Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

 

Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

Environmental dialogue at international Baltic forum in Russia

The two-day XIX Baltic Sea Day forum in St. Petersburg, Russia gathered hundreds of participantsTalks followed up on themes of 2018 HELCOM Ministerial MeetingGathering around 500 participants from administration, science, business, NGOs, and the mass media, the 19th International Environmental Forum “Baltic Sea Day”, supported by HELCOM, was arranged 22–23 March in St. Petersburg, Russia. The long-running yearly event represents a valuable opportunity for exchange of research and ideas between many sectors and on all levels, from regional to national and local. The Forum was attended by representatives from all Baltic Sea states, several other European countries, and Belarus, as well as almost all Federal States of Russia situated in the Baltic Sea catchment area, including Kaliningrad region, Karelia, Novgorod region, Leningrad oblast and St. Petersburg.At the opening of the Forum, a solemn moment was devoted to Mr Leonid Korovin, a driving force of the Baltic Sea Day tradition, who passed away last summer. Reviewing themes of HELCOM Ministerial Meeting The cornerstone of the Forum discussions was the outcome of the recent , held in Brussels, Belgium on 6 March. The newly-adopted Ministerial Declaration represents a strong commitment to renewed efforts for the Baltic Sea. The introductory plenary session at the Baltic Sea Day Forum highlighted on two of the main themes of the Declaration: stronger follow-through on the existing (BSAP) and updating the BSAP beyond its current deadline of 2021.High-level panel participants, from left: Natalia Tretiakova (Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation), Nuritdin Inamov (Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation), Monika Stankiewicz (HELCOM Executive Secretary), Hannele Pokka (Ministry of Environment, Finland), Matjaz Malgaj (European Union, HELCOM Vice-Chair). Photo: Sara Estlander / HELCOM.A highlight of the Forum was a high-level panel discussion, featuring Mr Matjaz Malgaj (European Commission, HELCOM Vice-Chair), Dr Hannele Pokka (Ministry of Environment, Finland), Ms Natalia Tretiakova (Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation), and Ms Monika Stankiewicz (HELCOM Executive Secretary). The panel was moderated by Mr Nuritdin Inamov of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation.The panel focused on BSAP implementation, discussing questions such as what the major obstacles are for implementing the BSAP and how to overcome them, what contribution the trilateral Gulf of Finland cooperation has had to BSAP implementation, and how BSAP implementation could be enforced. Other themes included the nutrient recycling strategy to be developed within HELCOM, and the relation between HELCOM and EU policies in other regions.From MSP to municipalities and manureAside from plenaries and panels, participants took part in roundtable discussions on subjects such as nutrient recycling in agriculture, sustainable water management, and maritime spatial planning as a marine conservation tool. Other roundtable themes included the role of municipalities in implementing the Baltic Sea Action Plan, and environmental education and awareness. The project held its national (Russian) kick-off meeting within the framework of the Forum. During the second Forum day, the project held a workshop on impacts from ship emissions and on the possibilities of collaboration in the Baltic Sea Region.Throughout the presentations and discussions, there was a strong focus on the great value of sharing experiences between regions and sectors.This year, Ms Natalia Kutaeva, Vice Chair of HELCOM Maritime Group and Councellor to the Director, Marine Rescue Service of Rosmorrechflot, and Ms Monika Stankiewicz, HELCOM Executive Secretary, were presented with the Order of Vernadsky award “For personal contributions to the development of cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region” of the V.I. Vernadsky Ecological Fund. The Order of Verdnasky award was also presented to Ms Olga Rublevskaya SUE “Vodokanal of St. Petersburg”, Mr Ivan Serebritsky, Committee for Nature Use, Environmental Protection and Ecological Safety of St. Petersburg, and Ms Liudmila Vesikko, Finnish Environment Institute. The Forum was organized by the Government of St. Petersburg and State Company Mineral, and supported by HELCOM, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of the Russian Federation, and the Environmental Committee of St. Petersburg.The XIX Baltic Sea Day was arranged in the new EXPOFORUM venue. In parallel with the Forum, the exhibition “Ecology in the Big City” was presented in an adjacent hall. For more information, see the with full programme and speakers. Twitter hashtag: * * * Note for editorsThe Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as , is an intergovernmental organization of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union working to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region. Since 1974, HELCOM has been the governing body of the ‘Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area’, more commonly known as the Helsinki Convention. * * * For more information, please contact:Dmitry Frank-Kamenetsky Professional Secretary HELCOM Tel: +358 40 630 9933 Skype: helcom68 E-mail: dmitry.frank-kamenetsky(at)helcom.fi  

The two-day XIX Baltic Sea Day forum in St. Petersburg, Russia gathered hundreds of participants. Talks followed up on themes of 2018 HELCOM Ministerial Meeting.

