Toward the Baltic Sea Socioeconomic Action Plan

Open accessAuthors: Markku Ollikainen, Berit Hasler, Katarina Elofsson, Antti Iho, Hans E. Andersen, Mikołaj Czajkowski and Kaja Peterson.

Type of publication: Article peer review

This paper analyzes the main weaknesses and key avenues for improvement of nutrient policies in the Baltic Sea region. HELCOM’s Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP), accepted by the Baltic Sea countries in 2007, was based on an innovative ecological modeling of the Baltic Sea environment and addressed the impact of the combination of riverine loading and transfer of nutrients on the ecological status of the sea and its sub-basins. We argue, however, that the assigned country-specific targets of nutrient loading do not reach the same level of sophistication, because they are not based on careful economic and policy analysis. We show an increasing gap between the state-of-the-art policy alternatives and the existing command-and-control-based approaches to the protection of the Baltic Sea environment and outline the most important steps for a Baltic Sea Socioeconomic Action Plan. It is time to raise the socioeconomic design of nutrient policies to the same level of sophistication as the ecological foundations of the BSAP.

Ollikainen, M., Hasler, B., Elofsson, K. et al. 2019. Toward the Baltic Sea Socioeconomic Action Plan. Ambio 48: 1377.
DOI 10.1007/s13280-019-01264-0