New project planners join the Finnish maritime spatial planning team

The key cross-cutting initiatives of the second round of maritime spatial planning (MSP), which is currently underway, are to support the objectives of the European Green Deal, and adaptation and mitigation for climate change. Security and emergency supply considerations also exert pressure on the development of marine sectors such as food and energy production. International cooperation is of paramount importance in supporting MSP and the coherence of plans. Laura Pietilä, MA, Vesa Arki, MSc, and Roosa Mikkola, Dipl.Biol., have begun working on international projects in the Finnish MSP team. 

According to the Coordinator of the Finnish MSP cooperation Mari Pohja-Mykrä maritime spatial planning is becoming increasingly vital for guiding the sustainable blue economy. Safeguarding a healthy marine environment and functioning ecosystem services creates the resources for sustainable growth. There has been an urgent need to bolster the human resources dedicated to maritime spatial planning.

Photo: Project planners Laura Pietilä (left), Roosa Mikkola and Vesa Arki.

National and international collaboration networks are being built, and the necessary content will be produced as part of three MSP projects. Laura Pietilä is the new project planner for the eMSP NBSR project, which will stimulate dialogue between MSP authorities and experts in the Baltic Sea and North Sea regions. The key themes include an ecosystem-based approach and a sustainable blue economy. 

“I am particularly interested in how people and the environment interact, stakeholder work, and international cooperation. I am excited to have the opportunity to join an extensive collaboration network with people in different fields and create new knowledge to promote the well-being of marine environments,” says Laura. 

The MSP-GREEN project, which combines all the sea basins in the EU, began in November 2022. The project offers an excellent opportunity to examine how partner countries are working towards the objectives of the European Green Deal in their maritime spatial plans. It is possible to promote the achievement of these objectives in the future by identifying best practices. 

“The thing that interests me about maritime spatial planning is identifying the links between various marine activities, the state of the marine environment, and the cause-and-effect relationships. I am also interested in laying down a pathway for a sustainable future,” says Vesa Arki, who has begun working on the project as a planner. “The perspectives of different actors and the means of using sea areas are at the heart of efforts to reconcile nature and human activity. We will reach this target through robust cooperation,” summarises Arki. 

The three-year Interreg Baltic Sea2Land project began at the start of 2023. Roosa Mikkola began working as a project planner. She will help coastal regional councils to implement the current Maritime Spatial Plan 2030 for Finland and the Coastal Strategy, which will be completed in early 2023.  

“For me, the fascinating thing about maritime spatial planning is the challenge of facilitating and coordinating differing interests while ensuring the sea is in a good state. I have spent a lot of time below the surface, and now I am looking forward to hanging up my diving fins and taking on a different role. I am keen to tackle the shared challenges we face along the coast, and I will help maritime spatial planners and stakeholders to identify solutions to them,” Mikkola says. 

Pohja-Mykrä welcomes the new reinforcements to the MSP team. 

“Sea areas are under increasing pressure in terms of their uses, and MSP requires resources to meet its objectives. I am happy to welcome Laura, Vesa and Roosa on board. Their expertise will strengthen Finland’s MSP team,” says Mari Pohja-Mykrä.