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Monday, 5 March 2018

The Baltic Sea, Action Plan and Scorecard; WWF Baltic Ecoregion Report 2018

WWF Report 2018 (pdf file)

"The Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) – widely heralded as the most important agreement to protect and restore our region’s marine environment – was triggered by the political concerns of the mid-2000s and the growing willingness of countries to work together and increase their level of commitment and action. It was with great public enthusiasm that countries jointly agreed, in November 2007, to launch this innovative approach to save the Baltic Sea. Today, however, there are only three years remaining before we reach the target year of 2021 for achieving a healthy Baltic Sea, and the ambitious visions and goals still seem far away. Of course, many aspects regarding the Baltic Sea environment are improving. The emission trends of many pollutants are decreasing thanks to technical measures and strengthened legislation. Some species that were declining are now recovering. Protected areas are increasing in number. But overall, the Baltic Sea environment remains in a critical state due to lack of efficient delivery of measures and management, and several iconic species, including the harbour porpoise, are still threatened or endangered. Countries are still not delivering Despite their expressed ambitions, countries are still not delivering on the political leadership necessary to achieve the original promises of the BSAP. Clear targets were set to monitor and safeguard the implementation progress. National Implementation Plans (NIPs) were developed and reviewed by the Ministerial Meeting of 2010. These were further reviewed by the Ministerial Meeting of 2013 to see if implementation of the NIPs would be sufficient to reach the BSAP goals in time. Neither review fulfilled the initial purpose. A BSAP Implementation Group was established prematurely and consequently abandoned; and no subsequent major effort has been made to secure the financing necessary for BSAP implementation. Unsatisfactory implementation has consistently delayed and prevented the recovery of the Baltic Sea, as clearly shown in the “State of the Baltic Sea 2017” report by HELCOM also known as “HOLAS II”1 . Achieving the original BSAP objectives is not a question of time. It is a question of implementation. The clock is ticking, and today, more than ever before, action is needed to overcome new and growing challenges, including the increasing impacts of climate change, acidification and marine plastic pollution".

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