Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

 

Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

HELCOM publishes maps on fish habitats

HELCOM just published several maps on essential fish habitats, publicly available online on HELCOM’s Map and Data service. The maps were produced under the recently concluded Pan Baltic Scope project on maritime spatial planning (MSP) in the Baltic Sea region and to which HELCOM was a partner.

The maps show potential spawning areas of cod, sprat and herring, which are the commercially most important fish species in the Baltic Sea region, as well as key areas for European and Baltic flounder, perch and pikeperch. 

“With the maps on essential fish habitats, we now have another tool at our disposal to identify and evaluate marine areas of greater ecological importance,” said SLU Aqua’s Lena Bergström who was responsible for this component within the Pan Baltic Scope project. 

Combined with corresponding data for other ecosystem components, the maps on essential fish habitats can be used to identify regions of high ecological value and areas which have the potential to deliver various essential ecosystem services.

The maps can be found under Biodiversity section of the HELCOM Map and Data service: 

The maps can also be downloaded as raster files from the HELCOM Metadata catalogue.

The Pan Baltic Scope project was co-founded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund of the European Union. In the project, HELCOM notably collaborated on a data sharing activity to support regional cooperation and transboundary coherence in MSP which lead to the development of BASEMAPS, a web-based tool showing decentralized MSP data through open standard services.

The ecosystem approach conquers global maritime spatial planning event in Riga

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Panel discussion at the MSP Forum 2019 in Riga. © HELCOM

Not just one or two but three events on maritime spatial planning (MSP) were combined in the “Global meets regional” Maritime Spatial Planning Forum in Riga between 19 and 21 November, showing the importance that MSP is gaining in the Baltic Sea region.

The event that attracted 300 participants from over 40 countries was a grouping of the 4th International MSP Forum, the 3rd Baltic MSP Forum, and the final conference of the Pan Baltic Scope project. It focussed heavily on the ecosystem approach as well as transboundary planning between countries and frameworks.

“For HELCOM, maritime spatial planning is one of the tools at our disposal for achieving good environmental status of the Baltic Sea,” noted Rüdiger Strempel, the Executive Secretary of HELCOM, in his recap remarks.

“By promoting the ecosystem approach, [we] add the human dimension to the ecosystem, both in terms of the benefits we derive from the sea, and regarding the pressures our activities exert on the marine environment,” he said.

According to Strempel, the forum also impressively demonstrated “the broad range of disciplines and topics of relevance to and affected by MSP.” Indeed, legal issues, environmental impacts, economic and social dimensions, green infrastructure, and ecosystem services all prominently featured on the forum’s agenda, confirming the complexities and the multidisciplinary nature of MSP.

The forum furthermore served as the final conference of the EU-funded Pan Baltic Scope project on advancing MSP in the Baltic Sea region and where HELCOM led the work on economic and social analyses, and cumulative impacts.

In the project, HELCOM also collaborated on a data sharing activity to support regional cooperation and transboundary coherence in MSP. At the forum, HELCOM presented BASEMAPS, a web-based tool showing decentralized MSP data through open standard services.

“With BASEMAPS, planners can finally access a catalogue of transnational MSP data published by official data providers,” said Joni Kaitaranta, HELCOM’s data manager. The tool seeks to facilitate the development of coherent plans across the Baltic Sea region.

BASEMAPS is the result of both the Baltic LINes and Pan Baltic Scope projects, with the first focussing on input data – the data needed to produce the plans –, and the second on output data, showing national MSP plans in a harmonized way following HELCOM-VASAB guidelines on transboundary MSP output data structure in the Baltic Sea to support cross-border coherence of plans.

The forum was organized in conjunction with UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC UNESCO), VASAB, Pan Baltic Scope and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE).

And who said three: in a MSP-dominated week, the forum took place back to back with an EU MSP expert meeting on Monday, 18 November and the Capacity4MSP project partner meeting on Friday, 22 November – bumping up the count to an actual five MSP events in Riga. 

