The HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) adopted by HELCOM in 2007 contains a set of actions to achieve a Baltic Sea in Good Environmental Status by 2021.
For those HELCOM Contracting Parties being also EU Member States the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD, 2008/56/EC) establishes a framework within which the Member States shall take the necessary measures to achieve or maintain good environmental status of the marine environment by the year 2020 at the latest (Article 1). Member States are required to follow a common approach which involves in reiterative six-year cycles:
assessing the current state of the marine environment (Art. 8 MSFD)
- determining good environmental status (Art. 9 MSFD)
- establishing environmental targets to guide progress towards achieving good environmental status (Art. 10 MSFD)
- establishing monitoring programmes for ongoing assessment and regular updating of targets (Art. 11 MSFD)
- developing programmes of measures to achieve or maintain good environmental status (Art. 13 MSFD)
For the Russian Federation, the relevant policy document enhancing the delivery of good environmental status is the Maritime Doctrine of the Russian Federation. The principles of the national maritime policy include integrated marine scientific research, the development of systems for monitoring the marine environment and coastal areas, and the protection and conservation of the marine environment in the interests of the Russian Federation. Compliance with international obligations and possibilities for international cooperation are important elements for achieving the goals of the Doctrine.
The HELCOM Moscow Ministerial Declaration on the implementation of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan (2010) inter alia stresses that shared scientific understanding and quantification of the good environmental status are to be used in policy making at the international, regional and national levels. It contains the decision to establish, for those HELCOM Contracting Parties being also EU Member States, the role of HELCOM as the coordination platform for the regional implementation of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), including striving for harmonised national marine strategies for achieving good environmental status according to the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan and the EU MSFD.
The HELCOM Group for the Implementation of the Ecosystem Approach (HELCOM GEAR) has been established with a purpose to steer on a managerial level the process of successful implementation of the HELCOM BSAP to meet the ecological objectives and achieve good ecological/ environmental status of the Baltic Sea by 2021 at the latest. The purpose is also to facilitate the regional coordination for the implementation of the MSFD, for those Contracting Parties that are also EU Member States, with the aim to achieve respective coherent national marine strategies. It also needs to include coordination with activities under the Maritime Doctrine of the Russian Federation.
The Roadmap of HELCOM’s activities with a timeline outlines coherent implementation of the ecosystem approach in the Baltic Sea Region, taking into account the various obligations of the contracting Parties.