Baltic Sea Action Plan

Baltic Sea Action Plan
The HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan is an ambitious programme to restore the good ecological status of the Baltic marine environment by implementing necessary measures by 2021.

The new strategy is a crucial stepping stone for wider and more efficient actions to combat the continuing deterioration of the marine environment resulting from human activities.

With the adoption of the new environmental strategy, HELCOM will continue its long record of respected leadership in marine environmental protection, incorporating the latest scientific knowledge and innovative management approaches into strategic policy implementation, and stimulating even closer, goal-oriented multilateral co-operation around the Baltic Sea region.

As one of the first schemes to implement the ecosystem approach to the management of human activities, which was defined in the 1992 Rio Declaration and reiterated at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, the action plan will lead to profound, innovative changes in the ways we manage the environment in the Baltic Sea region.

4 main objectives of the BSAP

  1. Towards a Baltic Sea unaffected by eutrophication
  2. Towards a Baltic Sea undisturbed by hazardous substances
  3. Towards a Baltic Sea with environmentally friendly maritime activities
  4. Towards favourable conservations status of Baltic Sea biodiversity

Main challenges
The Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) addresses all the major environmental problems affecting the Baltic marine environment.

The environmental situation in the Baltic Sea has drastically changed over recent decades. Human activities both on the sea and throughout its catchment area are placing rapidly increasing pressure on marine ecosystems.

Of the many environmental challenges, the most serious and difficult to tackle with conventional approaches is the continuing eutrophication of the Baltic Sea.

Inputs of hazardous substances also affect the biodiversity of the Baltic Sea and the potential for its sustainable use. Clear indicators of this situation include problems with algal blooms, dead sea-beds, and depletion of fish stocks.

Such problems call for immediate wide-scale action to put an end to the further destruction of the Baltic Sea environment and to avoid an irreversible disaster. Failure to react now would undermine both the prospects for the future recovery of the sea and its capability to react to the projected stress by the climate change.

Furthermore, inaction will affect vital resources for the future economic prosperity of the whole region and would cost tenfold more than the cost of action.

Nest and the BSAP

Nest has played an instrumental role in identifying the needed nutrient reductions (Maximum allowable nutrient input) to achieve “Good environmental status" as defined by international decision makers in HELCOM.

Using the Nest Decision Support System, the Swedish branch of Baltic Nest developed the “Country-wise nutrient reduction targets", which was adopted in the Baltic Sea Action Plan, by HELCOM on November 15, 2007.

HELCOM Ministerial meeting October 2013

On October 3 2013 the Ministers of the Environment of all the nine Baltic coastal states and the EU Commissioner gathered in Copenhagen to discuss the status and future of the Baltic Sea during the HELCOM Ministerial meeting

Baltic Sea countries reconfirm their commitment to the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan. The Baltic Nest Institute continues to play an important role, providing the best available scientific knowledge.

The Ministerial Declaration contains, among other aspects, a reviewed nutrient input reduction scheme, replacing the provisional country-allocated reduction targets of 2007. BNI have greatly contributed to this review, and you can read more about the meeting and how BNI have contributed here

More information about BSAP

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Web editor: Marmar Nekoro

Updated: 2013-11-13
Baltic Nest Institute Sweden
Baltic Sea Centre, Stockholm University
SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden, +46-8-16 37 18
Baltic Nest Institute Denmark
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DK-4000 Roskilde, Denmark, +45 4630 1200
Baltic Nest Institute Finland
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