Watch Rüdiger Strempel’s recap video

Ecosystem-based management and maritime spatial planning are furthered at HELCOM-VASAB meeting in St Petersburg

As maritime spatial planning is sharpening up in Baltic Sea region, planners and policy makers advanced on environmentally-friendly management of human sea-based activities during the last HELCOM-VASAB meeting held in St Petersburg, Russia from 28 to 29 October 2019.

“The HELCOM-VASAB Working Group is a unique platform for developing ecosystem-based management, pooling the efforts of both planners and environmentalists for better maritime spatial planning (MSP) in the Baltic Sea region,” said Dmitry Frank-Kamenetsky who oversees MSP at HELCOM.

In MSP, ecosystem-based management, or the ecosystem approach, aims at linking the conservation of marine resources with an integrated management of different human maritime activities. This approach helps to reduce the cumulative impacts on the environment caused by multiple human activities.

In St Petersburg, ecosystem-based management was a central topic as reflected by the meeting outcome, along the exchange on the state of national maritime spatial plans.

All Baltic Sea countries are currently developing maritime spatial plans or looking into the matter, with the majority already having adopted their plans and some even embarking on their revision.

As laid out in its roadmap for MSP, HELCOM-VASAB promotes the coordination between national MSP efforts to avoid incompatibilities of plans between countries within the Baltic Sea region.

MSP is also expected to feature more prominently in the update of the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP), HELCOM’s strategic programme of actions to reach a good environmental status of the Baltic Sea and that is due to be updated by 2021. When the initial BSAP was adopted in 2007, there weren’t many concrete MSP activities in the region yet. At HELCOM-VASAB, it was therefore agreed that MSP finds its rightful place in the updated BSAP.

“In the Baltic Sea area, most MSP activities came to life because of the commitments made under the BSAP. Now that the region has advanced on MSP, we can see its full potential for helping us to reach our environmental goals for our sea,” said Frank-Kamenetsky.

Presented by Pan Baltic Scope during the meeting, the concept of green infrastructure (GI) showed possible ways on how to integrate MSP in the update of the BSAP. By mapping habitats and biotopes that provide essential ecosystem services, green infrastructure is an attempt to effectively link biodiversity to spatial planning.

Green infrastructure is a network of natural or semi-natural ecosystems that offer valuable services. They provide natural resources – think clean air, water and food –, regulate the environment and climate, as well as add a cultural and social value, for instance through recreational opportunities. 

Further development of the green infrastructure concept was included in the HELCOM-VASAB Work Plan for 2020-2021 to be submitted to the HELCOM countries for final approval.

The 19th meeting of joint HELCOM-VASAB Working Group on Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) took place during the XVIII Annual Strategic Planning Leaders Forum that, every autumn, attracts over 1000 participants from Russia and beyond.

The HELCOM-VASAB Working Group was established in 2010 to ensure cooperation among the Baltic Sea Region countries for coherent regional maritime spatial planning processes in the Baltic Sea.

Read the meeting outcome

Maritime spatial planning in the Baltic Sea region just became easier with the web-based tool BASEMAPS

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Why BASEMAPS?

To make their plans, maritime spatial planning (MSP) practitioners need transboundary data that is up-to-date and reliable. Working with a centralized database is often the only option to get a large amount of harmonized data. However, these centralized databases are not always up-to-date.

In 2012, to address data reliability and accuracy, the BaltSeaPlan project recommended building a tool for decentralized MSP data from the Baltic Sea region, based on marine spatial data infrastructure (MSDI). In 2016, based on this recommendation, the BalticLINes project started the development of such a decentralized but more up-to-date system. The final product, BASEMAPS, was released in 2019.

What is BASEMAPS?

BASEMAPS is a web-based tool to access Baltic MSP decentralized data through open standards services. MSP practitioners can access for the first time a catalogue of transnational MSP data published by official data providers.

BASEMAPS makes use of the open geospatial services standardized by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC). These tools are web map services (WMS) to view map images and web feature services (WFS) to deliver data. Likewise, the tool works also with other kind of services such as ArcGIS Rest and Download services.

What can users do with BASEMAPS?

MSP authorities and practitioners can view and download datasets, view their metadata, click on geographical features to get information, and zoom in to get more details of the area. Additionally, data providers can manage their own data in an administration panel. This password-protected panel provides an user-friendly interface for registered users to add, edit and delete data services.

