Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

New level reached in coordinated monitoring of the Baltic

An online one-stop-shop – HELCOM – is now launched for all the coordinated monitoring of the Baltic marine environment.  The Manual is a web based compilation of what is monitored, where, when and how, enabling access to timely information on the state of the sea thus providing basis for the best decisions on environmental measures and policies. Moreover, the new Manual makes a link to HELCOM indicators developed to assess the progress towards Good Environmental Status as well as supports directly the reporting of Monitoring programmes to the EU, for the Contracting Parties also being EU member states.The new HELCOM Monitoring Manual translates the general principles of the HELCOM Monitoring and Assessment revised in 2013 into concrete specifications and requirements. Monitoring of the state of the environment and pressures on the environment are all incorporated into the Manual, to better accomplish the HELCOM requirement of regular assessment of the status of the Baltic Sea. The new product is a milestone in the regionally coordinated implementation of both HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan and the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive.  Structure of the Monitoring Manual. Click to enlargeThe Monitoring Manual provides information on 11 main monitoring programmes that are grouped according to 16 thematic programme topics, while the most detailed information is under 40 sub-programmes. The level of regional coordination currently varies between topics while it is the ambition to develop HELCOM coordinated monitoring for all programmes. By 2015, the Monitoring Manual will integrate existing HELCOM manuals and guidelines, for example HELCOM COMBINE, while at present they are still available in their current form.  Monitoring is a well-established function of
the , the founding legal treaty of HELCOM first
signed four decades ago. Coordinated monitoring of physical, chemical
and biological variables of the open sea of the Baltic Sea has been
carried out since 1979, while periodical environmental assessment
reports have been published since the 1980s. Revising the existing as well as establishing new monitoring is a continuous process, which started in 2014 and will continue in the upcoming years. More than a hundred experts have contributed to the HELCOM Monitoring Manual, including the EU co-funded project (2013-2015) managed through HELCOM Secretariat.  * * *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 further information, please contact:Ulla Li ZweifelProfessional SecretaryHELCOMTel. +358 46 850 9198Skype: helcom64E-mail: ullali.zweifel(at) Johanna LaurilaInformation SecretaryHELCOMTel: +358 40 523 8988Skype: helcom70E-mail: johanna.laurila(at)

The HELCOM Monitoring Manual is now launched – a web based compilation of what is monitored, where, when and how, enabling access to timely information on the state of the Baltic Sea.