What states can do to adapt to climate change in the Baltic Sea

Andrea Keessen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


States can play a key role in adaptation to climate change. Given the transboundary nature of the Baltic Sea, its coastal states have much to gain from cooperation to tackle eutrophication and flood risks. Since eight out of nine coastal states are EU Member States, the EU is expected to steer their efforts. Indeed, EU legislation and the EU adaptation strategy, including one specifically for the Baltic Sea Region are in place to activate state actors. They cover crucial aspects for the management of the Baltic Sea, namely reducing eutrophication and managing flood risks. However, despite the holistic goals – achieving good environmental status and reducing the adverse effects of flooding – these Directives mainly prescribe assessments and the adoption of plans. It is left to the coastal states to design ambitious objectives and take measures or rather rely on exemptions. While all coastal states have strategies in place, progress in the achievement of these goals is not easy to measure. With regard to environmental protection, HELCOM fills this gap by providing additional steering and coordination through more stringent targets for nutrients, which address the impact of climate change on eutrophication. With regard to flood risks, the Council of the Baltic Sea States seems to have started to consider taking a similar role by developing a more concrete and coordinated flood risk strategy for the marine region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-300
Number of pages5
JournalMarine Policy
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


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