic Sea Region.

Development of the project ideas for new activities as well as potential flagship projects in the HA Spatial Planning was facilitated in the VASAB workshop "Cultivating new ideas for the territorial development of the Baltic Sea Region" on 28 November 2013 in Riga. 37 project ideas were collected during the workshop about (1) urban-rural interlinkage, (2) urban-rural transport initiatives, (3) accessibility, (4) maritime spatial planning. It was noted that some of them could potentially materialize into new Flagship Projects.

leaflet was produced about HA Spatial Planning, its activities, tasks, targets, steering bodies, flagship project and other project examples.

The project has resulted in increased stakeholder awareness of and involvement in the EUSBSR HA "Spatial Planning", its achievements and projects.

MATROS – Maritime Transportation System in the Baltic Sea Region from a Spatial Development Perspective

Project's lifetime: July 1999 - June 2001
Budget: 394 300 EUR

Project had 11 partners of 9 countries. The Lead Partner of the project was SIKA – the Swedish Institute for Transport and Communications Analysis.

The project developed spatial planning and transport infrastructure planning methods for an integrated maritime transport system in the BSR.


The MATROS project developed a common strategic framework for maritime transport in the BSR, taking into account the specific spatial structure of the BSR and the role of port cities in regional development and the dependence of maritime transport on specific port-hinterland connections. The concept was based on a thorough assessment of the present maritime system, including its environmental impacts and expected trends.
The project was based on the following five elements:

  • A common understanding of driving forces and challenges
  • The basic values and objectives
  • A vision for maritime transport in the Baltic Sea Region
  • A strategy
  • A short term action programme

The ports of Copenhagen, Gdansk, Helsinki, and Liepaja were study cases in the project. The purpose of the studies was to give some good examples of port planning, but also to provide a deeper understanding of the challenges of planning, democratic dialogue, communication, and interaction between different planning levels and sectors.


  • Deploy actors in many roles and of many policy sectors to ensure deliberate and concerted action.
  • The challenge of our vision, our analyses clearly shows, calls for cross-sectoral and transnational strategic action.
  • The institutions of the BSR maritime system should move in the direction of clarifying the policy role of defining the rules of the game as well as clarifying the rules themselves. This role would have to be clearly separated from the role of policy actors as players in the game.
  • The future Baltic Sea should be an open arena for sea transport meeting criteria for fair play and code of conduct that are jointly agreed upon. However, the openness of the BSR should not prevent efficient safety and environmental policies to be pursued.
  • Consistent and well-defined regulatory frameworks, supported by efficient institutions and clearly communicated to all actors using the Baltic Sea maritime transport system, are fundamental for moving towards the vision.
  • A common framework for the provision and charging of maritime related infrastructure (fairways, ports, ice-breaking assistance etc.) should be defined for the BSR with due regard to EU principles and policy.
  • Alternative corridor structures for bulk-goods in the BSR should be evaluated with due consideration to environmental issues, external effects and changing policy frameworks.


The VASAB CSPD/BSR is supported by a Secretariat with permanent staff. It was initially located at Karlskrona, Sweden, from 1994 to 2006 - in Gdansk, Poland.

Since January 2007 VASAB Secretariat is located in Riga, Latvia. The State Regional Development Agency of Latvia is hosting VASAB Secretariat until 31 December 2024.

As decided by the Third Ministerial Conference in 1994 in Tallinn, the main tasks of VASAB Secretariat are the following:

  • to perform Secretariat functions for the CSPD/BSR,
  • to push forward the approved actions and assist in the preparation of Ministers' meetings, support common activities decided by CSPD/BSR,
  • organise the on-going concertation process with other institutions,
  • promote the concept of co-operation in the Baltic Sea Region,
  • promote and accompany research and pilot projects,
  • identify new required common actions,
  • organise the mutual information among the BSR countries and regions.
The Head of VASAB Secretariat is responsible for:
  • the execution of tasks according to the CSPD/BSR guidelines and decisions;
  • economic and effective spending of funds in accordance with the approved budgetary lines.
Rules of Operations of the VASAB Secretariat are adopted by the 75th VASAB CSPD/BSR meeting on 19 May 2017.
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