United Nations
Update of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan
by Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM) (Intergovernmental organization)
HELCOM commits to updating the Baltic Sea Action Plan by 2021, and to include, in the update, increased support for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.Baltic Sea Action Plan is HELCOM's strategic programme of actions and measures for achieving good environmental and ecological status of the Baltic Sea. Since its inception in 2007, it has resulted in a number of environmental improvements such as a reduction in nutrient inputs to the sea, an improved state of biodiversity and a reduction in maritime incidents and spills. The update is meant to strengthen the current plan, while also considering new issues currently not addressed within HELCOM. The update will carry over already agreed actions of the current BSAP as well as include new actions and measures to respond to previously unaddressed environmental challenges such as underwater noise, seabed integrity, pharmaceuticals, and impacts of climate change. Furthermore, the updated BSAP will, at the very least, maintain the same level of ambition as existent in the current plan. In the BSAP update, HELCOM seeks to integrate and support national, regional and global processes aiming at improving the state of the marine environment of the Baltic Sea. This includes the UN Sustainable Development Goals (especially SDG 14 on life below water), global work on the link between oceans and climate, the work carried out within the Biodiversity Convention (CBD) and the EU Member States’ implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. HELCOM also commits itself to consider relevant measures to avoid new sea-based and new land-based input of marine litter and in particular to address waste from ships including abandoned, lost and otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG), litter from touristic activities as well as riverine inputs.
Progress reports
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
Type of commitment
  • Fertilizer use efficiency
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Manure management
  • Nutrient sinks (e.g. constructed wetlands)
  • Other (please specify): Microplastics
  • Coastal clean-ups:
  • Plastics product bans or restrictions :
  • Plastics recovery/recycling/reuse:
  • Other (please specify): Underwater noise
  • Reduce invasive aquatic species introduction:
  • Management of ship-based pollution and/or port waste management:
OTHER POLLUTANTS (please specify)
  • Industrial effluent pre-treatment
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
  • Community or Locally Managed Marine Areas
  • Integrated Coastal Management
  • Marine Spatial Planning
  • Large Marine Ecosystem approach
  • Ecosystem-based Adaptation
By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics
Type of commitment
  • Reduction and elimination fishing practices and gear that destroy/degrade marine habitat
  • Ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF)
  • Reduction of fisheries by-catch and product waste/losses
By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
Type of commitment
  • No take marine protected area
  • Marine protected area with partial protection
  • Multiple use marine protected area
  • Locally or community managed marine areas
  • MPA management and/or enforcement
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
  • Scientific, socioeconomic and interdisciplinary research
  • Data access and sharing
Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want
Type of commitment
  • Strengthening ocean governance, for example through the development of a national ocean policy or regional ocean policy
Update of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan
Other, please specify
Technical expertise and financial contributions from both HELCOM and its Contracting parties
Basic information
Time-frame: 06/2018 - 12/2021
Ocean Basins
  • Arctic Ocean
  • Global
  • North Atlantic
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Contact information
Dominik Littfass, Communication Secretary, dominik.littfass@helcom.fi,
Helsinki, Finland
Other SDGs
United Nations