Through our collective work to develop, advocate and implement solutions to protect the Baltic and ensure the sustainable use of its resources, we have realized that our own futures and the future of the Baltic Sea are inextricably linked. The 2010 WWF report ‘Future Trends in the Baltic Sea’ highlighted substantial growth projections for the region over the next 20 years. A year later, WWF released its 2011 ‘Scorecard’ report on the degree to which governments around the region were honoring their commitments to environmental agreements and conventions designed to protect and manage the Baltic Sea. The results were disappointing.
These two reports illustrate two overwhelming challenges for the Baltic Sea:
- The tremendous projected growth which will place even more demands on an already over-stressed ecosystem, and
- a governance framework that is both unable to deliver the needed protection for the Baltic Sea today and ill-equipped to meet the oncoming challenges.
The sheer scale of the challenges facing the Baltic Sea requires much broader engagement and action of both the public and private sectors than exists today. It was with this in mind that WWF, with financial support from Trygg Hansa/RSA, launched a Baltic scenarios building process in 2011 which produced a report, 'Counter Currents – Scenarios for the Baltic Sea 2030
', in August 2012. The consultation engaged dozens of regional actors on possible futures for the Baltic Sea in 2030, through a scenario planning exercise and analysis. We asked ourselves what kind of future we really want in the Baltic Sea, in order to begin to define what kind of commitments and action are needed in order to reach this desired future.
Of course we do not know what the future holds. But by describing what is possible tomorrow we can better prepare ourselves for potential actions and responses today.