Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

Recording now available: Baltic Stakeholder Conference – Climate Change in the Baltic Sea, Day 1

More than 200 participants joined online to learn more about the regional effects of climate change in the Baltic Sea, on the first day of the Baltic Stakeholder Conference (BSC2022) on 26 September 2022. The recording is now available. The full outcome, including the summaries of the second day workshops, will be uploaded to the event web page later.

The effects of climate change are already evident in the Baltic Sea. However, they are often not easy to understand and can be difficult to distinguish from other anthropogenic pressures. There is large variation between different regions in the Baltic Sea, ruling out simple management solutions.

One key purpose of the Conference was to present the key outtakes of the Climate Change in the Baltic Sea Fact Sheet, as well as present the outcomes of the HELCOM Blue Carbon Workshop. Moreover, the 1-hour panel was organized to particularly stimulate and gather views on climate change mitigation and adaptation from policymakers, research community and other stakeholders in the Baltic Sea region.

The Conference was moderated by Jannica Haldin, Deputy Executive Secretary of HELCOM.

Key outtakes

Opening remarks

Delivered by: Sebastian Unger, First Marine Commissioner, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection of Germany; Marcus Reckermann, Head of the International Baltic Earth Secretariat; and Rüdiger Strempel, Executive Secretary, HELCOM

  • Humankind is in essence fully dependent on healthy oceans as allies in the fight against climate change. It is crucially important to tackle the current triple crises of climate change, biodiversity and pollution also impacting the Baltic Sea marine environment.
  • Collaboration between HELCOM and Baltic Earth, a key alliance underlying the Conference, has lasted for close to twenty years and can be viewed as a model for channelling scientific findings into the regional political process. The most recent joint publication of the two organizations is the 2021 Climate Change Fact Sheet.
  • Climate change impacts and risks are becoming increasingly complex and more difficult to manage, states the 2022 IPCC Assessment Report. The global community, following e.g. the Paris Agreement context, as well all the commitments made at the national level, play a crucial part on climate change mitigation, while the regional level efforts, such as the new climate actions set in the 2021 HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan update, are prominent in tackling the challenges regionally, at a sea basin level.

Climate Change in the Baltic Sea – state of affairs

Diving deeper into the topic through keynote presentations (available here):

  • Baltic Earth/HELCOM fact sheet on climate change in the Baltic Sea. Markus Meier, Chair of the Baltic Earth Science Steering Group, Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde
  • Blue Carbon in the Baltic Sea Region – Excerpts from HELCOM Workshop 2021. Manuela Krakau, Scientific Officer, German Environment Agency (UBA)
  • Climate projections for the Baltic Sea Region. Erik Kjellström, Climate researcher, Swedish Meteorological Hydrological Institute (SMHI)


  • Johanna Källén Fox, Director, WWF Baltic Ecoregion Programme
  • Markus Meier, Chair of the Baltic Earth Science Steering Group, Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde
  • Henna Rinne, Senior Specialist, Ministry of the Environment of Finland
  • Evija Šmite, Chair of HELCOM, Deputy Director General and the Director of Fisheries Control Department, State Environmental Service of Latvia
  • Rüdiger Strempel, Executive Secretary, HELCOM

What is the added value of regional level work to climate change mitigation?

  • For creating a healthy ecosystem that is resilient, we need cooperation, as we all know that the sea knows no boundaries. The less we do in mitigation, the more we will have to do in the adaptation later. Blue carbon could be a good goal.
  • Baltic Sea region is rather specific in many respects, there are many stressors acting on the ecosystem both at sea and from land which differ from any other place in the world.
  • Having a regional perspective in climate adaptation certainly has added value of, as many aspects – mitigation, Marine Protected Areas, climate refugees, among others – really make it necessary to consider climate change in regional account.
  • The Climate Change Fact Sheet concisely sets the scene for the work that needs to be done, and it takes well into account the complexities of different human uses, biodiversity etc. Identifying the links is essential in the Baltic Sea protection and HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan has nicely included them.
  • One should “think globally, act regionally”, not only locally. Regional cooperation is crucial and necessary, and a well-functioning regional organization is fundamental in succeeding in it.
  • Baltic Sea Region has traditionally cooperated, beyond HELCOM, for centuries. Other advantages are avoid duplication of efforts and maximizing synergies, for more efficient results.

No time to lose

  • We also have a problem with time scales: impacts of climate change are documented to come faster than expected. Will we lose the natural Baltic Sea carbon storage capacity faster than we can act?
  • Moreover, climate change is also complex in terms of needs for society and environment to leave space for nature “do its job” to naturally recover, which takes time.  
  • We must act with limited knowledge already now; the uncertainties are large, but we know now more than, there is a lot of information that we can already now use in marine management. And at the same time, we constantly increase our knowledge.
  • The problem of climate change has been known for decades and we are now on the crises stage. Nevertheless, we also have good goals and targets already in place in the Baltic Sea region, we are definitely not starting from scratch neither regionally or nationally.
  • The costs of inactions must be made aware of, all of us have a way to make our voices heard higher in the political agenda – and stay there.

About BSC2022

Centered around the theme of climate change in the Baltic Sea, the Baltic Stakeholder Conference – Climate Change in the Baltic Sea (BSC2022) was part of the efforts to disseminate knowledge on the regional effects of climate change. The Conference was held online on 26-27 September 2022, hosted by Germany (German Environment Agency, UBA, and the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation in Germany, BfN) and Baltic Earth. The webinar on Day 1 was open to all, and the workshop on Day 2 by invitation only.