Questions this practice may help answer
What has been the process of developing the Latvian Maritime Spatial Plan?
Two regulation define the process of developing the Latvian MSP:
- Regulations of the Cabinet of the Ministers Nr. 740 on Development, Implementation and Monitoring of Maritime Spatial Plan have been approved by the Latvian Government in 2012, where the content, elaboration procedure as well as implementation and monitoring procedures of MSP are defined. Plan must be submitted and announced through ordinary legislative procedures according to the Cabinet of Minister rules of order. The Government shall approve the MSP.
- Marine Environment Protection and Management Law enforced on 18 November 2010 defines the maritime spatial planning as a long-term process for development planning aimed at protection of marine environment, rational use of the sea and integrated management, as well as balancing the social welfare and economic development with the environmental protection requirements. The Law requires to apply ecosystem approach, including featuring of the characteristics of the Baltic Sea, as well to take into account marine environmental status and trends.
Aspects / Objectives
Elaborate on the development process of the Latvian MSP
- Setting the time schedule for the development of the MSP
- Organise and describe Public participation in MSP
- Prepare Strategic environmental assessment of the MSP.
- Describe current and future Transboundary consultations on MSP and SEA.
Main Outputs / Results
The MSP and ER is developed closely with stakeholders and input received via public participation activities implemented throughout the planning process.
In Latvia, public participation is implemented by formal (for example, associations, foundations, trade unions, employers’ organisations, religious organisations) and informal (unregistered initiative groups, interest associations) groups of the public, as well as individual natural persons (hereinafter –public representatives).
Public representatives may participate in the MSP:
- by participating in inter-institutional working groups and advisory councils;
- by participating in public discussion;
- by getting involved in public consultation;
- by getting involved in discussion groups, forums and other participation activities (for example, video conferences and public opinion polls);
- by submitting a written opinion on a development planning document during its drafting stage;
- by preparing an opinion on a development planning document prior to taking of a decision according to the procedures stipulated by the decision-making institution
The public participation for MSP was initiated at the very early stage. At first the national working group on Maritime Spatial Planning (WG on MSP) was established in January 2014. The work group has the following tasks:
- to participate in the development of the MSP;
- to inform on opinions and positions of the represented institution;
- to suggest new ideas and prepare proposals on different aspects of MSP;
- to provide relevant information for MSP;
- to adopt the terms of the reference for development of the MSP.
A lot of work is dedicated to the stakeholder involvement in the MSP process. The key stakeholders represent all sectors relevant to the use of the sea as well as all administrative and planning levels
A number of events have been and will be implemented during the MSP process:
- Sectorial events – meetings with representatives from authorities and economic sectors either individually or as a group
- Regional integrative events/workshops
- National Maritime day on 21 May, 2015.
Strategic Environmental Assessment
The work on SEA can be grouped also into two phases:
- Assessing the existing environmental situation in marine areas (by the end of June, 2015)
- Assessing impacts of the optimal solution of the use of the sea (by end of November, 2015)
The legal procedure for transboundary consultation is laid down in the legislation on SEA. Therefore a notification letter issued by the Environment State Bureau (under MoEPRD) was sent to the competent authorities of Estonia, Sweden and Lithuania on March 27, 2015. The letter informed about launch of the MSP and asked about the interest in transboundary consultation on SEA.
The positive responses on the interest to take part in the transboundary SEA consultation were received from all three countries by the end of April, 2015. Cross-border consultation meetings with Estonian and Lithuanian stakeholders are scheduled for July 2015 and January 2016.
The process has been elaborated for the Latvian MSP specifically. However, other MSPs have to take into account similar processes. This practice can therefore form an inspiration for other countries in the region.
Costs / Funding Source
European Economic Area Financial Mechanism (EEA Grants)
Ministry of the Environmental Protection and Regional Development