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Conference of Ministers

VASAB is a co-operation of ministers responsible for spatial planning and development of 11 countries of the Baltic Sea Region. The highest decision making body of VASAB is the Ministerial Conference. Ministerial Conferences are conveyed according to the need.

Since 1992 eight Ministerial Conferences have taken place:

  • Karlskrona, Sweden, 20-21 August 1992
  • Gdansk, Poland, 14-15 December 1993
  • Tallinn, Estonia, 8-9 December 1994
  • Stockholm, Sweden, 22 October 1996
  • Wismar, Germany, 20 September 2001
  • Gdansk, Poland, 19 September 2005
  • Vilnius, Lithuania, 16 October 2009
  • Tallinn, Estonia, 26 September 2014

More information about Ministerial Conferences is available here. Declarations and other related documents of Ministerial Conferences are available here.


VASAB is intergovernmental multilateral co-operation of 11 countries of the Baltic Sea Region in spatial planning and development, guided by the Conference of Ministers responsible for spatial planning and development, steered by the Committee on Spatial Planning and Development of the Baltic Sea Region (CSPD/BSR) composed of representatives of respective ministries and regional authorities (Germany, Russia).


VASAB prepares policy options for the territorial development of the Baltic Sea Region and provides a forum for exchange of know-how on spatial planning and development between the Baltic Sea countries:

  • Recommend transnational policy measures;
  • Promote methodology development;
  • Promote co-operation projects;
  • Co-operate with other cross-BSR initiatives;
  • Promote a dialogue with sector institutions.

VASAB is integrated into the network of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) organizations.

The VASAB budget is financed by annual contributions from the VASAB Member States according to annual budgets approved by the CSPD/BSR.



Find more information about spatial planning and development in the Baltic Sea Region:


Intergovernmental cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region

Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS)

CBSS Expert Group on Sustainable Development - Baltic 21

Helsinki Commission - Baltic Marine Environment Helsinki Commission (HELCOM)

Baltic Sea Region Energy Co-operation (BASREC)


Pan-Baltic organisations and cooperation programmes

Baltic Sea States Subregional Co-operation (BSSSC)

Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions Baltic Sea Commission (CPMR BSC)

Baltic Sea Chambers of Commerce Association (BCCA)

Baltic Development Forum (BDF)

Union of the Baltic Cities (UBC)


VASAB members - National authorities responsible for spatial planning

Belarus: Ministry of Architecture and Construction

Denmark: Ministry of Business and Growth, Danish Business Authority 

Estonia: Ministry of Finance

Finland: Ministry of the Environment 

Germany: Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure

Germany: Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development

DE Mecklenburg-Vorpommern: Ministry of Energy, Infrastructure and Regional Development

DE Schleswig-Holstein: Ministry of Interior

Latvia: The Ministry of the Environmental Protection and Regional Development

Lithuania: Ministry of Environment

Norway: Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation

Poland: Ministry of Infrastructure and Development

Russia: Ministry of Regional Development

RU Kaliningrad Oblast:

RU Pskov Oblast:

RU Saint Petersburg City:

Sweden: Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation


Transnational projects on spatial development in the Baltic Sea Region

Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme

Interreg Central Baltic Programme

Interreg South Baltic Programme



VASAB host: State Regional Development Agency, Latvia

Leontief Centre, Russia

6th Conference of Ministers Responsible for Spatial Planning and Development in the BSR, Gdansk, 19 September 2005

The 6th Conference of Ministers Responsible for Spatial Planning and Development in the BSR countries took place in Gdansk on 19 September 2005 under Chairmanship of the Government Centre for Strategic Studies which presided VASAB Since July 2004. The Conference was attended by national delegations from all BSR countries and by representatives of Pan Baltic organisations.

The main reason to convene Ministers in Gdansk was a challenge to find better use of: existing potential of BSR organisations, EU Cohesion Policy and European Neighbourhood Instrument for speeding up the spatial planning contribution to the process of connecting the existing in the BSR potentials.

The conference has recognized that both the Vision and Strategies around the Baltic Sea 2010, adopted by the Ministerial Conference in Tallinn in 1994, as well as the VASAB 2010 Plus Spatial Development Action Programme, adopted in Wismar in 2001, continue to provide a good basis for co-operation between our countries.

The conference looked for the right focus of the transnational spatial planning in the coming years in which the New Cohesion Policy of EU will be discussed and the new regional development Strategy of the Russian Federation will be implemented. This should increase the demand for better coordination through spatial planning and integrated spatial development.

