International visibility for Finland’s maritime spatial plan

Finland’s maritime spatial plan 2030 was presented internationally at the invitation of IOC UNESCO. Particular interest was expressed in the regional approach, collaborative planning with stakeholders, and the special characteristics of the coast and archipelago. 

The planning decisions in Finland’s first maritime spatial plan were reached by the coastal regional councils in wide-ranging cooperation with stakeholders, taking into account the regional characteristics. One distinctive characteristic of Finland is its long, rugged coastline and its archipelago, which is large by international standards.

“Thanks to our regional planning process, we have built up strong planning expertise that takes into consideration the special characteristics of the coastal zone and archipelago. This experience proved its value during the maritime spatial planning process, where supporting the vitality of the archipelago and considering the land-sea interactions are vital aspects. In the next few years, it will be interesting to observe the dialogue between the maritime spatial plan and the various other planning levels, as well as natural resource plans,” says Heikki Saarento, the Chair of the MSP Coordination Group from the Regional Council of Southwest Finland.

In spring 2021, IOC UNESCO and MSPglobal arranged a series of presentations where representatives from Finland, China, Indonesia, Mozambique and the Netherlands had the opportunity to present their planning processes and their completed maritime spatial plans.

“The Finnish method of planning together with stakeholders gained some excellent visibility. Working together and sharing a common goal are ways of fostering commitment to the plan. This type of planning is not always the obvious choice in every country,” says Mari Pohja-Mykrä, coordinator of maritime spatial planning cooperation.

The maritime spatial plan, formulated with stakeholders, sets out a vision of the sustainable use of maritime areas and the support for a healthy marine environment. Finland’s maritime spatial plan pays equal regard to the wellbeing of the marine environment and maritime actors without taking a stand on prioritisation. The maritime sectors have different societal and community values, which the plan seeks to foster.

A video of the presentation is on MSPglobal’s YouTube channel.