Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission


Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission



HELCOM Second Holistic Assessment of the Ecosystem Health of the Baltic Sea

The HOLAS II project gives an update on the overall state of ecosystem health in the Baltic Sea. The assessment follows up on the goals of the Baltic Sea Action Plan, and is developed so that the results can support reporting under the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) by those Contracting Parties to the Helsinki Convention that are also EU member states. 

The project ran from 2014-2018.

A first version of the report was released in mid-2017. The updated report was released in mid-2018.

The results can be accessed via the dedicated web page

​What is in the assessment?

The project develops common concepts and methods for status assessment, and performs assessments at regional scale. HELCOM core indicators form the basis for the assessment of environmental status. Aggregated results are produced using assessment tools, which are developed and tested as part of HOLAS II and supporting projects.

​The main building blocks are:

  1. Distribution of human activities and pressures in the Baltic Sea. Cumulative impacts are assessed using the Baltic Sea Pressure and Impact Index
  2. Indicator results based on HELCOM Core indicators covering key pressures and biodiversity of the Baltic Sea
  3. Integrated status assessments for Biodiversity, Eutrophication and Hazardous substances.
  4. Economic and social analyses to support regional assessments of the use of marine waters and cost of degradation

Project structure

HOLAS II receives technical guidance from the HELCOM group State and Conservation as well as other Working Groups as appropriate. The project is supervised by the Group on the Implementation of the Ecosystem Approach (Gear).

The HOLAS II Core Team guides the project to ensure that national and regional aspects are aligned. The Core Team consists of representative of HELCOM members, which are also national contact points to support the project with expertise and data flow

Supporting projects

The assessments included in HOLAS II have been supported by work of the following projects: CORESET II, EUTRO-OPER, BalticBOOST, TAPAS, SPICE, as well as by the work of HELCOM networks and projects.

Meetings and workshops

For documents and outcomes of the meetings of the HOLAS II Core team and the associated workshops, see “Past meetings” under the HELCOM Meeting Portal

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Lena Bergström
Project Coordinator
HELCOM Secretariat lena.bergstrom(at)
Tel: +358 40 080 3428 
Skype: helcom71

Ms. Maria Laamanen
Project Chair
Ministry of the Environment of Finland
Tel: +358 295250359​

Ms. Jannica Haldin
Professional Secretary​
(Gear, State and Conservation)
Tel: +358 40 485 590