Maritime officials and planners gathered in Riga to make Baltic Sea better

One sea – nine countries – different national interests, sea use and planning cultures. The planning process of the Baltic Sea is diverse and it cannot fully capture and address the impacts of economic activities at sea at national level alone. The cross-border discussion is needed.

The 2nd Baltic Maritime Spatial Planning Forum is the biggest regional event of the institutions responsible for maritime spatial planning gathering more than 250 participants from 32 countries and took place on 23-24 November in Riga, Latvia.

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.

What are the research needs for planning in 21st century? How MSP affects the interest of national defence? Integration in Baltic Sea maritime spatial planning: What role does it really play? Those are just few questions set to be answered during the Forum.

How to apply ecosystem approach and link maritime spatial planning with marine protected areas are other important issues raised to enhance sustainability at sea. Also, colleagues from Adriatic and Black Sea shared their experience how they address the transboundary challenges. To discover more about maritime spatial development, get your feet wet and hands out of the pockets the maritime spatial planning challenge game was carried out.

The plenary and the workshops of the first day on 23 November were streaming online. You can see the video archive here >>.

The Forum served also as the final conference of the Baltic SCOPE collaboration. Baltic SCOPE has brought together for the first time the national authorities actually responsible for the maritime spatial planning and after almost two years of close cooperation has made more steps towards the coherence in Baltic maritime spatial plans.

Baltic SCOPE, with its successful contribution, created stronger links between the planning authorities and has strengthened a pan-Baltic approach to maritime spatial planning. The recommendation on transboundary planning as well as obstacles and enablers derived from the project were presented during the Forum.

“To achieve environmental, economic and social objectives, the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive sets overarching principles and common requirements by which to organise human activities in EU waters. It requires that planning of seas is done in all EU waters by 2021. In doing so Member States are required to cooperate and ensure that their maritime spatial plans are coherent and coordinated throughout the marine region concerned.” is emphasized by Haitze Siemers, Head of Unit for Maritime Policy in the Baltic and North Sea, EC Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (EC DG MARE).

To showcase the achievements and latest developments of the MSP processes, researchers, representatives of public authorities and NGOs had a displays at the Forum’s Expo Lounge exhibition.

The Forum was organized by the VASAB, Baltic SCOPE and ICES and is co-financed by the EC Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

The presentations, video archive and photos are available here >>.
Twitter #BalticMSP.

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