Besides showing data from different national sources, BASEMAPS is being developed further in the Pan Baltic Scope project to view national MSP plans in a harmonized way. This feature will be available in BASEMAPS at the end of 2019. For more information click here.

Who developed BASEMAPS?

BASEMAPS was developed during the Interreg funded project Baltic LINes. This project aimed at propose planning solutions for linear infrastructures (cables), renewable energy and shipping lanes. There were 15 partners led by BSH.

HELCOM led a work package to develop a tool to access decentralized data based on a MSDI that later got the name BASEMAPS. The work was supported by Aalborg University.

Visit BASEMAPS at https://basemaps.helcom.fi/

HELCOM and VASAB validate efforts on maritime spatial planning in the Baltic Sea region, advance new concepts during key meeting in Helsinki

Earlier in May, the joint HELCOM and Maritime Spatial Working Group met in Helsinki at the Ministry of the Environment of Finland to advance the agenda on (MSP) in the Baltic Sea region.The major themes addressed were strengthening the ecosystem-based approach in MSP, evaluating the progress of the regional MSP roadmap by 2020, and coordinating regional policy in MSP in a wider context of maritime policies. Maritime spatial planning (MSP) seeks to optimize the use of the sea, addressing both the ecosystem and maritime activities such as shipping and fishing, and taking into account the needs of all Baltic Sea stakeholders. During the meeting, the group acknowledged that “MSP is a powerful tool assuring sustainable exploitation of marine resources.” It also agreed to contribute to the update of the (BSAP), as stated in the .Participants recognized the significant progress in MSP achieved in the region. All countries signatories to the currently have maritime spatial plans in place, with some already revising their first generation schemes. Unlike terrestrial plans that have been around for quite a while, maritime plans are still a novelty worldwide.In the Baltic Sea region, national maritime spatial plans are elaborated in an open and transparent way. They are subject to regular international consultations based on guidelines developed by HELCOM-VASAB MSP group and the . To strengthen this process even further and assure compatibility of spatial plans at the regional level, the group agreed during the meeting to elaborate guidelines for international consultations on MSP data output.Another key item on the meeting’s agenda was the ecosystem approach in maritime spatial planning, integrating all aspects of the marine ecosystem into MSP. The group is currently advancing the concept of green infrastructure and blue corridors which integrates valuable components of the marine ecosystem into the planning such as fish spawning areas, migration routes, benthic biotopes and coastal zones. The aim is to foster sustainable use of marine resources and to protect the marine ecosystem, as well as to strengthen the connectivity between and coherence of (MPAs). This work will be done in close cooperation with representatives of fisheries and environmental authorities. The cooperation will follow a timetable and work plan to be elaborated by the HELCOM VASAB MSP group, to better coordinate regional activities and to elaborate a regional tool for practical use of the green infrastructure concept in MSP. Furthermore, the group agreed to update the HELCOM recommendation on coastal zones management, in particular to strengthening its linkage with maritime spatial planning.The 16th Meeting of the joint HELCOM-VASAB Maritime Spatial Planning Working Group (HELCOM-VASAB MSP WG 16-2018) was held in Helsinki, Finland, from 8 to 9 May 2018 in the Ministry of the Environment of Finland. The meeting was organized back-to-back with the first international consultations on maritime spatial plans which are being developed in Finland. ​

Earlier in May, the joint HELCOM and VASAB Maritime Spatial Working Group met in Helsinki at the Ministry of the Environment of Finland to advance the agenda on maritime spatial planning (MSP) in the Baltic Sea region.