HELCOM agreement reached on next steps for a healthy Baltic Sea

​With three years remaining to reach the original deadline for a healthy Baltic Sea in 2021, the Ministers of the Environment and High-Level Representatives of the nine Baltic coastal countries and the European Union, meeting today in Brussels, Belgium, have agreed on new commitments for the Baltic marine environment. The ocean-related UN Sustainable Development Goals form a framework for the commitments.After intensive discussions, the Baltic Sea community today decided on renewed efforts for a healthy marine environment. Convening at the HELCOM Ministerial Meeting in Brussels, the responsible Ministers, the EU Commissioner, and other high-level representatives reached an agreement that includes an update of the Baltic Sea Action Plan, intensified efforts to reach the goals of the existing Plan, and a regional strategy for nutrient recycling.High-level representatives at the 2018 HELCOM Ministerial Meeting, from left: Jānis Eglīts (Vice Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, Latvia), Camilla Gunell (Deputy Head of Government and Environmental Minister, Government of Åland), Karmenu Vella (Commissioner for the Environment, European Commission), Kęstutis Navickas (Minister of Environment, Lithuania), Barbara Hendricks (Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Germany), Siim Kiisler (Minister of the Environment, Estonia), Kimmo Tiilikainen (Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing, Finland), Nuritdin Inamov (Director of the Department for International Cooperation and Board member of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, Russia), Anna Moskwa (Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation, Poland), Esben Lunde Larsen (Minister for Environment and Food, Denmark), Marianne Wenning (Chair, HELCOM), Monika Stankiewicz (Executive Secreatary, HELCOM), Karolina Skog (Minister for the Environment, Sweden).Updated roadmap to a restored marine environmentThe Ministerial Meeting today agreed to update the (BSAP) – the concrete roadmap for restoring the ecological balance of the Baltic Sea – by 2021. The updated BSAP will include new measures that are needed to achieve the existing goals: a Baltic Sea unaffected by eutrophication, a Baltic Sea with life undisturbed by hazardous substances, maritime activities carried out in an environmentally friendly way, and favourable conservation status of the Baltic Sea biodiversity. Recognizing that some actions agreed upon in the original BSAP are yet to be completed, the Meeting also decided on renewed efforts to fulfil the existing BSAP by 2021. Particular focus will be put on addressing those pressures that the report identified as most widely-distributed and harmful, including excess nutrients, contamination, underwater noise, invasive alien species, excessive extraction of fish, and physical disturbance of the seabed. Among other things, the Meeting decided to elaborate regional and national actions to limit the impacts of underwater noise on sensitive marine species.In a significant move towards curbing eutrophication, the Meeting participants committed to developing a Baltic-wide nutrient recycling strategy by 2020, aiming for reduced nutrient inputs to the Baltic Sea and for more efficient use of nutrients. The regional policy will support countries in creating a sustainable and environmentally safe scheme for recycling nutrients in agriculture and from sewage sludge.”HELCOM is a true example of successful regional ocean governance,” states Mr Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment. “The Baltic Sea Region is leading the way with marine protected areas now covering more than 12% of the Sea. It has been designated as Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) Emissions Control Area. But we need to step up efforts to address other challenges such as eutrophication, marine litter and underwater noise. The Declaration adopted under EU Presidency by the HELCOM Ministers confirms the commitment by its members to work together to achieve a healthy Baltic Sea.”  HELCOM to coordinate the workA common thread to the decisions made at the Meeting were the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations Agenda 2030. The countries around the Baltic Sea have previously agreed to use HELCOM as the regional arena for coordinating work on those SDGs that relate to marine and water issues. The Meeting agreed that the SDGs will be used as a framework when updating the BSAP. The Meeting participants also higlighted the cooperation within HELCOM as a good example that has much to give to other regional seas in the world.The outcome of the Meeting – the Ministerial Declaration – forms the concrete framework for the following years’ work for a healthier Baltic Sea. The work will take place within the long tradition of regional HELCOM cooperation, based on best available expertise, and involving all countries and the EU and various sector ministries within countries.The Ministerial Meeting was chaired by HELCOM Chair Ms Marianne Wenning. Representing HELCOM members were Mr Karmenu Vella (Commissioner for the Environment, European Commission), Mr Esben Lunde Larsen (Minister for Environment and Food, Denmark), Mr Siim Kiisler (Minister of the Environment, Estonia), Mr Kimmo Tiilikainen (Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing, Finland), Dr Barbara Hendricks (Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Germany), Mr Kęstutis Navickas (Minister of Environment, Lithuania), Ms Karolina Skog (Minister for the Environment, Sweden), Mr Jānis Eglīts (Vice Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, Latvia), Ms Anna Moskwa (Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation, Poland), and Mr Nuritdin Inamov (Director of the Department for International Cooperation and Board member of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, Russia).The entire Ministerial Declaration is available online at: Twitter hashtag: * * *More information (PDF) (first version 2017 – to be updated 2018)Note for editorsThe 2018 HELCOM Ministerial Meeting will be held on 6 March in Brussels, Belgium, under the EU chairmanship of HELCOM. The Ministers of the Environment of the nine Baltic coastal states and the EU Environment Commissioner will gather to discuss the status and the future of the Baltic Sea marine environment. The outcome of the 2018 Ministerial Meeting is expected to revolve around new actions to meet the Sustainable Development Goals in the Baltic Sea, strengthening implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan by 2021, and adjusting the Baltic Sea Action Plan based on new knowledge and future challenges. More information on the .The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as HELCOM, is an intergovernmental organization of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union. HELCOM has worked since 1974 to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region. HELCOM is the governing body of the “Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area,” more usually known as the Helsinki Convention.For further information, please contact:Ms Monika Stankiewicz Executive Secretary HELCOM +358 40 840 2471 monika.stankiewicz(at)helcom.fiMs Sara Estlander Communication Coordinator HELCOM +358 40 482 6103 sara.estlander(at)helcom.fi

The Ministers of the Environment and High-Level Representatives of the nine Baltic coastal countries and the European Union, meeting today in Brussels, Belgium, have agreed on new commitments for the Baltic marine environment.

