HELCOM HOD 39-2012 (2.20) agreed on the targets of the eutrophication core indicators.HELCOM HOD 41-2013 (2.45) agreed on the list of biodiversity- and hazardous substance core indicators.
HELCOM core indicators
HELCOM core indicators form the basis for HELCOM environmental assessments as defined in the Monitoring and Assessment Strategy. 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 is to achieve GES by 2021 and the status is to be assessed for a set of ecological objectives. These 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 GES is to be achieved by 2020. HELCOM core indicators are used to follow up on the progress made to reach the goals of both policies.
For assessment purposes, the Baltic Sea is sub-divided into assessment units in the Monitoring and Assessment Strategy Annex 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 join 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
Core indicators are commonly agreed indicators among the Contracting Parties of the Helsinki Convention. A core indicator measures the progress towards a BSAP objective and/or an MSFD criteria. 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.
Operational core indicators are to be regularly updated by Contracting Parties through agreed long-term data handling arrangements and the updated result is published on the HELCOM web-page. The aim is that the parameters required for the core indicators are monitored by all Contracting Parties when ecologically relevant, through HELCOM coordinated monitoring that will be described through the HELCOM Monitoring Manual.
Criteria: fully operational core indicator
Definition: Pre-core and candidate core indicators