The PROBALT project is funded by through BONUS+, a joint initiative of research funding agencies in the nine Baltic Sea countries and the European Union (see: Bonus portal). The consortium includes researchers from the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, the Department of Economics at the University of Helsinki, the Department of Regional Studies at the University of Tampere, Schleswig-Holstein Institute for Peace Research at the Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel and the European University at St. Petersburg. PROBALT will run through 2009-2011.

Project description:

The PROBALT project suggests that the relative failure to protect the Baltic Sea cannot be explained by the lack of knowledge on ecological restrictions and requirements for the protection, but rather by the failure of transforming scientific knowledge into effective and socially acceptable protective practices. Designing policies is ultimately a social activity that depends on many conditioning socio‐economic, political and cultural factors. Research on the role of such societal factors in the environmental protection of the Baltic Sea is almost nonexistent.

The PROBALT project aims to make the prevention of the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea more effective in three ways. First, it analyzes the societal conditions for the effective protection of the Baltic Sea at three levels: national level, regional level and the European Union level, using an interdisciplinary framework. Second, it provides tools to more effectively combat eutrophication. Third, PROBALT aims at increasing national concern about the state of the Baltic Sea in individual countries. This part of the project is done by engaging the media and training journalists on the politics of the protection of the Baltic Sea. Also, policy‐makers in each country and in Brussels are kept informed about the research results of PROBALT as the project progresses. The goal is form an advocacy coalition that takes a leading role in promoting the protection of the Baltic Sea.

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(Picture: Baltic Sea in March 2000, NASA Visible Gallery; source: Wikimedia Commons)

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