BALTSPACE – Towards sustainable governance of Baltic Marine Space
Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) – the process of planning when and where human activities take place at sea – has gained increasing prominence during recent years. In times of increasing pressures upon the seas and resulting tensions between different interests, policy makers raise high expectations upon MSP. It is seen as a central policy for delivering economic development in maritime sectors while at the same time achieving environmental policy targets.
The Baltic Sea Region has been dealing with MSP for more than 10 years now and is often perceived as a model region. Nevertheless, it should be remembered that MSP is still in its infancy, which means that its methods and tools need to be developed and improved. This is exactly what BALTSPACE wants to achieve: the project aims to clarify and improve the capacity of MSP as a policy integrator by providing science-based approaches and tools.
Integration is a key challenge
Realising integration across a variety of scales and issues is a key challenge that MSP is facing. Achieving the ambitions of MSP in the Baltic Sea Region and beyond depends on how well different forms of integration can be obtained in planning. Challenges relate to the integration of sectors (e.g. maritime transport, fisheries, or tourism) in public policy, the integration of MSP across national borders and with terrestrial planning, or the integration of stakeholder knowledge, values, interests and critique in MSP processes.
Three case study areas
BALTSPACE will start off by developing a framework for analysing integration in MSP in the Baltic Sea Region. The BALTSPACE partners will then apply this analytical framework to identify different kinds of concrete integration shortcomings and inefficiencies in one pan-Baltic and two transboundary case studies. This, in turn, will go hand in hand with evaluating existing MSP processes and developing new policy approaches and tools that can support integration goals in planning. The effectiveness and applicability of these selected tools in different MSP situations will then be tested and verified in the case study areas. As a result, BALTSPACE partners will have produced a handbook for practitioners on when and how to use the developed tools in future MSP processes.
The BALTSPACE partners will make sure that input, advice and critique from those involved in Maritime Spatial Planning is reflected and taken into account in all parts and phases of the project. This is even more important as BALTSPACE takes place at a time when all member states in the Baltic Sea Region need to implement the new EU MSP Directive and are struggling to develop their maritime spatial plans. We will seek continuous exchange with a broad range of planners, scientists and sectorial stakeholders. For this purpose, a series of dialogue meetings will be organised to discuss and review the BALTSPACE approach, results and conclusions. Similarly, we will also discuss the BALTSPACE approach and results with leading scientists based in various academic disciplines to make sure that knowledge from other relevant research in the Baltic Sea Region and beyond is integrated in BALTSPACE.