The eMSP NBSR Community of Practice gathered in Helsinki on 13-16th June, 2023 – Nature, Sustainable Blue Economy and Ecosystem-based Approach in Maritime Spatial Planning

The Community of Practice workshops of the international eMSP NBSR project have been in full swing during early summer. Experts in maritime spatial planning from the Baltic Sea and North Sea regions gathered for three days in June in Helsinki for a series of workshops on ecosystem-based approach and sustainable blue economy. The core themes of the week were marine nature conservation, nature-inclusive design and sustainable futures for marine industries.

The EU Biodiversity Strategy, including selection criteria and definitions for marine protected areas, were among the main contents of the workshop. During Finland’s ongoing second round of maritime spatial planning these will also become key aspects to consider. The importance of cross-border cooperation, marine protected area networks and maritime spatial planning’s role in supporting conservation were highlighted in presentations and group works. Fruitful discussions were had between participants from different sectors and sea basins reflecting the essence of the Community of Practice method.

The third day of the workshop, led by the Sustainable Blue Economy learning strand, zoomed in on marine multi-use areas and nature-inclusive business operations. A multi-use concept, MariPark, has been developed in the eMSP NBSR project in the North Sea. The concept builds on identifying cross-sectoral synergies, enhancing spatial use at sea and promoting the good environmental status of marine nature. The Coordination of the Finnish Maritime Spatial Planning is contributing to the concept from a Baltic Sea perspective and assessing suitable forms of multi-use for our marine areas and operating environment.

The international workshops were followed-up by a national workshop on Friday on ‘Nature-Inclusive Maritime Spatial Planning’ focusing on the Finnish perspective. The workshop continued with themes of sustainable blue economy. Topics of the day included marine ecosystem services, the role of fishing in nutrient removal from the sea and the importance of cross-sectoral cooperation. A report on the national workshop’s contents will follow later in the summer.

The workshops were organised as part of the eMSP NBSR project. Read more about the project and join the Community of Practice!


Twitter: eMSP NBSR Project (@eMSPproject) / Twitter


Community of Practice as a Platform for Cross-Border Cooperation in Maritime Spatial Planning 

Cross-border cooperation and effective sharing of information are essential for a well-functioning maritime spatial planning process. The sustainable integration of different sectors in a common maritime environment requires multidisciplinary cooperation and effective ways of bringing together marine stakeholders.

Community of Practice (CoP) is a method consisting of a series of workshops on a variety of topics where the participants learn from one another. A multidisciplinary community of experts meets to discuss and gather up-to-date information as well as an evolving situation picture. In the Netherlands, the method has gained ground in both business and research environments, and the conversational learning model has been integrated to the eMSP NBSR project led by Dutch partners.

At the open to all meetings researchers, representatives of organisations or businesses and other experts present their work in relation to the workshop’s theme. After the presentations, the discussion is opened up to the wider audience. The meetings can be attended in the role of facilitator, contributor or follower.