The Baltic Shadow Plan: for the future of the Baltic Sea

This shadow plan presents NGO requests to HELCOM for the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) update.

The Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) adopted in 2007, by the Helsinki Convention, had the goal to restore the Baltic marine environment to a good ecological status by 2021. However, the nine Baltic Sea Countries are nowhere near achieving this goal.

The vision of the BSAP for “A healthy Baltic Sea environment, with diverse biological components functioning in balance, resulting in a good environmental/ecological status,” cannot be reached without explicit implementation of the ecosystem approach across all the segments of the Action Plan and engaging all economic sectors and human activities within the Baltic Sea catchment area.

We are in the midst of a biodiversity and climate crisis. Healthy marine and coastal life and habitats are essential to our resilience to ecological and climate breakdown. We are dependent on marine and coastal ecosystems to be healthy and rich so that they can perform their natural functions. We depend on it as a crucial life system and as a protein source, even for those who live inland far from the sea.

The coming decade will be decisive. A collapsed Baltic cod population is the most alarming indication yet, signalling the very real need to change how we manage the entire ecosystem where we continue to fish, build and extract. With brave and sufficient political commitment, we can deliver that change – if we act now.

We call on all the Baltic Sea countries to keep to their commitments of the founding HELCOM BSAP and to strengthen those by adopting the revised 2021 Action Plan that aims to:

  1. lead on the protection and conservation of the marine ecosystems on which livelihoods and all marine sectors ultimately depend;
  2. urge all actors to intensify efforts to safeguard marine biodiversity and recovery of the Baltic Sea and;
  3. invite and engage civil society, stakeholders and rights-holders to work together towards a sustainable blue economy.

Read and download the full Shadow Plan here.