HELCOM HOD 39-2012 (outcome para 2.20) agreed on the threshold values (referred to as targets) of the core indicators 'Nitrogen (DIN)', 'Phosphorous (DIP)', 'Water clarity', 'Chlorophyll-a' and 'Oxygen debt'.
HELCOM Copenhagen Ministerial Meeting 2013 adopted the targets for maximum allowable input (MAI) of nitrogen and phosphorous used in the core indicator 'Inputs of nitrogen and phosphorous to the basins'. HELCOM HOD 41-2013 (outcome para 2.45) agreed on a list of biodiversity- and hazardous substance core indicators.
" At this point in time, HOLAS II indicators and threshold values should not automatically be considered by the Contracting Parties that are EU Member States, as equivalent to criteria threshold values in the sense of Commission Decision (EU) 2017/... laying down criteria and methodological standards on good environmental status, but can be used for the purposes of their MSFD obligations by those Contracting Parties being EU Member States that wish to do so."
core indicators are the basis for HELCOM Assessments
HELCOM core indicators form the basis for HELCOM environmental assessments as defined in the HELCOM Monitoring and Assessment Strategy which was adopted by the 2013 Copenhagen HELCOM Ministerial Meeting. The strategy outlines that the core indicators are to be regularly updated by the HELCOM Contracting Parties as core indicator reports to allow for periodical thematic- and holistic assessments.
The goal of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) is to achieve good environmental status by 2021 and the status is to be assessed for a set of ecological objectives. A core indicator measures the progress towards reaching a BSAP objective. The HELCOM strategic goals and objectives are to a large extent comparable to the descriptors and criteria of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), which stipulates that good environmental status is to be achieved by 2020. For those Contracting Parties of HELCOM that are also EU Member States, the core indicators can also be used to assess criteria under the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).
For assessment purposes, the Baltic Sea is sub-divided into assessment units in the Monitoring and Assessment Strategy Attachment 4 (also available through the Map and Data service). In thematic and holistic assessments, the status of individual indicators are aggregated to arrive at the status of an overarching theme, such as biodiversity. The second HELCOM holistic assessment, which is to be completed by 2018, will build on the core indicators.
In essence, the role of a core indicator is to regularly synthesise joint environmental monitoring data to evaluate the progress made towards reaching the overall goal of the Baltic Sea achieving a good environmental status (GES).
Core indicator definition
HELCOM core indicators are commonly agreed indicators among the Contracting Parties of the Helsinki Convention with commonly adopted quantitative threshold values or environmental targets.
State core indicators evaluate the status against a quantitative threshold value. Pressure core indicators measure the progress towards an environmental target. The threshold value or environmental target are adopted by all Contracting Parties of HELCOM, and are described in detail in the core indicator report. The core indicator report also describes the indicator assessment protocol and the general indicator concept. State core indicators are indirectly linked to anthropogenic pressures, and the link is described either qualitatively or quantitatively as appropriate.
A core indicator measures the progress towards reaching a Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) objective. For those Contracting Parties that are also EU Member States, the core indicators can also be used to assess criteria under the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).
A core indicator describes a scientifically sound phenomenon and is based on measurements, observations or validated models. Core indicators are Baltic wide, whenever ecologically relevant, and the area of applicability is expressed through HELCOM assessment units defined in the HELCOM Monitoring and Assessment strategy Attachment 4.
Criteria for fully operational core indicators
Development work on pre-core and candidate indicators
Definition: Pre-core and candidate indicators