Baltic Sea community to decide on renewed efforts for a healthy Baltic Sea

 Today, at the 2018 HELCOM Ministerial Meeting in Brussels, Belgium, the Baltic Sea countries and the EU come together to decide on renewed efforts to reach a healthy Baltic marine environment. HELCOM – the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission – is the arena in which the nine Baltic coastal states and the European Union work together to protect and restore the marine environment of the Baltic Sea. At the today, the responsible Ministers, the EU Commissioner, and other high-level representatives meet to assess the progress made towards reaching a good environmental status in the Baltic Sea. The outcome – the Ministerial Declaration – will form the framework for the following years’ work for a healthier Baltic Sea, following the long tradition of regional HELCOM cooperation.New information to guide new actionsThe recent shows that in spite of some positive signals, the efforts so far have not led to the recovery of the Baltic Sea. This is the first time that a comprehensive assessment of ecosystem health on this scale, based on a wide range of indicators and information on human activities and their impacts, is available as background information for a HELCOM Ministerial Meeting. “Thanks to thorough groundwork, we now understand better than before how the different pressures add up on specific areas, species and habitats in the Baltic Sea,” says HELCOM Chair Ms Marianne Wenning. “Because of this, we know more about what’s important to consider with regard to managing human activities. In this way informed choices can be made in order to reduce environmental pressures.”One reason that the Baltic marine environment has not yet recovered is the long delay between cause and effect, due to the natural features of the Baltic Sea. Further, some actions agreed upon in the (BSAP) from 2007 – the concrete roadmap for restoring the ecological balance of the Baltic Sea – are yet to be completed. In addition, some aspects of the environment have so far not been addressed in Baltic-wide plans and policies.Stepping up and raising the barIn light of this new information, an important part of the Ministerial Meeting today will be to decide both on stronger follow-through on the existing BSAP and on a blueprint and timeframe for updating the BSAP. The current Baltic Sea Action Plan aims for a healthy Baltic Sea by 2021, and rests on actions aimed at eutrophication, hazardous substances, biodiversity, and maritime activities. In the discussions leading up to the Ministerial Meeting, marine litter, underwater noise, and seabed damage and disturbance have been raised as possible additional issues for countries to follow up on more strongly, striving to limit adverse effects by increasing efforts and coordination at regional level. At the Meeting, the high-level representatives will decide on the next steps for these themes: e.g., whether action plans will be developed, whether indicators will be developed to measure these issues, and so on. The Meeting is also expected to follow up on the existing Regional Action Plan for marine litter. The high-level representatives at the Meeting are also set to finalize discussions on a possible future HELCOM strategy regarding nutrient recycling in the Baltic Sea area. This has been one of the goals of the EU chairmanship of HELCOM, as part of the target of promoting sustainable agricultural practices. Nutrient recycling is essential for reducing nutrient losses to the Baltic Sea and for efficiently using the limited nutrient resources.Meeting global goalsA common thread to the themes of the Meeting are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations Agenda 2030. The countries around the Baltic Sea have agreed to use HELCOM as the regional arena for coordinating work on those SDGs that relate to marine and water issues. The Meeting follows up on the United Nations Ocean Conference in New York in June 2017, where HELCOM made several towards SDG 14 – “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources”.”The marine environment is threatened in many parts of the world’s oceans and the problems are often of a global nature,” says Ms Wenning. “Many of the UN SDGs are related to the state of seas and oceans so our work can serve as an important contribution to many of the SDGs goals.”The Ministerial Meeting will be chaired by HELCOM Chair Marianne Wenning of the EU. Expected to participate on behalf of HELCOM members are Mr Karmenu Vella (Commissioner for the Environment, European Commission), Mr Esben Lunde Larsen (Minister for Environment and Food, Denmark), Mr Siim Kiisler (Minister of the Environment, Estonia), Mr Kimmo Tiilikainen (Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing, Finland), Dr Barbara Hendricks (Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Germany), Mr Kęstutis Navickas (Minister of Environment, Lithuania), Ms Karolina Skog (Minister for the Environment, Sweden), Mr Jānis Eglīts (Vice Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, Latvia), Ms Anna Moskwa (Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation, Poland), and Mr Nuritdin Inamov (Director of the Department for International Cooperation and Board member of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, Russia).The entire Ministerial Declaration will be available online after the meeting at: Twitter hashtag:  * * *More informationReport (PDF, 2 MB) (first version 2017 – to be updated 2018), June 2017, New York NOTE FOR EDITORSThe will be held on 6 March in Brussels, Belgium, under the EU chairmanship of HELCOM. The Ministers of the Environment of the nine Baltic coastal states and the EU Environment Commissioner will gather to discuss the status and the future of the Baltic Sea marine environment. The outcome of the 2018 Ministerial Meeting is expected to revolve around new actions to meet the Sustainable Development Goals in the Baltic Sea, strengthening implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan by 2021, and adjusting the Baltic Sea Action Plan based on new knowledge and future challenges. The background to the Meeting is provided by two major reports: (PDF) and (first version 2017 – to be updated 2018).The , usually referred to as HELCOM, is an intergovernmental organization of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union. HELCOM has worked since 1974 to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region. HELCOM is the governing body of the “Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area,” more usually known as the Helsinki Convention.FOR FURTHER information, PLEASE CONTACT:Ms Monika Stankiewicz Executive Secretary HELCOM +358 40 840 2471 monika.stankiewicz(at)helcom.fiMs Sara Estlander Communication Coordinator HELCOM +358 40 482 6103 sara.estlander(at)helcom.fi

Today, at the 2018 HELCOM Ministerial Meeting in Brussels, Belgium, the Baltic Sea countries and the EU come together to decide on renewed efforts to reach a healthy Baltic marine environment.

HELCOM Ministerial Meeting to draw up course of action for the Baltic Sea

 High-level representatives of the Baltic Sea countries meet in Brussels on 6 March to discuss state and future of the Baltic marine environment. Talks focus on how to achieve a healthy Baltic Sea in light of current regional targets and global goals.  The 2021 target year of the HELCOM (BSAP), adopted in 2007 and aiming to restore the good ecological status of the Baltic marine environment, is only three years away. HELCOM’s latest assessments show that while much has been accomplished, and in spite of some positive signals, the efforts so far have not led to the recovery of the Baltic Sea.  The , to be held on 6 March in Brussels under the two-year of HELCOM, will discuss the current state of the Baltic Sea as well as draw up a course of action to safeguard its future. The Meeting will be chaired by HELCOM Chair Marianne Wenning. Strengthened BSAP implementation neededOne of the duties of HELCOM – the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission – is to regularly follow up on the implementation of agreed-upon actions for the Baltic marine environment. A new HELCOM report (), published just ahead of the Ministerial Meeting, summarizes 177 of the actions with concrete BSAP targets and the extent to which they have been completed.The report shows that as of 2017, nearly 70 % of joint actions (carried out jointly through HELCOM) in the Baltic Sea Action Plan have been implemented. Examples of completed joint actions include developing a Regional Action Plan on marine litter, preparing a ban on discharge of untreated sewage from passenger ships, and adopting a HELCOM Recommendation on sustainable aquaculture.Of the actions that require steps to be taken at the national level, 23% are completed by all countries and an additional 62% completed by some of the countries. Actions that all countries have completed include, for instance, ratifying Annex VI of MARPOL 73/78 convention on prevention of air pollution from ships, developing long-term management plans for sprat and herring, and conserving at least ten wild salmon populations in the Baltic Sea region.The Ministerial Meeting is expected to decide on intensified efforts and stronger follow-through on the BSAP, both to reach regional goals and to fulfil the Agenda 2030 in the region. New and developing issues in future policiesIn addition to working for existing goals, the Ministerial Meeting is tasked with planning for the years after the current BSAP target year of 2021. Advancing scientific knowledge and new emerging issues, such as impacts from pharmaceuticals and micro-pollutants, call for the Baltic Sea community to continously learn and adapt their actions. Long-term changes like climate change affect the status of the environment, and must also be addressed when updating Baltic Sea policies and measures for future goals.The Meeting will also follow up on the United Nations Ocean Conference in New York in June 2017, where HELCOM made several towards SDG 14 – “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources”. The countries around the Baltic Sea have agreed to use HELCOM as the regional arena for coordinating work on those SDGs that relate to marine and water issues. The four goals of the BSAPThe ambitious vision of the Baltic Sea Action Plan is a healthy Baltic Sea environment, with diverse biological components functioning in balance, resulting in good environmental/ecological status and supporting a wide range of sustainable human economic and social activities. The more specific goals of the BSAP are to achieve a Baltic Sea unaffected by eutrophicationa Baltic Sea undisturbed by hazardous substancesenvironmentally friendly maritime activities, and favourable status of Baltic Sea biodiversity.For each goal, the BSAP specifies a number of more specific objectives and actions, which have later been supplemented in HELCOM Ministerial Declarations in 2010 and 2013. Adopted by all the coastal states and the EU in 2007, the BSAP provides a concrete basis for HELCOM work. * * *More informationReport (PDF), June 2017, New York Note for editorsThe 2018 HELCOM Ministerial Meeting will be held on 6 March in Brussels, Belgium, under the EU chairmanship of HELCOM. The Ministers of the Environment of the nine Baltic coastal states and the EU Environment Commissioner will gather to discuss the status and the future of the Baltic Sea marine environment. The outcome of the 2018 Ministerial Meeting is expected to revolve around new actions to meet the Sustainable Development Goals in the Baltic Sea, strengthening implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan by 2021, and adjusting the Baltic Sea Action Plan based on new knowledge and future challenges. More information on the .The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as HELCOM, is an intergovernmental organization of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union. HELCOM has worked since 1974 to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region. HELCOM is the governing body of the “Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area,” more usually known as the Helsinki Convention. For further information, please contact:Ms Monika Stankiewicz Executive Secretary HELCOM +358 40 840 2471 monika.stankiewicz(at)helcom.fiMs Sara Estlander Communication Coordinator HELCOM +358 40 482 6103 sara.estlander(at)helcom.fi

