HELCOM and BONUS tighten collaboration for the good of environmental protection action in the Baltic Sea
The 53rd Meeting of the Head of Delegations (HOD) of HELCOM, which concluded earlier this week in Helsinki, 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 (workshop's conclusion document available on the 53rd HOD meeting site).
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.
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 Meeting web page.
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 is a joint Baltic Sea research and development programme producing knowledge to support development and implementation of regulations, policies and management practices specifically tailored for the Baltic Sea region. It issues calls for competitive proposals and funds projects of high excellence and relevance based on its BONUS strategic research agenda 2011-2020. Half of the funding of the EUR 100 million to BONUS is covered by the national research funding agencies in the eight EU member states around the Baltic Sea and the other half by the EU.