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Enabling comprehensive effective and efficient protection and restoration measures for a resilient Baltic Sea ecosystem

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Funding Programme:

European's Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme


Completion Year:


Contact Person(s):

Jannica Haldin, Project Manager

Cecilia Nyman, Project Coordinator

Paul Trouth, Communications Coordinator

Implementation Period:
Specific Funding Programme:



 €8 481 917.00

About the Project:

PROTECT BALTIC will function as a major contributor towards achieving the biodiversity goals of the Baltic Sea Action Plan, the EU Biodiversity Strategy and the CBD Global Biodiversity Targets in the Baltic Sea. The aim of the work is to ensure sufficient spatial protection, covering both marine protected areas (MPAs) and possible other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs), as well as sufficient restoration of the marine environment. The focus of the work goes beyond striving to simply reach percentual targets, but that doing so needs to be done in a strategic way that ensures securing genuine positive biodiversity outcomes. In other words: PROTECT BALTIC aims to enable our current and future protection efforts to reach their full potential. 

The project takes a multi-avenue, MPA-network level approach to comprehensively address challenges in spatial protection in the Baltic Sea, challenges which are shared by marine areas around the globe. The planned work covers the full spectrum of planning, designation, governance, and management of protection and restoration efforts. This all-encompassing approach enables the project to lay the groundwork for a long term and extensive protection framework for the whole region, one looking beyond national borders and placing ecological relevance and ecosystem function at the core of protection and restoration efforts and decision making. 

PROTECT BALTIC will run from 2023-2028 and aims to create and showcase an unparalleled evidence and infrastructure basis for decision making and spatial protection, identify gaps in protection efforts and address these gaps cohesively and holistically by providing state of the art and concrete solutions for protecting and restoring the Baltic Sea. This includes how to optimise the implementation of spatial protection efforts, how to limit the negative impacts of human activities on the ecosystem, as well as analyzing and expanding on the concept of what needs to be protected, why, where and from what, to beter capture and address the rapidly evolving needs and role of spatial protection under the triple planetary crisis of biodiversity loss, climate change and pollution. 

The ultimate goal, to which the project hopes to concretely contribute, is to revive the Baltic Sea ecosystem so that it can maintain and restore ecosystem functions and provide both short and long-term production of ecosystem services, providing space for both the Baltic Sea and society to thrive.

Project partners:

  1. Baltic Sea Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM) - IGO (Coordinator)    
  2.  Aarhus University (Denmark) 
  3. Coalition Clean Baltic (NGO) 
  4. Danish Ministry of the Environment (Denmark) 
  5. Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Germany) 
  6. Jade University of Applied Sciences (Germany) 
  7. Klaipeda University (Lithuania) 
  8. Luontopalvelut Parks & Wildlife Finland (Finland) 
  9. Ministry of Environment Estonia (Estonia) 
  10. Ministry of Environment Finland (Finland) 
  11. State Services for Protected Areas under the Ministry of the Environment (Lithuania)
  12. Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (Sweden) 
  13. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Sweden) 
  14. University of Tartu (Estonia) 
  15. Åbo Akademi University (Finland) 
  16. Finnish Environment Institute (Finland) 
  17. AKTiiVS (Latvia)