High-level representatives of the Baltic Sea countries meet in Brussels on 6 March to discuss state and future of the Baltic marine environment

Uniqueness of Baltic Sea biodiversity highlighted in regional EBSA workshop

Nine areas in the Baltic Sea described as Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) according to the criteria of the Convention on Biological DiversityBaltic Sea joins 13 other marine areas in the world where regional EBSAs workshops have been held The Regional Workshop to Facilitate the Description of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) in the Baltic Sea was held on 20–24 February 2018, in Helsinki, Finland, hosted by the Government of Finland and with financial support by Finland and Sweden. The workshop was convened by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in collaboration with HELCOM.  Group picture from the opening of the workshop. Front middle row, from left: Ms. Hannele Pokka, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the Environment of Finland; Ms. Penina Blankett, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of the Environment of Finland; Ms. Monika Stankiewicz, HELCOM Executive Secretary; and Ms. Jihyun Lee, Environmental Affairs Officer, CBD Secretariat, together with the participants of the Baltic EBSA workshop. Photo: Florent Nicolas/HELCOMNine Baltic marine areas were described by the workshop participants as ecologically or biologically significant, including five transboundary areas covering waters of two or more countries. The described EBSAs extend into 14 of the 17 Baltic Sea sub-basins. Altogether, they cover 23% of the Baltic Sea, slightly higher than the 19% the average in other areas of the world.The described EBSAs are: Northern Bothnian BayKvarken ArchipelagoÅland Sea, Åland Islands and the Archipelago Sea of FinlandEastern Gulf of FinlandInner Sea of West Estonian ArchipelagoSoutheastern Baltic Sea ShallowsSouthern Gotland Harbour Porpoise AreaFehmarn BeltFladen and Stora and Lilla Middelgrund.The experts at the workshop had at their disposal a great variety of information, ranging from the latest scientific data on biological, physical, oceanographic, and environmental features to indigenous and local knowledge of the HELCOM area. The Baltic Sea region’s remarkably broad and varied data coverage, much of which is available as regionally harmonized data layers on the , was an asset for the experts. “The workshop outcome is an opportunity to highlight the fact that despite the known marine environmental problems, the unique semi-enclosed Baltic Sea does have a great ecological or biological significance” says Monika Stankiewicz, HELCOM Executive Secretary.The application of the EBSA criteria is a scientific and technical exercise, carried out through a series of regional workshops. The area can be described as EBSA if it meets one or more CBD scientific criteria such uniqueness or rarity, special importance for life history stages of species, importance for threatened, endangered or declining species and/or habitats, and biological productivity and diversity. Management issues, including threats to the areas and needs for protection, are not considered in the process. Since 2011, the CBD Secretariat has convened 13 regional EBSA workshops, covering more than 74 per cent of the world’s oceansThe Baltic EBSA workshop was registered by HELCOM as a voluntary commitment at the UN Ocean Conference for implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14, on 5-9 June 2017, New York, (). The decision to organize the workshop was made bearing in mind especially the possibilities the EBSA concept offers for Maritime Spatial Planning.Over 30 experts from the HELCOM countries and from organizations in the region, including representatives of local indigenous peoples, took part in the workshop. The Duke University Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab, with support from the Finnish Environment Institute, acted as the technical support team of the workshop.The workshop report will be submitted for consideration to the 22nd meeting of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA), scheduled for 2–7 July 2018, Montreal, Canada, and subsequently to the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention (COP), scheduled for 10–22 November 2018, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. The workshop was co-chaired by Ms. Penina Blankett, Finland, and Mr. Dieter Boedeker, Germany. Note for editorsThe Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as HELCOM, is an intergovernmental organization of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union working to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region. Since 1974, HELCOM has been the governing body of the ‘Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area’, more commonly known as the Helsinki Convention.Signed by 150 government leaders at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the is dedicated to promoting sustainable development. Conceived as a practical tool for translating the principles of the United Nations agenda for sustainable development into reality, the Convention recognizes that biological diversity is about more than plants, animals and micro-organisms and their ecosystems – it is about people and our need for food security, medicines, fresh air and water, shelter, and a clean and healthy environment in which to live. The scientific criteria for describing were adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the CBD in 2008. ContactsMr. Ville Karvinen Project Coordinator ville.karvinen(at)helcom.fi +358 40 161 6513Ms. Jannica Haldin Professional Secretary jannica.haldin(at)helcom.fi +358 40 485 5905

Nine areas in the Baltic Sea described as Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) according to the criteria of the Convention on Biological Diversity – Baltic Sea 14th marine area to hold regional EBSAs workshop

Save the date: Joint BONUS-HELCOM Conference on Research and Innovation for Sustainability, 6 November 2018, Copenhagen

​This conference, joining together the 7th BONUS Forum and the 8th HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan Stakeholder Conference, reinforces and develops the synergies of HELCOM and BONUS in association with key strategic actors in efforts related to environmental policy and sustainable development of the northern European regional seas. The BONUS-HELCOM stakeholder conference on Tuesday 6 November 2018, to be held at the Park Inn by Radisson Copenhagen Airport, will foremost utilise the results of the BONUS projects (many of
which are now nearing completion) in HELCOM work – and beyond – as well as
jointly identify gaps to fill in for the future. The conference
will also offer a platform to enhance further synergies across the region,
Europe and wider.  Drawing from
the achievements and lessons learned from the simultaneously in 2007
established HELCOM – the pioneering programme
to restore the good ecological status of the Baltic Sea – and – a
regional marine research and development programme – the conference is set to
add value to continued cooperation in the Baltic Sea region as well as other
sea basins.The , setting the future strategic direction for
implementing the Baltic Sea Action Plan by 2021 and beyond, as well as
the UN 2030 Agenda’s sustainable development goals (SDGs), provide useful context
when the event’s agenda is being set in the coming month(s). The EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the EU Blue Growth
Agenda as well as other key sustainability policies also create a further
demand for new knowledge that can be met with BONUS research. Finally, also the
broadened scope of the current BONUS to form a northern regional seas research
and innovation programme in the future will be addressed during the conference
and key strategic actors invited to the setting of the agenda. A broad range of actors and stakeholders will be invited to take part in
discussions on 6 November 2018: policy makers and other end-users of sound
knowledge, regional sea conventions, industries, academia, non-governmental
organisations, relevant General Directorates of the European Commission,
research and innovation funding institutions, joint programming initiatives,
implementing bodies of the EU macro-regional strategies etc. Further information and key dates in the run-up period to the conference
will be announced in March 2018.* * *Note for editors The ,
usually referred to as HELCOM, is an intergovernmental organization of
the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union. HELCOM has
worked since 1974 to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea
from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the
region. HELCOM is the governing body of the “Convention on the
Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area,” more
usually known as the Helsinki Convention.is
a joint Baltic Sea research and development programme producing
knowledge to support development and implementation of regulations,
policies and management practices specifically tailored for the Baltic
Sea region. It issues calls for competitive proposals and funds projects
of high excellence and relevance based on its BONUS strategic research
agenda 2011-2020. Half of the funding of the EUR 100 million to BONUS is
covered by the national research funding agencies in the eight EU
member states around the Baltic Sea and the other half by the EU. * * *For further information, please contact:Ms. Maija SirolaCommunications Manager, BONUSTel. +358 40 352 0076E-mail: Website: Facebook and Twitter: @BONUSBalticMs. Sara EstlanderCommunication Coordinator, HELCOMTel. +358 40 482 6103E-mail: Website: Facebook and Twitter: @HELCOMinfo

This conference, joining together the 7th BONUS Forum and the 8th HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan Stakeholder Conference, reinforces and develops the synergies of HELCOM and BONUS in association with key strategic actors.

Preparing to describe the Baltic Sea’s significant marine areas

​​​​Baltic Sea community follows up on commitment to describe Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) International EBSA workshop and training session to be held 19–24 February in Helsinki, FinlandGroup picture from the opening of the workshop. Front row: Ms. Hannele Pokka, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of
the Environment of Finland, Ms.
Penina Blanket, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of
the Environment of Finland,  Ms. Monika Stankiewicz, HELCOM Executive Secretary and Ms. Jihyun Lee, Environmental Affairs Officer, CBD
Secretariat. ​Photo: Florent Nicolas/HELCOM​At the United Nations Ocean Conference in June 2017, HELCOM members registered a to describe Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSA) in the Baltic Sea. The EBSA process will take a significant step further at a workshop in Helsinki next week. The workshop is being convened by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, with financial support from the Governments of Finland and Sweden, and in collaboration with HELCOM. HELCOM’s contribution is supported by the HASPS 2 project, which aims to further objectives of the Horizontal Action “Spatial Planning” of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.EBSAs are special areas in world’s oceans that serve important purposes, in one way or another, to support the healthy functioning of oceans and the many services that they provide. The purpose of the EBSA process is to globally describe these important marine areas using the established scientific criteria adopted by the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in all the world’s oceans:Uniqueness or RaritySpecial importance for life history stages of speciesImportance for threatened, endangered or declining species and/or habitatsVulnerability, Fragility, Sensitivity, or Slow recoveryBiological ProductivityBiological DiversityNaturalnessIn the Baltic Sea Region, the EBSA process is expected to provide further useful information of relevance to national and transboundary in the Baltic Sea. Other HELCOM processes such as the Red List, evaluation of effectiveness and coherence of networks, and future HELCOM environmental assessments may also be able to benefit from EBSAs.The workshop is of a scientific and technical nature. The description of EBSAs will draw on specific scientific criteria for describing important marine areas. Countries in the region, relevant organizations and indigenous peoples and local communities have been invited to provide relevant information, including scientific data and traditional knowledge on marine ecosystems, habitats and species, as well as physical, oceanographic, and geological characteristics. The Duke University Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab act as the technical team of the workshop, identifying and mapping datasets and analyses for consideration by the workshop. In addition to national datasets, the Baltic Sea countries have agreed to make relevant HELCOM datasets available to the workshop. ​ Mr. Patrick N. Halpin from the Technical Support Team instructing the workshop experts. ​Photo: Florent Nicolas/HELCOM​​​Thirteen regional EBSA workshops have been arranged worldwide to date. Countries in the region in question, as well as relevant global and regional organizations/initiatives, are invited to nominate experts for the workshop. The nominated experts then go through a selection process under CBD to ensure scientific and technical expertise, knowledge on EBSAs, and gender balance in the workshop. The workshop will produce a regional workshop report on areas meeting EBSA criteria, for consideration by the CBD’s Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice.* * *Note for editorsThe Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as HELCOM, is an intergovernmental organization of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union working to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region. Since 1974, HELCOM has been the governing body of the ‘Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area’, more commonly known as the Helsinki Convention. * * *ContactsMr. Ville Karvinen Project Coordinator ville.karvinen(at)helcom.fi +358 40 161 6513Ms. Jannica Haldin Professional Secretary jannica.haldin(at)helcom.fi +358 40 485 5905

Baltic Sea community follows up on commitment to identify Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) – International EBSA workshop and training session to be held 19–24 February in Helsinki, Finland

HELCOM and BONUS tighten collaboration for the good of environmental protection action in the Baltic Sea

 HELCOM Heads of Delegation note the contribution of BONUS projects to policy-making, including the upcoming HELCOM Ministerial Meeting 15 December 2017, Helsinki, FinlandThe 53rd Meeting of the Head of Delegations (HOD) of HELCOM, which concluded earlier this week in Helsinki, has taken note of recent policy-related results from a number of BONUS projects related to topics of biodiversity protection and marine protected areas, nutrients, social and economic analysis, and climate change. These policy messages stem from discussions at a HELCOM-BONUS workshop held on 6 November 2017 ( available on the ).Besides welcoming the HELCOM-BONUS workshop, the representatives of the Baltic Sea countries and EU also acknowledged the crucial contribution of the BONUS research programme to the recent work of HELCOM and to solid scientific basis for policy measures. As to the future, the meeting highlighted a need for research support regarding cumulative impact of multiple stressors on species and habitats and on the entire ecosystem of the Baltic Sea.One of the overarching conclusions of the joint workshop based on the results of various BONUS projects was the profound effect of climate change on all parts of the Baltic ecosystem, in particular on the distribution of species and genetic diversity in the Baltic Sea. Hence, the workshop considered it to be of key importance to include climate change as an integrated aspect of measures for biodiversity as well as for nutrient reduction, and in this way ensure that measures are in place to mitigate impacts from climate change.Further results of the BONUS projects will be presented at the next BONUS Symposium “Sustainable ecosystem governance under changing climate and land use in the Baltic Sea region”, planned to take place 14–16 March 2018 in Gdansk, Poland. Monika Stankiewicz, Executive Secretary of HELCOM, sees the new BONUS results as very timely to underpin the strengthening of the implementation of the HELCOM agreements. “The upcoming HELCOM Ministerial Meeting will consider the needed steps to accomplish the Baltic Sea Action Plan by 2021 as well as will decide on a future update of the Action Plan. The new scientific results from BONUS support the ongoing negotiations leading up to these major policy decisions at the Ministerial Meeting”, said Stankiewicz. “We are most pleased with the continued strengthening of the synergies between BONUS and HELCOM. We also look forward to jointly organising a HELCOM-BONUS stakeholder conference later in 2018, which the now concluded HOD meeting also welcomed. This will be important to further disseminate BONUS results as well as build synergies across the region, Europe and wider”, concluded Kaisa Kononen, Executive Director, BONUS.    * * *Note for editors The 2018 HELCOM Ministerial Meeting will be held on 6 March in Brussels, Belgium, under the EU chairmanship of HELCOM. The Ministers of the Environment of the nine Baltic coastal states and the EU Environment Commissioner will gather to discuss the status and the future of the Baltic Sea marine environment. The outcome of the 2018 Ministerial Meeting is expected to revolve around new actions to meet the Sustainable Development Goals in the Baltic Sea, strengthening implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan by 2021, and adjusting the Baltic Sea Action Plan based on new knowledge and future challenges. More information on the .The , usually referred to as HELCOM, is an intergovernmental organization of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union. HELCOM has worked since 1974 to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region. HELCOM is the governing body of the “Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area,” more usually known as the Helsinki Convention.is a joint Baltic Sea research and development programme producing knowledge to support development and implementation of regulations, policies and management practices specifically tailored for the Baltic Sea region. It issues calls for competitive proposals and funds projects of high excellence and relevance based on its BONUS strategic research agenda 2011-2020. Half of the funding of the EUR 100 million to BONUS is covered by the national research funding agencies in the eight EU member states around the Baltic Sea and the other half by the EU.  * * *BONUS projectsThe following BONUS projects were presented at the HELCOM-BONUS workshop on 6 November 2017:BONUS BALTICAPP – Wellbeing from the Baltic Sea – applications combining natural science and economics (1 April 2015-31 March 2018) BONUS BAMBI – Baltic Sea marine biodiversity – addressing the potential of adaptation to climate change (1 January 2014-31 December 2017) BONUS BIO-C3 – Biodiversity changes – causes, consequences and management implications (1 January 2014-31 December 2017) BONUS COCOA – Nutrient cocktails in coastal zones of the Baltic Sea – improving understanding of the transformation and retention of nutrients and organic matter in the coastal zone (1 January 2014-31 March 2017) BONUS GO4BALTIC – Coherent policies and governance of the Baltic Sea ecosystems (1 April 2015-31 December 2018) BONUS MIRACLE – Mediating integrated actions for sustainable ecosystem services in a changing climate (1 April 2015-31 July 2018) BONUS PROMISE – Phosphorus recycling of mixed substances, (1 April 2014 – 31 March 2017) BONUS SOILS2SEA – Reducing nutrient loadings from agricultural soils to the Baltic Sea via groundwater and streams, (1 January 2014-31 March 2018) * * *For further information, please contact:Ms. Maija SirolaCommunications Manager, BONUSTel. +358 40 352 0076E-mail: Website: Facebook and Twitter: @BONUSBalticMs. Sara EstlanderCommunication Coordinator, HELCOMTel. +358 40 482 6103E-mail: Website: Facebook and Twitter: @HELCOMinfo​

HELCOM Heads of Delegation note the contribution of BONUS projects to policy-making, including the upcoming HELCOM Ministerial Meeting

Major Baltic Sea policies reviewed ahead of HELCOM Ministerial Meeting

Regional ministers will discuss the state and future of the Baltic Sea marine environment in MarchHeads of Delegation of the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission meet this week to prepare ministerial outcomeHow will the Baltic Sea region respond to the call to action for the marine environment, set by the United Nations Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development? What efforts should be prioritized in order to achieve the aim of the – a healthy Baltic Sea by 2021? How should the Action Plan be adjusted based on the newest scientific knowledge and the challenges ahead? These are among the questions on the table at the 53rd HELCOM Heads of Delegation meeting today and tomorrow. The questions form the basis of the negotiations ahead of the in Brussels on 6 March, bringing together the responsible ministers from the Baltic Sea countries and the EU Commissioner for Environment. The Heads of Delegation meeting this week will focus in particular on the Declaration to be adopted at the Ministerial Meeting, which will frame the work for the Baltic Sea marine environment in the years to come.Targets: Baltic Sea Action Plan and Sustainable Development GoalsAmong the central background information for the discussions is a report following up on the actions agreed upon in the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) in 2007 and linking them to the current state of the Baltic Sea. According to the latest assessments, much has been accomplished, and there are some encouraging signals in the ecosystem, but the efforts so far have not led to the recovery of the Baltic Sea. The Heads of Delegation will discuss how to achieve stronger follow-through on the BSAP in order to reach the common goals.The Heads of Delegation will also consider how to adjust the BSAP in the light of new information. As science advances, policy-makers are better equipped than before to focus on those issues that cause the greatest harm and are the most widely distributed. There is also more and more knowledge about climate change and other issues that are developing or will emerge in the future. The adjusted plan for action will take into account the changing situation and highlight the most important measures to take. The questions about the BSAP are also central to the global context of the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015. Governments have the primary responsibility for taking action to achieve the goals, while Regional Sea Conventions like HELCOM are well suited for considering new actions across borders in pursuit of those SDGs that relate to marine and water issues. The Baltic Sea countries have agreed to use HELCOM as the regional arena for coordinating work on ocean-related SDGs. In order to reach SDG 14 – “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources” – the Baltic Sea region needs both to accelerate work towards the goals of the Baltic Sea Action Plan and to adapt the plan based on the newest and best available science. HELCOM will use the Sustainable Development Goals as guidance when setting new priorities and targets. Preparing for the Ministerial MeetingThe outcome of the discussions between the Heads of Delegation will be an important stepping stone towards reaching Ministerial agreement. The meeting this week aims to put everything in place for the Ministerial negotiations in March.Preparations for the Ministerial Meeting have been ongoing since the meeting of high-level representatives of the Baltic Sea states and the EU in February 2017. However, the background efforts and the scientific data that underpin the discussions stretch back over several years and includes a multitude of projects. Among these are the large-scale , which will be finalized by mid-2018.  “The background work for the Ministerial Meeting draws together all the different roles and processes of HELCOM: it is a hub that provides information about the Baltic Sea environment, that produces recommendations and policies based on this information in order to improve the state of the ecosystem, and that supervises that agreements are upheld. HELCOM is the bridge between science and policy in the Baltic Sea, and the Ministerial Meeting is the highest point on that bridge,” says Monika Stankiewicz, Executive Secretary at the HELCOM Secretariat.All the meeting documents will be available in the HELCOM Meeting portal after the meeting, no login required:  * * *Note for editors:The 2018 HELCOM Ministerial Meeting will be held on 6 March in Brussels, Belgium, under the EU chairmanship of HELCOM. The Ministers of the Environment of the nine Baltic coastal states and the EU Environment Commissioner will gather to discuss the status and the future of the Baltic Sea marine environment. The outcome of the 2018 Ministerial Meeting is expected to revolve around new actions to meet the Sustainable Development Goals in the Baltic Sea, strengthening implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan by 2021, and adjusting the Baltic Sea Action Plan based on new knowledge and future challenges. More information on the .The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as HELCOM, is an intergovernmental organization of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union. HELCOM has worked since 1974 to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region. HELCOM is the governing body of the “Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area,” more usually known as the Helsinki Convention.* * *For further information, please contact:Monika Stankiewicz Executive Secretary HELCOM monika.stankiewicz(at)helcom.fiSara Estlander Communication Coordinator HELCOM +358 40 482 6103 sara.estlander(at)helcom.fi

Regional ministers will discuss the state and future of the Baltic Sea marine environment in March – Heads of Delegation of the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission meet this week to prepare ministerial outcome

