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Towards Coherent Cross-Border Maritime Spatial Planning in the Central Baltic Sea


The report presents the methods used, data gathered and conclusions drawn from MSP work conducted in the Central Baltic Sea area as part of the Baltic SCOPE project. It provides a summary of the status and current development of MSP in the Central Baltic and a base for future transnational collaboration.

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 is the status of MSP in the Central Baltic?
  • How can transnational cooperation and understanding for MSP be established?

Implementation Context

The report was developed in the context of the BalticSCOPE project to document the thematic, process-oriented approach taken for the Central Baltic case study. This approach was chosen in the absence of any clear transboundary conflicts between the countries. The Central Baltic countries face common socio-economic challenges, opportunities for Blue Growth, pressures on the marine environment, and competition with traditional uses.

Central Baltic case study area. Source: Baltic SCOPE

Aspects / Objectives

An important aim was to reach conclusions and joint recommendations on how to address knowledge and transboundary MSP issues in the case study area and in respective national planning processes. The case study presents the following:

  • Current status and development of sector trends, focusing on important economic drivers and other pressures in the Baltic Sea area
  • A combined picture of respective marine planning and management systems across sectors, as different countries adopt different institutional approaches and are at different stages of the planning process
  • Present data available on sector interests and needs and the type of information used in MSP processes, shown in common maps and availability tables
  • Cross-sector analysis with stakeholders and sector experts and among planners to generate a comprehensive map compiling current and possible future uses across four sectors (shipping, fisheries, environment, energy)



The case study adopted a topic-focused and procedural approach including intensive interaction with stakeholders and other groups within the overall project. Methods included analysis from both a sector and a cross-sector perspective, interactive methods to enhance interaction and communication between planners and sectors, and methods to synthesise and integrate data within the case study area. These required a series of meetings among partners, planners and stakeholders; topic papers; mapping exercises; and compiling conflict and synergy tables. The following graphic illustrates the case study phases:

Case study phases. Source: Baltic SCOPE


Main Outputs / Results

The case study was successful in developing transnational cooperation between the participating countries, and created foundations for ongoing cooperation and harmonised plans. It led to a common understanding of developments in marine use sectors and better knowledge of institutional frameworks. The common mapping exercise identified the need for further planning evidence and data and the need to address method gaps.

The involved countries concluded that it is not necessary to synchronise national MSP and develop common plans, and that the differing national approaches will likely remain. Involving national stakeholders has helped increase their understanding of MSP and their potential role in it.

The case work resulted in sector specific recommendations regarding integrating specific sectors and their needs into MSP, promoting institutional integration and working to improve transboundary planning evidence. Important obstacles were also identified to develop transboundary MSP in the Central Baltic.

Concrete outputs include:

  • Topic papers for each considered sector
  • comprehensive conflict and synergy table
  • first cross sector map for the Central Baltic
  • Inventories of available and needed planning evidence for each sector by country



 The case study approach was developed as a result of the specific context; namely, the countries involved and their relationships, as well as the overall Baltic SCOPE goals and objectives. Therefore, the overall approach may not be transferable to outside contexts, but several methods and resulting outputs could be used in a different context.

Responsible Entity

Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia (case lead)

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

Ingūna Urtāne

Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia