Finding out the economic damages of a deteriorating state of the Baltic Sea is a key task for HELCOM experts this winter, as a part of the holistic due to release in mid-2017. The actions to prevent pollution will likely involve expenses – however the price of a polluted marine environment may be high. The HELCOM workshop this week in Tallinn, Estonia, continued to analyze the benefits of a healthy and thriving Baltic marine environment with a particular focus on examining the cost of degradation. Analyzing the socioeconomic impacts to the health of the Baltic Sea connects two components: the use of marine waters, expected to bring in profits, and the cost of degradation. Photo: Maritime Office in GdyniaThe cost of degradation is defined as the consequences to human well-being from the degradation of the marine environment. It can be assessed based on the benefits forgone or damages resulting from not achieving good environmental status (GES). The workshop discusses the best approach for such estimation – making best use of quantitative and qualitative methods. The HELCOM holistic assessment on the state of and pressures on the Baltic Sea () will be a comprehensive compilation evaluating the overall state of ecosystem health in the Baltic Sea. The first assessment results will be released in June 2017 and the report will be finalized by mid-2018. The process to analyze the socioeconomic impacts of changes in the state of the Baltic Sea connects two components: the use of marine waters, expected to bring in profits, and the cost of degradation. Various national assessments have been performed but a shared evaluation from a regional viewpoint is still missing. The current HELCOM task is to develop a framework and pave way for such a regional analysis. The estimates for the cost of degradation are the most advanced for eutrophication, as there are national estimates in place for each nine coastal country. More indicative evaluations – for instance for biodiversity, food webs and non-indigenous species – can be used to illustrate what is at stake if the state of the Baltic Sea does not improve. In addition, economic indicators are under development which will illustrate the economic importance of the marine environment as well as sectors depending on it. A major intention is to perform the economic analyses together with the assessment of pressures from human activities. This would help explain how the economic sector or activity – including the derived benefits – depends on the state of the sea. The is held on 8-9 September 2016 and chaired by Ms Soile Oinonen, Finnish Environment Centre. It is a part of the , funded by the EU.* * *Note for editors: is an intergovernmental organization made up of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union. Founded in 1974, its primary aims as a governing body are to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution, as well as to ensure safe maritime navigation. The official name of HELCOM is the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission; it is the governing body of the Helsinki Convention. * * * For more information, please contact:Ulla Li ZweifelProfessional SecretaryHELCOMTel. +358 46 850 9198Skype: helcom64E-mail: ullali.zweifel(at)helcom.fi Johanna LaurilaInformation SecretaryHELCOMTel: +358 40 523 8988Skype: helcom70E-mail: johanna.laurila(at)helcom.fi
Finding out the economic damages of a deteriorating state of the Baltic Sea is a key task for HELCOM experts this winter. First results of the HELCOM cost-effectiveness analysis will be launched mid-2017.