Skip to main content
European Commission logo

Recommendations to the HELCOM-VASAB MSP working group on future actions deriving from findings from the Baltic LINes project


This paper presents the recommendations, which have been derived from the analyses and activities carried out during the Baltic LINes’ project implementation. They also include some good practices that have been identified during its course and build on the analysis of recommendations provided under previous and parallel ongoing MSP projects.

Type of Issue:
Type of practice:
Cross-border / trans-national aspect:
Key words:


Questions this practice may help answer:


  • How could the Baltic Sea countries improve their MSP cooperation in the field of offshore energy, shipping and data sharing?
  • How could HELCOM VASAB and especially the HELCOM VASAB MSP working group better tackle these topics?


Implementation Context:

These recommendations constitute the final output of the Baltic LINes project.



Based on the different reports produced under Baltic LINes project, the Baltic LINes partnership elaborated recommendations targeting specifically HELCOM-VASAB and the HELCOM VASAB Maritime Spatial Planning Working Group. These recommendations were presented to the HELCOM-VASAB MSP working group in March 2019. 


Main Outputs / Results:

Offshore energy recommendations

  • Invite and involve the energy sector in the HELCOM-VASAB MSP working group. The HELCOM-VASAB MSP working group should especially organise dedicated energy sessions or workshops at least once a year. In addition, energy stakeholders such as TSOs, Offshore Wind farms developers or civil servants responsible for renewable energy policy should be invited as well.


  • Establish a technical Pan Baltic Offshore energy and grid stakeholder group, inspired by the North Sea Energy Initiative, made up of experts and which could actively feed into future projects. 


Shipping recommendation

  • Extend the prerogatives of an existing group or improve the cooperation between existing groups on MSP issues in relation to shipping, safety and seaport issues. More specifically, the way HELCOM Safe Nav, HELCOM Maritime and the HELCOM-VASAB MSP working group should practically cooperate should be explored. More specifically, the following shipping-related topics should be discussed in this new framework: common positions towards the IMO in view of possible shifting of shipping lanes, how to better integrate and align IMO terminology within national MSPs, discuss further how and whether MSPs can take into account future developments of the shipping sectors.


Baltic LINes recommendations on data (incl. BASEMAPS)

  • Update the terms of reference of the Baltic Sea Region MSP Data Expert Sub-group (BSR MSP Data ESG) under the HELCOM VASAB MSP Working Group:
  • The BSR MSP Data ESG should work to support the data availability in the newly created tool to access BASEMAPS and make sure that their national data is included. 
  • The status of the data availability should be followed up at each group meeting of the BSR MSP data ESG. The data ESG should inform the HELCOM-VASAB MSP WG on the status of BASEMAPS’ completion. 
  • BASEMAPS should be the focal point for getting an overview on MSP related spatial data stemming from national Marine Spatial Data Infrastructures (MSDIs). Therefore, BASEMAPS could be the starting point for cataloguing relevant data to be used by MSP related spatial decision support tools.
  • BASEMAPS should be continuously fed and its data layers extended to other sectors such as aquaculture, underwater cultural heritage, etc.
  • The BSR MSP Data ESG should encourage MSP data providers to establish English as an additional language to provide MSP transboundary data.
  • BSR MSP Data ESG should work to support a common symbology for MSP data and establishment of common term vocabulary to achieve semantic interoperability. 


Horizontal recommendations 

  • Regular update of the planning criteria table developed under the Baltic LINes project
  • Moving towards cooperation on MSP implementation: concrete steps should be defined by the HELCOM VASAB MSP working group towards this goal and these could include voluntary agreements. 
  • When appropriate use the MSP Challenge simulation platform for the Baltic Sea
  • Continue and expand efforts to involve a wider range of stakeholders. To do so, the Baltic Planning Forums could for instance be used and extended to other people than MSP planners. 
  • Increase and continue the efforts to take into account land- sea interaction effects. Analytical tools should be developed by the HELCOM VASAB MSP working group, and especially in view of the transnational dimension of such land sea interactions. 



These recommendations are specifically targeting the HELCOM VASAB MSP working group, which is a group dedicated to the Baltic Sea only. Therefore these recommendations can’t be transferred to other sea basins. 



Responsible Entity:

Maritime Office in Gdynia / s.Pro – sustainable projects GmbH 


Costs / Funding Source:

The Baltic LINes project is cofinanced by the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme 2016-2020.


Contact person:

Angela Schultz-Zehden

s.Pro – sustainable projects GmbH (asz[at]sustainable-projects[dot]eu)