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Land-based spatial planning

Land-based spatial planning has been carried out by all BSR states at national, regional and local level. VASAB has established a common platform which allows partners to meet, network, exchange knowledge and experience. VASAB sketched a first common spatial vision for the Baltic Sea Region – "Vision and Strategies around the Baltic Sea 2010" – (VASAB 2010) that was adopted by ministers responsible for spatial planning in Tallinn in 1994.

The VASAB Long Term Perspective for the Territorial Development of the Baltic Sea Region (LTP), prepared for the period till 2030, is the latest contribution to that and should be taken into account by Priority Area Coordinators of the EUSBSR with regard to spatial objectives, conditions and impacts of their actions. The LTP concentrates on issues which require transnational solutions such as urban networking and urban-rural cooperation, improving external and internal accessibility as well as development of maritime spatial planning. It also calls to overcome territorial disparities and socio-economic divides between parts of the Baltic Sea Region.

In order to implement LTP within the EUSBSR and achieve coherent development of the Baltic Sea region, horizontal action aims to:

1. contribute to better adaptation of strategies to different types of areas and propose specific approaches for a diverse urban pattern by ensuring pan-Baltic dialogue and input to the EU Urban Agenda process;

2. underline the need to apply place-based approaches to territorial development policies as well as effective use of functional area's concept and territorial impact assessment tools by acting as a platform for sharing knowledge and best practices;

3. observe the territorial development processes in the Region by using and advancing territorial development monitoring solutions, inter alia developed within projects of the ESPON programme;

4. encourage transnational actions improving accessibility and connectivity of the Region using potential of TEN-T for regional development and observe regional effects of the European transport infrastructure development.

VASAB Committee for Spatial Planning and Development of the Baltic Sea Region (VASAB CSPD/BSR) acts as a coordination platform for the territorial development in the Baltic Sea Region, in close cooperation with the Council of the Baltic Sea States.

EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region - 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
EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region

The EUSBSR is an integrated framework that allows the European Union and Member States to identify needs and match them to the available resources by coordinating of appropriate policies, thus enabling the Baltic Sea Region to achieve a sustainable environment and optimal economic and social development.
More information about the EUSBSR is available on:

Horizontal Action „Spatial Planning"

VASAB jointly with HELCOM are the Horizontal Action Coordinators of the Horizontal Action within the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR).


The Horizontal Action "Spatial Planning" is of key importance in ensuring coherence between EUSBSR actions and maintaining an integrated approach. Comprehensive overview of the Region and knowledge of sensitive areas, populations, economic pressures and other factors, both at sea and on land, are prerequisites for feasible sustainable development. This relates both to the situation on land and at sea.

More information about HELCOM, a co-leader of the Horizontal Action is available HERE.


The overall goal of the Horizontal Action "Spatial Planning" is to achieve territorial cohesion perspective in the Baltic Sea Region by 2030, i.e. the Region shall be well-integrated and coherent macro-region, and it has overcome the socio-economic development divides between its individual parts and turned the global challenges into assets.

The strategic target of the Horizontal Action is to draw up and apply of trans-boundary, ecosystem-based Maritime Spatial Plans throughout the region in 2020/2021. It means the Baltic Sea countries should aim at developing national maritime spatial plans by applying an ecosystem-approach, and that the planning should be coherent across the borders which calls for close trans-boundary cooperation.

HA Spatial Planning has two thematic areas – maritime spatial planning (MSP) and land-based spatial planning.

The joint HELCOM-VASAB Maritime Spatial Planning Working Group acts as the Steering Committee for the HA Spatial Planning concerning MSP issues. VASAB CSPD/BSR acts as Steering Committee for the land-based spatial planning issues.


More information about roles and responsibilities of the involved actors is available HERE

Brochure about Horizontal Action "Spatial Planning" can be downloaded HERE.

Presentation about Horizontal Action "Spatial Planning" can be found HERE.


7th conference of BSR ministers for spatial planning and development, Vilnius, 16 October 2009

A conference of ministers responsible for spatial planning and development of 11 Baltic Sea Region countries was held in Vilnius, Lithuania on 16 October 2009 in order to examine level of territorial cohesion in the Baltic Sea region and future co-operation between the Vision and Strategies around the Baltic Sea (VASAB) member states.

The main focus of the high level gathering was the improved territorial integration of the Baltic Sea Region and its integration with other areas of Europe. Discussion was dedicated to the Long-Term Perspective for the Territorial Development of the Baltic Sea Region with regard to trends and challenges for territorial development, territorial cohesion and perspective till 2030, with focus on urban networking and urban rural relations, accessibility, as well as the sea space planning and management.

