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MSP Governance Framework Report


The governance framework report aims at providing recommedations on how to improve transnational and cross-border consultation and cooperation in the Baltic Sea.

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

Questions this practice may help answer

  • How to strengthen the current institutional set-up for MSP consultation and cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region?
  • How to improve the cross-border consultation and cooperation process?

Implementation context

The recommendations for a governance framework in the Baltic Sea were developed in the scope of the PartiSEApate project. They were taken into account in the guidelines on transboundary consultations, public participation and co-operation of the HELCOM-VASAB MSP Working Group.

Aspects / Objectives

The governance framework report aims at providing recommedations on how to improve transnational and cross-border consultation and cooperation in the Baltic Sea. It identifies the requirements for building up sea-basin cooperation in MSP

Moreover, the governance framework report provides an overview on relevant transnational institutions in the Baltic Sea Region acting as stakeholders in the MSP process.

The centrepiece is suggestion of a pan-Baltic cooperation and consultation framework including recommendations on how to amend the current process.


The recommendations for the PartiSEApate governance framework were made based on the conclusions drawn from sector workshops organised within the scope of PartiSEApate and the project’s pilot case studies. In addition, targeted semi-structured telephone interviews with sector and governance representatives were carried.


Requirements for building up pan-Baltic consultation and cooperation


Suggested pan-Baltic MSP cooperation and consultation framework


Assessment of deficits / weaknesses of cross-border consultation and cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region

  • Consultation takes place too late in the MSP process, i.e. only once the plan is almost finalised. This gives neighbouring countries little room to influence the development of the plan
  • Cross-border consultation is not a formal requirement anchored in the national MSP process
  • The potential to generate added value through cross-border consultation is lost as consultation is so far limited to (negative) environmental impacts. Socio-economic impacts and positive synergies are neglected
  • Countries differ in their MSP approach in MSP. However, countries rarely explain the nature of the plan which is produced
  • At present, it is difficult for countries to respond to consultations. Many countries have not yet engaged in MSP and are finding it difficult to know what is required of them.
  • Sectors report no urgent need to engage in cross-border dialogue. Few “hot topics” have so far emerged that merit a debate. This may change as MSP progress and certain sea uses become more prominent


Suggested amendments to the current process

Cooperation and consultation across borders should

  • Exceed Espoo minimum requirement
  • Start at the very beginning of the MSP planning process
  • Not only focus on environmental impacts, but incorporate socio-economic impacts issues and synergies
  • The MSP authority in the neighbouring county should determine forms of stakeholder involvement in that country


The governance framework suggested is specific to the Baltic Sea Region. However, general principles on transnational consultation and cooperation in MSP are applicable to other sea-basins.

Contact Person

Angela Schultz-Zehden

s.Pro – sustainable projects GmbH

Email: (asz[at]sustainable-projects[dot]eu)

Phone: +49 (0)30-832 141740

Responsible Entity

VASAB Secretariat


Baltic Sea Region Programme