The ambitious programme adopted by the Baltic Sea countries and the EU contains about 200 concrete actions and measures –  a new funding round for Baltic Sea projects is opening soon

The way towards a healthy Baltic Sea was charted during the HELCOM Ministerial Meeting 2021, held on 20 October 2021. In this meeting, the Baltic Sea countries and the EU adopted the updated Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP).

The updated Baltic Sea Action Plan provides a roadmap for improving the ecological state of the Baltic Sea over the next ten years. It contains about 200 concrete actions and measures addressing biodiversity, eutrophication, hazardous substances, and sea-based activities such as shipping and fisheries. It also includes new actions on emerging or previously less focussed on pressures such as climate change, marine litter, pharmaceuticals, underwater noise, and seabed disturbance. All the actions are to be implemented by 2030 at the latest.

Roadmap for improving the ecological state of the Baltic Sea

“This is a good day for the Baltic Sea and its marine environment,” says Rüdiger Strempel, Executive Secretary of HELCOM, a regional sea organisation of which all Baltic Sea countries and the EU are a party. “With the updated Baltic Sea Action Plan, we now have a clear-cut roadmap for improving the ecological state of our sea over the next ten years.”

Initially adopted in 2007 by the nine Baltic Sea countries and the EU, which constitute the HELCOM Contracting Parties, the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) is HELCOM’s strategic programme of concrete actions and measures for a healthy Baltic Sea. The HELCOM Contracting Parties agreed on the update of the BSAP in 2018 when it became clear that the goal of a good environmental status of the Baltic Sea would not be attained by 2021.

“The BSAP remains one of the most effective tools at our disposal for achieving the ecological objectives we have envisioned for the Baltic Sea, which is why the HELCOM countries decided to update it. Successful implementation of the BSAP and attaining its goals on biodiversity, eutrophication, hazardous substances and litter, and sea-based activities is a prerequisite for attaining our overall objective of a healthy Baltic Sea,” said Strempel.

Funding for new projects available from the Baltic Sea Action Plan 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 BSAP Fund is funded by Sweden and Finland and co-managed by Nefco and the Nordic Investment Bank. It has provided funding for 38 already completed projects and 20 projects that are currently active. During the latest call for applications in 2020, 15 projects from four countries were approved with a total sum of EUR 1.5 million.

“We have found the Baltic Sea Action Plan Fund useful,” says Krista Mikkonen, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, who represented Finland at the HELCOM Ministerial Meeting. “We would like to see continuation and replenishment of the Fund with wider participation by Contracting Parties”, Minister Mikkonen encouraged others.

The BSAP Fund is about to launch a call for proposals for the implementation of concrete projects addressing the actions highlighted in the updated BSAP. Sectors covered by the BSAP Fund include wastewater treatment, improved agricultural techniques, recycling of nutrients, alternative fuels for ships, and hazardous waste and marine litter. 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 preparation and development, project implementation, and institutional support.

The BSAP Fund will launch a new call for proposals on 22 October 2021. Please visit nefco.int/bsap for more information about the application process and criteria.

For further information, please contact:

Dennis Hamro-Drotz, Senior Investment Manager, Nefco
dennis.hamro-drotz@nefco.int, (+358) 010 6180 641

About the Baltic Sea Action Plan Fund

The aim of the Baltic Sea Action Plan Fund is to help fund concrete projects, small or large, and, regardless of national borders, initialise promising solutions that can be scaled up. Over the past decade, the Baltic Sea Action Plan Fund, which is co-managed by Nefco and the Nordic Investment Bank and funded by the governments of Sweden and Finland, has provided funding to 38 already completed projects, and it currently has close to 20 active projects. These projects are spread out across the Baltic Sea watershed, including Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and Sweden. Read more: nefco.int/bsap