Marine ecosystems and regional policy met maritime spatial planning in HELCOM-VASAB meeting

​The coordination of regional policy and application of the ecosystem-based approach in maritime spatial planning were in focus of the 15th Meeting of the joint (HELCOM-VASAB MSP WG 15-2017), held in Warsaw, Poland, on 7-8 November 2017. Meeting participants discussed the first version of the HELCOM report, focusing on the approaches and results that could support MSP and be of use for maritime spatial planners. The report contains an assessment of a broad range of aspects, covering the state of the ecosystem, pressures and impacts from human activities, as well as social and economic dimensions, in the entire Baltic Sea.One of the HELCOM-VASAB MSP group’s tasks is to consider the concepts of green infrastructure and blue corridors, which serve to safeguard that the marine ecosystem remains functional outside marine protected areas as well as to connect marine protected areas to each other. The EU-funded international project PanBaltic SCOPE will focus on this issue during 2018–2019.Furthermore, the upcoming workshop (in February 2018) on identifying Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) in the Baltic Sea will provide information that can be directly used in developing the green infrastructure concept for MSP purposes. HELCOM made a to identify these areas at the United Nations Conference “Our oceans, our future: partnering for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14” in June 2017. The HELCOM-VASAB Meeting also planned future work on themes such as safety of navigation in MSP, and discussed application of the outcomes of various regional projects in spatial planning, in particular those flagship projects of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region that relate to MSP. * * *Note for editorsThe Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as HELCOM, is an intergovernmental organization of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union working to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region. Since 1974, HELCOM has been the governing body of the ‘Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area’, more commonly known as the Helsinki Convention.According to the United Nations, Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) is “a public process of analyzing and allocating the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic, and social objectives that usually have been specified through a political process.”The functions to ensure regional coherence of activities related to maritime spatial planning. The group, founded in 2010, is also in charge of Horizontal Action Spatial Planning within the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.  * * *For more information, please contact:Dmitry Frank-Kamenetsky Professional Secretary HELCOM Tel: +358 40 630 9933 Skype: helcom68 E-mail: dmitry.frank-kamenetsky(at)helcom.fi 

The coordination of regional policy and application of the ecosystem-based approach in maritime spatial planning were in focus of the 15th Meeting of the joint HELCOM-VASAB Maritime Spatial Planning Working Group in Warsaw this week.

Baltic Sea data is a treasure to be shared

Baltic LINes project kicks off, improves cross-border maritime spatial planning​​​Increasing the access, compatibility and dissemination of high-quality data on linear infrastructure, particularly on shipping and offshore energy, are key areas falling under HELCOM’s responsibility in a new project, Baltic LINes. The project officially started this week in Berlin, Germany, with Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) of Germany as the lead partner.The kick-off meeting on Baltic LINes was held in Berlin, Germany. ​Through Baltic LINes, HELCOM will work together with Aalborg University, and with input from the Finnish Environment Institute and Netherlands University of Applied Sciences, to create an infrastructure for regional data exchange. The project will establish a community to foster links between national and regional GIS data sources. The activities will be carried out in phases until final completion in early 2019.  The overall aim of the project is to develop the most appropriate framework conditions for industrial and other activities at or by the sea—for example, maritime transportation, offshore energy exploitation and linear infrastructures—for the next 10 to 15 years.  * * *Note for editors:Since 2010, HELCOM and Vision and Strategies around the Baltic Sea () have jointly led a Maritime Spatial Planning Working which works to ensure regional coherence of activities related to maritime spatial planning. The group is also in charge of Horizontal Action Spatial Planning within the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. The Baltic LINes project—officially named Coherent Linear Infrastructures in Baltic Maritime Spatial Plans—will support the work of the expert data established under the HELCOM-VASAB MSP group. Baltic LINes involves the following project partners:Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH), Germany – lead partnerBaltic Marine Environment Protection Commission – HELCOMState Regional Development Agency (VASAB Secretariat), LatviaMinistry of Energy, Infrastructure and State Development, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, GermanySwedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, SwedenMaritime Office in Gdynia, PolandMaritime Institute in Gdansk, PolandPolish Offshore Wind Energy Society, PolandCoastal Research and Planning Institute, LithuaniaMinistry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, LatviaUniversity of Tartu, EstoniaUniversity of Aalborg, DenmarkFinnish Environment Institute, FinlandFinnish Transport Agency, FinlandNHTV University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands * * * is an intergovernmental organization made up of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union. Founded in 1974, its primary aims as a governing body are to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution, as well as to ensure safe maritime navigation. The official name of HELCOM is the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission; it is the governing body of the Helsinki Convention.* * * For more information, please contact:Hermanni BackerProfessional Secretary for Maritime, Response and Fish groupsHELCOMTel:  +358 46 8509199Skype: helcom02E-mail: hermanni.backer(at)helcom.fi Johanna LaurilaInformation SecretaryHELCOMTel: +358 40 523 8988Skype: helcom70E-mail: johanna.laurila(at)helcom.fi

Baltic LINes project kicks off with the aim of improving cross-border maritime spatial planning, with specific concern on linear infrastructure such as shipping and offshore energy.

