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HELCOM and BONUS tighten collaboration for the good of environmental protection action in the Baltic Sea -

HELCOM Heads of Delegation (HODs) note the contribution of BONUS projects to policy-making, including the upcoming HELCOM Ministerial Meeting: The 53rd Meeting of the HODs has taken note of recent policy-related results from a number of BONUS projects related to topics of biodiversity protection and marine protected areas, nutrients, social and economic analysis, and climate change. These policy messages stem from discussions at a HELCOM-BONUS workshop held on 6 November 2017.

Besides welcoming the HELCOM-BONUS workshop, the representatives of the Baltic Sea countries and EU also acknowledged the crucial contribution of the BONUS research programme to the recent work of HELCOM and to solid scientific basis for policy measures. As to the future, the meeting highlighted a need for research support regarding cumulative impact of multiple stressors on species and habitats and on the entire ecosystem of the Baltic Sea. One of the overarching conclusions of the joint workshop based on the results of various BONUS projects was the profound effect of climate change on all parts of the Baltic ecosystem, in particular on the distribution of species and genetic diversity in the Baltic Sea. Hence, the workshop considered it to be of key importance to include climate change as an integrated aspect of measures for biodiversity as well as for nutrient reduction, and in this way ensure that measures are in place to mitigate impacts from climate change. Further results of the BONUS projects will be presented at the next BONUS Symposium “Sustainable ecosystem governance under changing climate and land use in the Baltic Sea region”, planned to take place 14–16 March 2018 in Gdansk, Poland. Monika Stankiewicz, Executive Secretary of HELCOM, sees the new BONUS results as very timely to underpin the strengthening of the implementation of the HELCOM agreements. “The upcoming HELCOM Ministerial Meeting will consider the needed steps to accomplish the Baltic Sea Action Plan by 2021 as well as will decide on a future update of the Action Plan. The new scientific results from BONUS support the ongoing negotiations leading up to these major policy decisions at the Ministerial Meeting”, said Stankiewicz. “We are most pleased with the continued strengthening of the synergies between BONUS and HELCOM. We also look forward to jointly organising a HELCOM-BONUS stakeholder conference later in 2018, which the now concluded HOD meeting also welcomed. This will be important to further disseminate BONUS results as well as build synergies across the region, Europe and wider”, concluded Kaisa Kononen, Executive Director, BONUS. For further reading and list of BONUS projects at the workshop, visit 15 Dec 2017. Note for editors The 2018 HELCOM Ministerial Meeting will be held on 6 March in Brussels, Belgium, under the EU chairmanship of HELCOM. The Ministers of the Environment of the nine Baltic coastal states and the EU Environment Commissioner will gather to discuss the status and the future of the Baltic Sea marine environment. The outcome of the 2018 Ministerial Meeting is expected to revolve around new actions to meet the Sustainable Development Goals in the Baltic Sea, strengthening implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan by 2021, and adjusting the Baltic Sea Action Plan based on new knowledge and future challenges. More information on the HELCOM website (meetings). The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as HELCOM, is an intergovernmental organization of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union. HELCOM has worked since 1974 to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region. HELCOM is the governing body of the "Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area," more usually known as the Helsinki Convention. BONUS produces knowledge to support development and implementation of regulations, policies and management practices specifically tailored for the Baltic Sea region. It issues calls for proposals and funds projects of high excellence and relevance based on its strategic research agenda 2011-2020. Funding of EUR 100 million is provided by the national research funding agencies and the EU.


Baltic Sea, environmental protection, science, research, policymaking, policies, sustainable development, collaboration, ecosystem based management


Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Sweden