High-quality data on maritime spatial planning () in the Baltic region will be a major issue in a starting today, along with a new expert group under plans to better tackle the current blocks in access and availability of such data. Another key topic is the implementation of the EU Directive on MSP , adopted last July. HELCOM has thematic and targeted on maritime spatial planning in the Baltic Sea region.The data in question concerns marine activities as well as biological, physical and socio-economic environments. At present, sufficient data for trans-boundary maritime spatial planning (MSP) is lacking. There are still challenges in availability, compatibility, usability and spread of data. The planned data expert group would identify and address the key impediments as well as ensure structured and continuous work. Last summer, HELCOM has created thematic and targeted on MSP in the Baltic Sea region, already improving access to GIS and other related data. The national work to implement the EU Directive on maritime spatial planning can be supported with existing Baltic experience in MSP. The participants of the meeting will discuss the role and contribution of their Working Group, operational since 2010, with regards to the implementation strategy of the EU Directive. The dynamic future of MSP will be represented in the meeting also in the form of a number of projects – Baltic LINes, Baltic Scope, BaltSpace and “BaltWise II”. Wind power, shipping, pipelines, fishing and protected areas are just some areas covered, assisting the Working Group to tap into the forthcoming fresh results and best practices thus better supporting countries in their work on eco-system based MSP. The meeting in Gothenburg, Sweden is the tenth regular session for the joint Working on MSP of HELCOM and Vision and Strategies around the Baltic Sea (VASAB). The meeting is hosted by the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM) and chaired by Mr. Andrzej Cieślak, Poland and Joacim Johansson, Sweden. . All documents will be public after the meeting. * * *Note for editors: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.” Operational since 2010, the HELCOM-VASAB MSP has regularized 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 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 contact:Laura Meski Assistant Professional Secretary HELCOM +358 40 162 2053 Skype: helcom82 E-mail: laura.meski(at)helcom.fi Johanna LaurilaInformation SecretaryHELCOMTel: +358 40 523 8988Skype: helcom70E-mail: johanna.laurila(at)helcom.fi
High-quality data and implementation of the EU Directive on maritime spatial planning will be key topics in a meeting starting today.