This high profile meeting marked the 15th anniversary of the foundation of VASAB.

Back to back with Ministerial Conference in Vilnius, VASAB organized Expert and Stakeholder Workshop on Maritime Spatial Planning Challenges in the Baltic Sea on 15 October 2009.

It proposed further steps towards development of MSP in the Baltic Sea Region in dialogue with experts and stakeholders, and underlined the role of VASAB as promoter and knowledge base of MSP in the Region. Outcome of the workshop was reported to the VASAB Ministerial Conference, on the next day, 16 October, 2009.


icon Declaration of 7th VASAB Ministerial Conference 2009 (eng)

icon Declaration of 7th VASAB Ministerial Conference 2009 (de)

icon Declaration of 7th VASAB Ministerial Conference 2009 (lv)

icon Declaration of 7th VASAB Ministerial Conference 2009 (ru)

icon VASAB Long-Term Perspective for the Territorial Development of the Baltic Sea Region

icon Background Synthesis Document

icon Final Key Messages to High Political Level


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BaltCoast - Recommendations on the role of spatial planning in Integrated Coastal Zone Management

Project's lifetime: 2002 - 2006
Budget: € 3 000 000

The INTERREG III B BSR BaltCoast project originated from the conclusions of the 5th Conference of Ministers Responsible for Spatial Planning and Development in the Baltic Sea Region (Wismar, 2001) and was a part of the "VASAB 2010 PLUS Spatial Development Action Programme".

For first time in the Baltic Sea Region, Baltcoast:

  • Integrated the needs for development with those for protection
  • Included all types of coastal areas, e.g. areas of intensive tourism, urban expansion areas, infrastructure development areas etc.
  • Equally included off-shore and land-side coastal areas
  • Linked the project oriented approach with the process of statutory spatial planning in widening the participation to all public and private actors that could contribute

The project comprised 17 sub-projects implemented by 22 national, regional and local authorities plus two scientific institutes and one non-governmental organisation from seven BSR countries. Project activities implemented between 2002 and 2005 included:

Identifying and solving use conflicts in offshore areas in the BSR:

  • Preparation of inventory of off-shore uses and conflicts in the BSR
  • Elaboration of a transnational use strategy for offshore areas in the BSR

Identifying and solving use conflicts in specific coastal in land areas such as:

  • Sensitive lagoon and wetland areas (especially solving conflicts between tourism and nature protection through the use of zoning by time and space),
  • Urban areas (especially solving conflicts between urban expansion and nature protection by definition of combined strategies)

Implementation of existing regional programmes and concepts for using and protecting coastal zone areas:

  • Discussion of different approaches and elucidation of similarities
  • Elaboration of common recommendations for ICZM in the BSR leading to institutional and procedural changes in the participating countries.


BaltCoast ICZM Recommendations
BaltCoast Offshore Recommendations

BALANCE – Baltic Sea Management – Nature Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Ecosystem through Spatial Planning

Project's lifetime: July 2005 – December 2007
Budget: € 4'300'000

BALANCE was an INTERREG III B co-funded project aimed towards development of informed marine management tools for the Baltic Sea based on spatial planning and cross-sectoral and transnational co-operation.


BALANCE inter alia aimed to:

  • develop transnational marine spatial planning tools and an agreed template for marine management planning and decision-making;
  • develop the "blue corridor" concept and promote "blue corridors" between protected sites adding spatial development dimensions to the implementation of EC Directives;
  • assess if the Baltic marine Natura 2000 network was ecological coherent and adequately represents & protects a continuum of habitats;
  • develop a communication strategy for stakeholder involvement to ensure that objectives and decisions address local stakeholders needs and that products is used and understood by the end of project;
  • enhance awareness of the marine natural heritage and the benefits of sustainable resource use.

BALANCE in particular:

  • Identified and collated relevant and available marine data in the Baltic Sea, Kattegat and Skagerrak area.
  • Defined Baltic Sea marine landscapes and developed habitat maps, the latter in 4 pilot areas.
  • Assessed the existing Baltic Sea Marine Protected Areas network and developed a "blue corridor" concept.
  • Developed Baltic marine zoning plans in 2 pilot areas (pilot area 2 and 3).

VASAB_org RT @MaijaHolma: Full house at cumulative effect assessment and economic and social analyses joint workshop #PanBalticScope
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