Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

Holistic Baltic Sea assessment kick-started

​The hands-on work has now started for the holistic assessment on the ecosystem health of the entire Baltic Sea area, orchestrated by HELCOM for the second time, as the core team that will carry out the project in Helsinki, Finland. The sealed the agreement to prepare such an overarching assessment.  Updating assessment tools as well as pressure and impact indices are parts of the next comprehensive assessment of the Baltic Sea. Photo: Wiesława CielątkowskaAt large, the second holistic assessment will help evaluate progress towards reaching the goals and objectives of HELCOM Baltic Sea Action . It will also be used, for HELCOM countries that are EU member states, as a joint report in the 2018 assessment of the Baltic Sea that is required by the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Starting now will allow for sufficient time to prepare a high quality product for serving to the deadline. The report will follow up the first one from 2010 and as a part of the project, the common existing tools for assessing the pressures on and status of the environment will be updated. Moreover, social and economic analyses of the use of the Baltic Sea will be part of the assessment. Such comprehensive assessments of the Baltic Sea should be conducted ever six years to ensure up-to-date information and a solid basis for decisions on policies and measures. Furthermore, as stated in the HELCOM Monitoring and Assessment from 2013, the forthcoming assessment will build on indicators. At present, thirty HELCOM core indicators are close to finalization, most of them being indicators of the state of the environment. The development work is still ongoing and will further shape the work on the second holistic assessment.  * * * The Second holistic assessment on the ecosystem health of the Baltic Sea will:Update HELCOM assessment tools, most prominently for biodiversity, hazardous substances and the Baltic Sea Pressures and Impact indices.>Carry out the assessment based on the Drivers – Pressures – State – Impact – Response framework, by establishing a clear link between human activities and drivers behind them; pressures; impact on the state of the environment as well as on society; and response in terms of measures taken to strive for the good environmental status. Work towards operational assessments, aiming at HELCOM assessments being fully operational and increasingly automated, so that the assessment can be carried out efficiently.  of the core group meeting 16-17 December 2014 * * * Note for editors:The 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:Ulla Li Zweifel Professional Secretary HELCOM Tel. +358 46 850 9198 Skype: helcom64 E-mail: ullali.zweifel(at) Johanna Laurila Information Secretary HELCOM Tel: +358 40 523 8988 Skype: helcom70 E-mail: johanna.laurila(at) 

Second HELCOM holistic assessment will help evaluate progress of the Baltic Sea Action Plan and also assist in joint reporting for EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive in 2018.