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Enabling comprehensive effective and efficient protection and restoration measures for a resilient Baltic Sea ecosystem

Project description

A new approach to safeguard Baltic Sea biodiversity

In a race against time, the Baltic Sea region faces the challenge of doubling its marine protected areas to meet the EU Biodiversity Strategy’s ambitious target. With 30 years spent achieving coverage of between 14 % and 17 %, and with almost non-existent strict protection, the clock is ticking to reach 30 % in just 8 years. With this in mind, the EU-funded PROTECT BALTIC project aims to strategically enhance the existing network. This transboundary initiative will establish an unparalleled data-driven evidence base, a regionally agreed protection framework, and concrete support to bridge gaps in protection and restoration efforts. PROTECT BALTIC is set to redefine marien protection in the Baltic Sea, ensuring a sustainable future for its unique biodiversity.


The EU Biodiversity Strategy (BDS) requires expanding the spatial coverage of marine protected areas to 30%, with 10% strict protection. Achieving the current 14-17% coverage has taken the Baltic Sea region 30 years, and strict protection remains almost non-existent. To meet the BDS target the countries will have to double the coverage in just 8 years. To fully capitalize on the added value of increased coverage, designation, management and measures, including restoration, need to be done in a strategic, ecologically relevant way focusing on areas and measures which enhance the existing network and optimise the possibility to secure positive biodiversity outcomes.
There are however substantial challenges facing the region when it comes to leveraging the full potential of upcoming protection and restoration efforts and ultimately, positive biodiversity outcomes, especially in such a tight timeframe.

To ensure that the upcoming efforts are both effective and efficient, this transboundary, network level, biogeographical region scale project will:
- develop infrastructure for, and ensure long term access to, an unparalleled data driven, ecoregion scale, evidence base to support strategic planning, measures and management;
- develop a blue print for, and establish, a data driven, regionally agreed protection framework to improve governance and transboundary cooperation, including politically agreed shared conservation and restoration objectives, targets etc to reach the desired state;
- identify the current baseline of protection efforts across the entire sea basin.
- cross-reference the desired state with the current baseline to identify gaps in protection and restoration efforts;
- provide concrete and replicable support to ensure capacity for the Baltic Sea MS to strategically fill the gaps, harmonise, and achieve the full potential of the protection and restoration efforts.


Net EU contribution
€ 2 635 612,50
00160 Helsinki

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Manner-Suomi Helsinki-Uusimaa Helsinki-Uusimaa
Activity type
Public bodies (excluding Research Organisations and Secondary or Higher Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 2 635 826,25

Participants (16)