Improving the ecological wellbeing of the Baltic Sea
Small steps to greater impact
Although 97% of the Baltic Sea is currently still affected by eutrophication, the sea has experienced substantial environmental improvements thanks to various efforts done in the catchment area. The intensity of the spring blooms was reduced between 2000 and 2014 due to reductions in nutrient loading, and there has been a decrease in nitrogen concentrations in most of the Baltic Sea and an improvement in water clarity.
The Baltic Sea Action Plan was adopted by the HELCOM countries in 2007 to restore the ecological status of the Baltic marine environment. The plan was updated in 2021 and includes almost 200 actions focused on issues addressed in the original BSAP, such us biodiversity, eutrophication, hazardous substances, shipping and fisheries. It also includes new actions on marine litter, pharmaceuticals, underwater noise, and seabed disturbance.
About the BSAP Fund
The Baltic Sea Action Plan Fund (BSAP Fund) was set up in 2010 to help speed up the implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan. The key purpose of the BSAP Fund is to facilitate and speed up the preparation of bankable projects from both public and private entities. To date, these grants have accelerated investments by up to two years, speeding up the implementation of the projects and their environmental benefits for the Baltic Sea.
Since the establishment of the BSAP Fund, 38 projects with demonstrable effects have been completed. The projects are spread across the Baltic Sea region including Estonia, Finland, Russia, Sweden, and Belarus, as part of the Baltic Sea catchment area. Most of the financed projects involve nutrient recycling, manure management, small-scale sanitation plants, wastewater treatment, alternative fuels, or harbour facilities for wastewater management.
Sweden and Finland initiated the BSAP Fund in 2010. The fund is co-managed by Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) and Nefco.
Available financing and eligibility criteria
Selected proposals may receive grant financing from EUR 30,000 to EUR 200,000 subject to certain co-financing requirements.
Financing can be awarded to commercial or non-commercial partners for projects in the Baltic Sea Region and its catchment area for:
- Demonstration purposes
- Project development and preparation
- Project implementation
- Institutional support
Eligible project activities can include, but are not limited to:
- Fighting eutrophication
- Measures to reduce land-based nutrient inputs
- Measures to improve nutrient recycling
- Measures to manage internal nutrient reserves (in coastal areas) in line with the pre-cautionary principle and HELCOM’s Ministerial Declaration 2018
- Measures to address pollution by hazardous substances
- Measures to reduce marine litter
- Projects and measures that address one or several areas highlighted in the updated Baltic Sea Action Plan
See the eligibility criteria under Related publications.
How to apply
The BSAP Fund can finance new initiatives and support activities that have been developed from previous application calls. The last call for applications for the BSAP Fund ended in December 2021. Next call for applications will be announced autumn 2022.