The Ministers have pointed out that the most important task for transnational spatial actions is to connect the existing in the BSR potentials and by that contributing to BSR territorial cohesion and global competitiveness. This should be done by focusing spatial work on city clustering at BSR level, improving accessibility within BSR and to other regions and strengthening BSR integration through transnational development zones (three out of six key themes adopted by the previous conference).

The conference has adopted Gdansk Declaration and discussed the Policy Document Connecting Potentials prepared by the Committee on Spatial Development in the BSR. The Conference has assigned Committee on Spatial Development of the Baltic Sea Region with the five key tasks. The most important out of these tasks is preparation of a long-term perspective for the spatial development of the Baltic Sea Region with active participation of the regional authorities and in dialogue with relevant pan-Baltic organisations.

The most important issues related to the territorial co-operation in the BSR between 2007 and 2013 pointed out by the 6th Conference of Ministers Responsible for Spatial Planning and Development in the BSR countries:

  • In future, EU Cohesion Policy could be better adjusted to the specific features and diversity of the different pan-European regions. It should take advantage of their specific potential and address key development issues. The Structural Funds Programmes, within all the three objectives, and the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument should take the consequences of their actions for spatial development into account.
  • It is important to continue the future transnational cooperation programme in the Baltic Sea Region within the current INTERREG III B boundaries in order to maintain strong instruments for the implementation of a coherent spatial development policy in the Baltic Sea Region.
  • Relevant research should be undertaken to provide a more precise specification of the needs and means for connecting Baltic Sea Region potentials into synergic network systems. Research programmes, such as ESPON 2, could provide more focused research on the specific territorial characteristics of European macro regions such as the BSR.


icon Declaration of 6th Conference of Ministers for Spatial Planning and Development and Policy Document Connecting Potentials

5th Conference of Ministers for Spatial Planning and Development, Wismar, 20-21 September 2001

The fifth conference of ministers responsible for spatial planning and development of 11 Baltic Sea Region countries was held under the chairmanship of the German Federal Minister for Transport, Building and Housing in Wismar on 20-21 September 2001.

The main focus of the conference was the development of recommendations for future transnational actions based on the experience made since the adoption of VASAB 2010 vision in Tallinn in 1994. The ministers agreed on Spatial Development Action Programme - VASAB 2010 PLUS as a common platform for more focused joint activities. Links and cooperation between VASAB and other spatial development institutions and programmes (e.g. Interreg, ESPON) were defined.


The six key themes requiring common effort were underlined:
1. Co-operation of urban regions on key issues of sustainable development
2. Strategic development zones important for transnational integration within the BSR
3. Transnational transport links important for cross-BSR and cross-Europe integration
4. Diversification and strengthening of rural areas
5. Development of transnational green networks incl. cultural landscapes
6. Integrated development of coastal zones and islands

The Wismar Declaration stressed the need for spatial planning to promote sustainable development in connection with the enlargement of the EU and marked extension of spatial planning to the offshore areas.



icon Wismar Declaration on transnational spatial planning and development policies for the Baltic Sea Region to 2010

4th Conference of Ministers for Spatial Planning and Development, Stockholm, 22 October 1996

The fourth conference of ministers responsible for spatial planning and development of 11 Baltic Sea Region countries was held under the chairmanship of the German Federal Minister for Regional Planning, Building and Urban Development in Stockholm on 22 October 1996. It was organized back-to-back with the meeting of the Ministers of Environment of the Baltic Sea Region.

The Ministerial Conference provided a very practical framework for the implementation of VASAB 2010. The Conference focused on three dimensions of the future VASAB activities:

• sustainability of spatial development – the Ministers supported drawing up Agenda 21 for the Baltic Sea Region,
• coastal areas and islands as one of the pillars of VASAB spatial concepts – the Ministers endorsed "Common Recommendations for Spatial Planning of the Coastal Zone in the Baltic Sea Region",
• implementation of common regional projects under INTERREG II C Initiative, supported by PHARE and TACIS and co-operation with INTERREG structures in the BSR.

The conference document "From Vision to Action" summed up VASAB pilot projects and suggested further steps.



icon Conclusions of the Fourth Conference of Ministers for Spatial Planing and Development

icon Conclusions of the Fourth Conference of Ministers for Spatial Planning and Development - Stockholm Declaration

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