Spatial planning

The overall goal of HA ‘Spatial Planning’ is to increase territorial cohesion in the Baltic Sea region. In 2030, the Region shall be a better-integrated and more coherent macro-region, with reduced socio-economic development divides between its individual parts and global challenges that have been turned into assets. To achieve this, HA is encouraging the use of maritimeand land-based spatial planningand integrated territorial approach to development policies in the countries around the Baltic Sea, and developing a common approach for cross-border cooperation.

Spatial planning is an integrative process to influence the future spatial distribution of human activities. It aims to ensure functional integration across multiple scales (macro-regional, national, regional, local levels) and different sectors of public policy in order to balance demands for development with the need to protect the environment, and to achieve social and economic objectives. Spatial planning is therefore an important tool for promoting sustainable development, improving the quality of life and reducing inequalities.

HA “Spatial Planning” is coordinated by VASAB and HELCOM.

VASAB (Vision and Strategies around the Baltic Sea) is a regional intergovernmental multilateral co-operation in spatial planning and development. VASAB is integrated into the network of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) organizations. VASAB member states are: Belarus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden. 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. VASAB is 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.

HELCOM (Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission - Helsinki Commission) is the governing body of the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area, known as the Helsinki Convention. The Contracting Parties are Denmark, Estonia, the European Union, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden. HELCOM is an environmental policy maker for the Baltic Sea area. It develops common management solutions and actions to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution through intergovernmental cooperation. The working structure of HELCOM consists of the meetings of the Helsinki Commission, the Heads of Delegation, and eight main groups. The HELCOM groups implement policies and strategies and propose issues for discussion at the meetings of the Heads of Delegations, where decisions are made.

Important information on MSP can be found on the following webpage:

HA Spatial Planning has two thematic areas – maritime spatial planning (MSP) and land-based spatial planning.VASAB and HELCOM have developed lasting pan-Baltic cooperation mechanisms, agendas and targets are integrated and aligned policy objectives of EUSBSR, as well as broad-stakeholder networks have been built that allow to build synergies and enhance the implementation of EUSBSR.

VASAB CSPD/BSR has collected and regularly updates the country fiches on terrestrial spatial planning (land-use planning)systems in the Baltic Sea Region countries.

The Joint HELCOM-VASAB Maritime Spatial Planning Working Group has collected and regularly updates the MSP country fichesabout MSP systems and status in the Baltic Sea region countries and Norway.

The strategic target of HA is to have maritime spatial plans throughout the Region by 2021. In order to follow the progress of the target, HELCOM BASEMAPS - map service allows to access Baltic Sea MSP relevant data from the original sources -