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Coherent Cross-border Maritime Spatial Planning for the Southwest Baltic Sea


The report highlights the main tools and processes developed and used by MSP planners expert groups in their attempts to identify and solve key transboundary conflict issues in the Southwest Baltic area, and the main results and findings from these discussions, which can be used in the development of future transnational MSP collaboration efforts. 

Application in MSP:
Type of Issue:
Type of practice:
Stage of MSP cycle:
Cross-border / trans-national aspect:
Key words:

Questions this practice may help answer

  • How can national authorities and planners work together to identify and solve transboundary conflict issues?

Implementation Context

The report was developed in the context of the BalticSCOPE project to outline the main activities from the Southwest Baltic case study area. This area is regarded as vital for MSP activities in the Baltic Sea region as well as highly complex from multiple perspectives: geographic, political, social, environmental and economic.

Aspects / Objectives

The case study sought to:

  • develop tools and processes to identify and solve key transboundary conflict issues, and
  • document main findings and results from these discussions for future use in transnational MSP collaboration efforts.


Planners from national authorities responsible for MSP in the case study area met several times during the course of the project, and adopted a geographic approach to seek solutions for transboundary focus areas (outhern Middle Bank, Krieger’s Flak, Adlergrund, Öresund strait and the Pomeranian Bay (encompassing Odra Bank and the approach fairway to the ports of Świnoujście and Szczecin)). Methods included:

  • partner/planners meetings to facilitate interaction and discussion
  • stakeholder involvement through national meetings and a stakeholder conference
  • topic papers outlining latest developments and trends for 4 key sectors with transboundary impacts: shipping, energy, fisheries and environment/nature protection
  • matrix of interests to map both present and potential future national sectoral interests within the focus areas
  • bi-lateral and tri-lateral meetings with smaller groups of relevant planners to share relevant national knowledge and projects ideas or plans, as well as common data and maps

Baltic SCOPE SW case study area

Baltic Scope SW case study focal areas

Main Outputs / Results

  • The exchange of key information and data between the planning authorities in relation to the main interests of the four key sectors: shipping, energy, fisheries and environment;
  • Mutual learning in relation to countries’ different planning systems, legal frameworks and existing/future marine spatial plans;
  • The identification of key transboundary conflict areas in the Southwest Baltic;
  • Increased stakeholder involvement, particularly of national level authorities and relevant agencies;
  • Identification of key sectoral synergies and conflicts;
  • The development of a number of planning suggestions outlining potential planning solutions for transboundary MSP issues within focused geographic areas (see main report);
  • The development of common data sources, including maps visualizing shipping and socio-economic evidence as well as other ‘working maps’ on overlapping interests in transboundary focus-areas;
  • The development of a strategy to enable and facilitate the use of the ecosystem-based approach as the basis for MSP, including three checklists to be utilized by planners during different phases of the planning process: 1) the general ecosystem approach in MSP checklist; 2) a planning support checklist; and 3) the SEA in MSP checklist;
  • The development of a number of key general and sectoral policy and planning recommendations (see main report).



The methods developed as part of the case study could be applied in other contexts, but it is worth noting that the process did not seek to develop a ‘one size fits all’ MSP approach. Some methods were predefined, while others came about as the need arose. Thus, methods can be applied in other processes but should include flexibility for other method development and application as needed.  

Responsible Entity

Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SE) – Lead Partner

Costs / Funding Source

Funding Source: the report was developed within the BalticSCOPE project, funded by EMFF.

Costs: not possible to be defined, as part of the overall funds to BalticSCOPE project.

Contact person

Ingela Isaksson

Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management

Tel : 0046 (0)10 698 6229

Mobile : 0046 (0)703 662529 (ingela[dot]isaksson[at]havochvatten[dot]se)