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Possibilities and challenges for MSP integration - Baseline-mapping and refined case study design


Discusses integration challenges in MSP and develops a tentative typology of challenges associated with integration and a methodology for researching them, by developing a framework for analysing integration challenges for various context and basis on case studies of integration approaches in various settings to gather empirical findings for understanding the implications of integration in MSP. The step by step approach applied and the findings from the study are intended to help professionals and academia in the field of MSP understand the practical functioning of integration challenges and their interrelations under different conditions. 

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:

  • What are the challenges associated with integration in MSP?
  • How can integration be addressed in the context of MSP?

Implementation Context:

The study was conducted as part of the BONUS BALTSPACE project to explore the challenges associated with integration in MSP and explore the possibilities to enhance and address the challenges associated with integration.

Aspects / Objectives:

  • To identify and understand the challenges associated with integration under various elements in MSP within and among Baltic Sea countries
  • To explore the possibilities for integration and develop an approach to addressing the challenges of integration


The project uses the four-dimensional analytical framework developed under the BALTSPACE project to examine integration in MSP. These included; cross-scale and transboundary integration, Policy/sector integration, stakeholder integration and knowledge integration.

The study first involved initial studies and observations of MSP within selected countries in the Baltic Sea Region (national assessment) in terms of the nature of MSP with regards to the above mentioned analytical framework to identify integration challenges.

The study then analysed in-depth key challenges identified under each national assessment in relation to the 4-dimensional analytical framework. The national assessment provided a preliminary list of important conditioning factors for understanding the role of integration in MSP and their relevance for analysing integration challenges. These were then broken down into 4 case studies that fits the contexts and conditions that require particular attention. These cases were then explored further to come up with key analytical generalizations relevant for understanding and addressing integration in MSP. 

Main Outputs / Results:

The main outputs included:

  • Identification of key integration issues in selected Baltic Sea countries across the four-dimensional analytical framework
  • Linkages between place-based cases with integration challenges related to specific issues
  • Recommendations geared towards addressing integration challenges across various scales and issues

Table linking pan-Baltic case and place-based cases with integration challenges related to specific issues under one of the four-dimensional analytical framework


The method applied to identify integration challenges can similarly be applied across different sea basin and national cases for the same or similar purposes.

Costs / Funding Source:

BALTSPACE has received funding from BONUS (Art 185) funded jointly from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration, and from Baltic Sea national funding institutions.

Contact person:

Michael Gilek (michael[dot]gilek[at]sh[dot]se)  

+46 8 608 48 62