Report 31 (2011)   

Governing the blue-green Baltic Sea:
Societal challenges of marine eutrophication prevention

Published 29.11.2011

Mia Pihlajamäki & Nina Tynkkynen (eds.)
The Finnish Institute of International Affairs

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Eutrophication is currently regarded as the most serious ecological problem for the whole Baltic Sea. Considering that the Baltic Sea has already been the focus of environmental management efforts for 40 years, it is surprising that in reality the ecological state of the Baltic Sea is not improving. This implies that protective efforts such as international and national policies and regulations, as well as their implementation, have not been effective enough.

Management of Baltic Sea eutrophication is challenged by the complex ecological characteristics of the eutrophication problem, societal differences across the Baltic Sea region, and the multitude of actors involved in governing these efforts. As a consequence, the awareness of the problem of eutrophication, as well as national and sub-national aspirations, the ability to address eutrophication in national policies and the strengthening of policy implementation, varies across the region. Furthemore, the lack of a legal arrangement of Baltic Sea protection to cover all the coastal countries makes the situation intricate.

The ultimate aim of this report is to improve Baltic Sea eutrophication protection by identifying the challenges of more effective Baltic Sea eutrophication governance at national, regional and European Union levels, and the examination of nutrient trading as an instrument to more effectively combat eutrophication. In order to improve Baltic Sea eutrophication governance, the report outlines four sets of measures that, on the basis of the case studies, are urgently needed at various governance levels - ranging from international to local.

This report is based on the key findings of the PROBALT project (Improving Societal Conditions for Baltic Sea Protection), which has between 2009–2011 received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007–2013) under grant agreement n° 217246 made with BONUS, the joint Baltic Sea research and development programme, and from the Academy of Finland, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF, Germany), and the Russian Foundation for Basic Research.