WWF mobilizes for an Integrated Approach
WWF’s vision for the ecoregion is “A healthy, diverse and resilient Baltic Sea, sustainably managed for the benefit of people and nature of the region.” In a nutshell, this means:
- Healthy, resilient ecosystems
- Significantly reduced eutrophication
- Stable healthy populations of commercial fish species such as sprat, herring, cod, salmon and plaice
Our work toward these goals is focused on shaping policy, influencing markets and public outreach and awareness raising. The four strategies are:
- Integrated approach - Promoting integrated sea use management, ecosystem based management and marine spatial planning,
- Addressing eutrophication - Pushing emissions reduction through agricultural policy and practice
- Sustainable shipping
- Smart fishing for the Baltic and its market
We are also taking a cross-cutting approach to addressing climate change.
As one of the most heavily used seas on the planet, the Baltic Sea is a living laboratory and proving ground for innovative approaches, something the Baltic Ecoregion Programme is increasingly known for. We expect that our work will both deliver significant benefits to the Baltic Sea and the surrounding region, and provide a suite of innovative approaches that others around the world can draw from and apply elsewhere in tackling complex ocean governance issues.
The sheer scale of the challenges faced in the Baltic Sea requires a much broader engagement and action of all relevant sectors than exists today. With this in mind, in 2012 WWF launched the Baltic Scenarios process with diverse range of stakeholders across countries, sectors and institutions around the Baltic Sea. The report focuses on what we want the Baltic Sea to look like in 2030, with a view to informing the commitments and action that will take us toward our desired future.
Turning Adversity into Opportunity - A Business Plan for the Baltic Sea
Measures to restore the health of the Baltic Sea could bring €32 billion and 550,000 jobs to the region by 2030. This was one of the findings of an analysis into what it might take to realise the most appealing scenario for the Baltic Sea in 2030, published in a report for WWF by the Boston Consulting Group, ‘Turning adversity into opportunity: A business plan for the Baltic Sea’.
The report concludes that while the Baltic Sea faces severe pressure from eutrophication, hazardous substances and overfishing, the region is uniquely situated to address its challenges. Moreover, there is a global market for the innovations and solutions created by doing so.
Five key recommendations are made to government and business to help improve the environmental state of the Baltic Sea and create business opportunities:
- Focus on key priorities within the main challenges of eutrophication, hazardous substances and overfishing.
- Increase accountability to implement actions already agreed on.
- Take an integrated, cross-governmental and cross-sectorial approach.
- Initiate commercial incentives by tying environmental costs closer to their source.
- Invest to develop the region into a blue and green technology hub.
As the report shows, one sectors’ environmental impact can have large consequences for another sector’s economic development. So it is clear that decisions about the future of the Baltic Sea must be taken with a holistic perspective and an assessment of what is most profitable overall – both from a socio-economic and ecological perspective.
A shared vision is crucial to set the region on a positive trajectory. Taking the discussion beyond environmental ministers and involving the public and private sectors, ministers of finance, enterprise and labour as well as prime ministers is crucial to create a brighter future for the Baltic region.
In order to effectively mainstream ocean and coastal ecosystems into national budgetary and planning processes, we need to find a common language that enables common standards by which to value these important ecosystems…If economic development is to contribute to the sustainable well-being of people, we need to balance a number of components: market and non-market values, living and non-living resources, and uses now and in the future.
During a period of just a few years the phrase, “Blue Economy” has surged into common policy usage, all over the world. However, despite high-level adoption of the Blue Economy concept, there is no widely accepted definition of the term. For some, Blue Economy means the use of the sea and its resources for sustainable economic development. For others, it simply refers to any economic development in the maritime sector.
WWF has therefore designed Principles for a Sustainable Blue Economy to fill a gap in common understanding of this term, as well as in the discussion about it that is currently taking place in policy processes, stakeholder dialogues and sector development strategies. These Principles are intended to inform and facilitate the development of a definition for Blue Economy that can help ensure that the economic development of the ocean contributes to true prosperity, today and long into the future. The Principles can help establish that the conservation of nature and the fair sharing of the ocean’s economic bounty should be built into Blue Economy processes from the beginning.