HELCOM highlights cooperation with BONUS ahead of 2017 call

​Many of the topics under the recently opened BONUS call ‘Synthesis’ relate directly to ongoing HELCOM workFuture BONUS projects can both benefit from and contribute to existing knowledge The BONUS programme has previously underpinned good progress in HELCOM work. The HELCOM Contracting Parties – the Baltic Sea countries and EU – have recently underlined the importance of continuing the cooperation between HELCOM and BONUS in the future. Cooperation and information exchange between the Secretariats, the individual BONUS project scientists, and experts involved in HELCOM groups and projects is perceived as very important.The recently opened ” is of high relevance to HELCOM work and a number of regional priorities. Work on many of the call topics is currently under way within HELCOM. While much has been accomplished, future projects could contribute significantly where gaps exist or new perspectives would be pertinent. HELCOM plans continued exchange with future BONUS projects to be approved under the call. Below are examples of the most recent regional work carried out by the Contracting Parties on the topics covered by the call. Sustainable marine and freshwater aquaculture development perspectives in the Baltic Sea regionAccording to the Helsinki Convention, pollution from fish-farming shall be prevented and eliminated by promoting and implementing Best Environmental Practice (BEP) and Best Available Technology (BAT) (Annex III “Criteria and measures concerning prevention of pollution from land-based sources”). Furthermore, the was adopted in March 2016. The Recommendation foresees the Contracting Parties to, among other things, by 2018 jointly develop BAT and BEP descriptions for sustainable and environmentally friendly aquaculture in the Baltic Sea region. BAT and BEP are to be applied e.g. based on Annex II of the Helsinki Convention “Criteria for the use of Best Environmental Practice and Best Available Technology”. The Recommendation covers both marine and freshwater aquaculture. A correspondence group to follow up the Recommendation has been established (under the HELCOM Group on ecosystem-based sustainable fisheries), and its specifies how the work is to be carried out. No BAT/BEP descriptions have been developed by HELCOM yet.  A synthesis of knowledge on the Baltic Sea food webs including an outlook for priority future studiesThe Baltic Sea food webs are the subject of much research overall and the focus of several HELCOM indicators. Within the HELCOM framework, extensive work has been carried out related to and . A number of HELCOM projects have also been carried out with the purpose of developing aspects related to biota and biodiversity and enhancing the work of HELCOM. These projects have, for instance, addressed specific food web components such as or , or contributed to the development of or utilized in the .The , tools that underpin major aspects of the HELCOM work, have been developed to assess the status of the marine environment, and form the basis for the integrated holistic approach used in the State of the Baltic Sea report. Many of these indicators address biological components and factors that have the potential to directly or indirectly impact biota and the Baltic Sea food webs. These indicators are themselves based on analyses of compiled data, agreed threshold levels, and a robust survey of the latest scientific literature. , and , rely on accredited monitoring data and scientifically validated methodologies, and new indicators or new approaches to assessment of the Baltic Sea food webs, ecosystem, and ecosystem pressures are regularly proposed through .Towards improved environmental status assessment and monitoring systems for the Baltic SeaCoordinated monitoring of physical, chemical, and biological variables of the Baltic open sea has been carried out since 1979.HELCOM work on monitoring and assessment is based on the , the latest version of which was adopted by the HELCOM Ministerial Meeting in 2013. The Strategy is a common plan to monitor and assess the health of the Baltic Sea in a coordinated and cost-efficient way between all HELCOM Contracting Parties. It forms the basis for high quality and uniform data collection across the Baltic Sea region. The resulting data feeds into the HELCOM indicators and thus into the assessment of the status of the Baltic Sea.Those general principles of the Strategy that relate to coordinated monitoring have been translated into concrete specifications and requirements through the . The Manual progressively takes up new monitoring guidelines and is updated or amended based on methodological developments and advances or development of more appropriate data reporting and handling options The current monitoring network and information on sampling can be found in the .Policy instruments and institutions for nutrient abatementThe is a regional approach to sharing the burden of nutrient reductions to achieve the goal of a Baltic Sea unaffected by eutrophication agreed by the Baltic Sea countries.The Scheme has been introduced and agreed first in 2007, in the HELCOM . At that time, the countries agreed on provisional nutrient reduction targets and decided that the figures will be revised using a harmonised approach, the newest data, and enhanced modelling. The revision process started in 2008 and was completed in 2013.There are two main components of the nutrient reduction scheme:Maximum Allowable Inputs (MAI) of nutrients, indicating the maximal level of inputs of waterborne and airborne nitrogen and phosphorus to Baltic Sea sub-basins that can be allowed in order to fulfill the targets for non-eutrophied areas. This component has been developed according to the ecosystem approach including use of the best available science, overall agreed as the main principle of HELCOM work. Country-Allocated Reduction Targets (CART), indicating how much nutrient inputs the HELCOM countries need to reduce comparing to a reference period (1997–2003). This component has been designed under the guidance and according to the decisions of the Contracting Parties, taking into account fundamental principles of the Helsinki Convention (such as the “polluter pays” principle). The reduction targets are to be met by implementing common regional requirements, such as for wastewater treatment plans, and by any additional measures or instruments countries see as feasible and appropriate. The HELCOM provides the technical basis to the work on inputs of nutrients and hazardous substances from both diffuse and point sources on land, including follow-up of the implementation of the Nutrient Reduction Scheme. The assessments of and are published on the HELCOM website (updates assessments planned to be finished in 2017). High frequency automated in situ observations in the Baltic SeaHigh quality and accredited data underpin much of the work carried out by HELCOM, be it the development of scientific or policy documents. The HELCOM indicators in particular, and the associated integrated assessment for biodiversity, hazardous substances and eutrophication, rely on this data pool for their function. Not only is spatial and temporal data coverage a major issue for such initiatives but also the quality and abundance of such data; an assessment of which is reflected by a confidence assigned to the indicators or integrated assessments. There are, for example, processes currently underway within HELCOM expert networks to utilize ferrybox data with HELCOM indicator assessments, as the spatial, temporal, and sheer mass of data have major potential to significantly increase both indicator reliability and confidence. As with many automated monitoring systems, the volume of data produced is several orders of magnitude greater than that produced by classical monitoring and assessment tools. While this offers huge potential for fine scale observations and conclusions to be made, it also requires the development of suitable data collation and utilization tools that offer support to management institutions. Suitable integration solutions and the scope for utilizing such high frequency data within HELCOM work is perceived as very important. The HELCOM Monitoring and Assessment Strategy acknowledges that remote sensing and autonomous measuring devices already in use in environmental monitoring and operational oceanography, such as ferry-boxes, buoys, passive samplers, fixed platforms, and coastal radars, are efficient means to increase spatial and temporal coverage of observations. Development of a unified access point for science-based virtual decision support tools for ecosystem-based management in the Baltic Sea and its drainageHELCOM has developed and is using a number of decision support tools. Here are a few examples: Non-monetary values of the Baltic Sea ecosystem goods and services provided to human lifestyles and well-beingIn March 2017, HELCOM established an (ESA) with the aim to enhance regional cooperation on the economic and social aspects of the Baltic Sea marine environment. The expert network serves as a platform for discussion and information exchange on the ongoing and planned work, and develops and agrees on regional approaches for the economic and social analyses, according to a (agreed on in December 2016). The analyses are needed for the implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan, as well as for other requirements Contracting Parties have to fulfill, such as Marine Strategy Framework Directive for the EU countries in the region. Overall, the analyses will contribute to ecosystem-based marine management, marine spatial planning, pollution mitigation, and integration and implementation of various policies.Results on the economic contribution from marine activities in the Baltic Sea and on the economic damages to citizens from the deterioration of the marine environment have been included in the first version of the , released in June 2017. These results show the economic and social impact of selected marine sectors and activities in the Baltic Sea region (fishing, aquaculture, tourism and recreation, production of renewable energy and transport), and illustrate the economic consequences of not achieving good environmental status for selected degradation themes and ecosystem services, including eutrophication, recreation, and biodiversity-related aspects. Additional information on the economic and social analyses can be found in this .Improved maritime risk analysis and mitigationThe work in the field of pollution prevention and safety of navigation as well as response to incidents at sea has been carried out within HELCOM already for many decades. The work is carried out by the HELCOM and groups.A two-year HELCOM-led project “Open-Source tools for regional risk assessments for improved European preparedness and response at sea” () started in January 2017. The project will take the first steps on developing a joint and fully open method toolbox for risk assessments of spills resulting from maritime accidents.Cumulative effects of human activities: linear and non-linear interactions and knowledge gapsThe requires that HELCOM assessments assess the effects of anthropogenic pressures and their effects on the marine environment including cumulative and synergetic effects.The first version of the HELCOM ” assessment was released for consideration in July 2017. It provides a scientific evaluation of the environmental status of the Baltic Sea during 2011–2015, and assesses pressures and impacts from human activities, as well as social and economic dimensions, in the entire Baltic Sea. The second version of the assessment will be updated with 2016 data and will be published by mid-2018.The indicator-based assessments of pressures show their status when assessed individually, without comparing their total impact or their level of spatial overlap with sensitive habitats. The Baltic Sea Impact Index (BSII) is an assessment component that additionally describes the potential cumulative burden on the environment in different parts of the Baltic Sea, with the use of more detailed spatial information than can be provided by the core indicators. The analysis of potential cumulative impacts on benthic habitats suggests that benthic habitats are potentially impacted by loss and disturbance in all sub-basins of the Baltic Sea, but the highest estimates were found for coastal areas and in the southern Baltic Sea. The human activities behind the cumulative impacts on benthic habitats, according to this assessment, are bottom trawling, shipping, sediment dispersal caused by various construction and dredging activities, and disposal of the dredged sediment.Supplementary information on the assessment of cumulative impacts using the Baltic Sea Pressure Index (BSPI) and BSII can be found . * * *BackgroundThe Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as HELCOM, is an intergovernmental organization of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union working to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region. Since 1974, HELCOM has been the governing body of the ‘Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area’, more commonly known as the Helsinki Convention.BONUS is one of the official observers to HELCOM and participates actively in HELCOM work. HELCOM has been involved in defining future research needs for the BONUS programme in the context of environmental policy and sustainable use of marine resources. * * *For more information, please contact:Ms. Laura MeskiAssistant Professional SecretaryHELCOM+358 40 162 2053Skype: helcom82E-mail: laura.meski(at)helcom.fi 

Many of the topics under the recently opened BONUS call ‘Synthesis’ relate directly to ongoing HELCOM work. Future BONUS projects can both benefit from and contribute to existing knowledge.