More maritime spatial plans for the Baltic

​​​Consultations across country borders in maritime spatial will become easier as the Baltic-wide guidelines has been agreed on this week for final adoption. The Guidelines for transboundary consultation, public participation and cooperation is one recent achievement of the joint HELCOM-VASAB Maritime Spatial Planning​ , unique in all of Europe as it is the only inter-governmental entity covering the whole sea basin in spatial planning.  The Working Group meets this week in Gdansk, Poland. Strategic spatial planning across international borders requires skillful cooperation. Photo: Samuli Korpinen.The maritime spatial planning (MSP) workshop of held yesterday exchanged ideas, discussed the work done so far and also, importantly, envisioned for future scenarios. HELCOM, in its Annual Meeting next month and beyond, will start the discussion about a new agenda for maritime spatial planning. More interaction and closer cooperation is to be discussed between HELCOM and VASAB also in the higher levels of regional decision-making. In general, the MSP group works to implement the HELCOM-VASAB Regional Baltic maritime spatial planning , as well as the EU Regional Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region through its role as the steering body for the Horizontal Action Spatial Planning Strategy.  Projects and data related to MSP in the Baltic Sea region has also been discussed by the Meeting, as well as the plans for promoting MSP in the Exhibition of the European Maritime in May 2016 in Turku, Finland. The joint HELCOM and VASAB set up of the joint Working Group has combined the legal framework, institutional capacities and knowledge of marine ecosystems and environmental and sectorial policies by HELCOM with the tradition and experience of strategic spatial planning at land and large cooperation projects by VASAB.  The 12th Meeting of the HELCOM-VASAB Maritime Spatial Planning Working Group was held on 24-25 February 2016 and co-chaired by Ms. Anita Mäkinen, Finland, and Mr. Andrzej Cieślak, Poland.  . All documents will be public after the meeting.  * * *Note for editorsOperational since 2010, the HELCOM-VASAB Maritime Spatial Planning has established its place to ensure the regional coherence of any activities related to maritime spatial planning. The group is in charge of the Horizontal Action Spatial Planning within the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. HELCOM Ministerial Meeting adopted in 2013 the Regional Baltic maritime spatial planning roadmap 2013–2020. The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as , is an intergovernmental organization of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union working to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region. Since 1974, HELCOM has been the governing body of the ‘Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area’, more commonly known as the Helsinki Convention. For further information, please contactDmitry Frank-KamenetskyProfessional SecretaryHELCOMTel: +358 40 630 9933Skype: helcom68E-mail: dmitry.frank-kamenetsky(at)helcom.fi Johanna LaurilaInformation SecretaryHELCOMTel: +358 40 523 8988Skype: helcom70E-mail: johanna.laurila(at)helcom.fi

The Baltic region’s unique Working Group on maritime spatial planning has this week finalized the Guidelines for transboundary consultation, public participation and cooperation.

New Guideline adopted on ecosystem-based approach in maritime spatial planning in the Baltic Sea

