Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission


Hazardous Substances Strategic Holistic Action Plan – improving management to reduce risk and impact


In recent years it has become apparent that the issue of hazardous substances in the Baltic Sea marine environment requires a defined and designated approach towards effective management. This has become increasingly apparent as the number of hazardous and potentially hazardous substances identified in the Baltic Sea has increased while the relatively small number of substances actually evaluated in detail has remained relatively small. These findings culminated, in the recent update of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP 2021), with the need for developing a well-defined and functional strategic framework for addressing hazardous substances being identified. Thus, action HL1 of the BSAP 2021 requires the development of a framework based on a holistic and coordinated approach for hazardous substances, to offer a more solid, inclusive, and adaptive approach.


The project will define a new structured framework that can act harmoniously with other policies of relevance, while achieving extra benefit for the Baltic Sea as necessary. Overall the core aims are:

  • Establish a general framework, and logical flow, through which hazardous substances can be managed in the marine environment;
  • Develop a proposal on a holistic strategic regional approach for the management of hazardous substances towards the protection of the Baltic Sea marine environment.


The project will review the current management of hazardous substances in the Baltic Sea marine environment and the policy landscape associated with this issue. The work will then focus on exploring holistic and systematic approaches towards a clear framework through which the regional management of hazardous substances can be applied. The HELCOM Expert Group on Hazardous substances and the Source to Sea Working Group will directly review and guide the work of the project. The project will cooperate with other regional processes and projects or relevance (e.g., HAPhazard). The results will be summarised in regional report.

Project partners

The HELCOM Secretariat will lead the work of this project, guided by relevant regional HELCOM Expert and Working Groups.

Funding information

Funding is provided by the Nordic Council of Ministers (Nordic Working Group for Chemicals, Environment and Health (NKE)).

Project duration

August 2023 – June 2024


Mock Employee
Vasileios Kouloumpos

HELCOM Project Coordinator

Mock Employee
Andriy Grafov

HELCOM Project Researcher
Andriy Grafov

Mock Employee
Lotta Ruokanen

Professional Secretary