​​​​The careful preparations were rewarded yesterday and an important goal reached upon finalization of the for the implementation of ecosystem-based approach in maritime spatial planning (MSP) in the Baltic Sea area. The HELCOM-VASAB MSP Working Group agreed on the procedurally oriented guideline which will help applying the ecosystem-based approach in MSP in practice, being also in accordance with spatial planning legislation in force in the Baltic Sea countries. This guideline fulfil, on schedule, the commitment made in the Regional Baltic Maritime Spatial Planning (2013-2020), adopted at the HELCOM 2013 Ministerial Meeting and the VASAB 2014 Ministerial Conference. The ecosystem approach has been agreed as an for MSP. The Guideline takes into account the relevant legal and policy context for the ecosystem-based approach, such as Helsinki Convention, HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan and the Joint HELCOM-VASAB MSP Principles, applicable to all Baltic coastal states and the EU, as well key EU requirements applicable to its members. Furthermore, it lists the key elements to consider when applying the approach, such as deploying best available knowledge and practice; precaution; developing alternatives; identification of ecosystem services; and so forth. The definition of the ecosystem-based approach used in the Guideline is as follows, as adopted jointly by HELCOM-OSPAR in 2003: “the comprehensive integrated management of human activities based on the best available scientific knowledge about the ecosystem and its dynamics, in order to identify and take action on influences which are critical to the health of marine ecosystems, thereby achieving sustainable use of ecosystem goods and services and maintenance of ecosystem integrity.” * * * Note for editorsThe Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as , is an intergovernmental organization of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union working to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region. Since 1974, HELCOM has been the governing body of the ‘Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area’, more commonly known as the Helsinki Convention. Operational since 2010, the HELCOM-VASAB MSP Working has cemented its place to ensure the regional coherence of any activities related to maritime spatial planning. The group is in charge of the Horizontal Action Spatial Planning within the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. HELCOM Ministerial Meeting adopted in 2013 the Regional Baltic maritime spatial planning roadmap 2013–2020. * * * For more information, please contact:Dmitry Frank-KamenetskyProfessional SecretaryHELCOMTel: +358 40 630 9933Skype: helcom68E-mail: dmitry.frank-kamenetsky(at)helcom.fi Johanna LaurilaInformation SecretaryHELCOMTel: +358 40 523 8988Skype: helcom70E-mail: johanna.laurila(at)helcom.fi​​​​

The careful preparations were rewarded yesterday and an important goal reached upon finalization of the Guideline for the implementation of ecosystem-based approach in maritime spatial planning (MSP) in the Baltic Sea area.

Cross-border planning of the Baltic Sea moves ahead

​​​​​A new set of regional guidelines for carrying out cross-border consultations over maritime spatial plans between the Baltic littoral states is a top issue in the of HELCOM and VASAB continuing today in Riga, Latvia. The guidelines on transboundary consultations and cooperation and public participation has been prepared under the leadership of Poland with the aim to ensure early and efficient information exchange and engagement. The meeting will decide if the guidelines are ready for use. New guidelines would support early and efficient information exchange and engagement. Photo: Maritime Office in Gdynia.The transboundary guidelines will assist the countries in real-life cross-border spatial planning and were agreed on by the 2013 HELCOM , as part of the regional . According to the roadmap, another deliverable concerns the exchange of relevant and available MSP related information. The countries are obliged, among others, to promote the creation and sharing of MSP relevant Baltic Sea regional datasets. The Meeting of the HELCOM-VASAB Maritime Spatial Planning Working is co-chaired by Ms. Anita Mäkinen, Finland, and Mr. Andrzej Cieślak, Poland. It will be followed by the first meeting of the MSP data on 1 -2 October 2015.  * * *Note for editorsOperational since 2010, the HELCOM-VASAB Maritime spatial planning Working Group has established its place to ensure the regional coherence of any activities related to maritime spatial . The group is in charge of the Horizontal Action Spatial Planning within the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. HELCOM Ministerial Meeting adopted in 2013 the Regional Baltic maritime spatial planning roadmap 2013–2020. The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as , is an intergovernmental organization of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union working to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region. Since 1974, HELCOM has been the governing body of the ‘Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area’, more commonly known as the Helsinki Convention. * * * For more information, please contact:Dmitry Frank-KamenetskyProfessional SecretaryHELCOMTel: +358 40 630 9933Skype: helcom68E-mail: dmitry.frank-kamenetsky(at)helcom.fi Johanna LaurilaInformation SecretaryHELCOMTel: +358 40 523 8988Skype: helcom70E-mail: johanna.laurila(at)helcom.fi​

A new set of regional guidelines for carrying out cross-border consultations over maritime spatial plans in the Baltic Sea are under discussions in Riga, Latvia.