HELCOM holistic assessment 

The HELCOM holistic assessments of the ecosystem health of the Baltic Sea are reoccurring, transboundary, cross-sectoral assessments that look at the effects of our activities and measures on the status of the environment. The knowledge produced through these assessment processes supports environmental policy and is incorporated into the ecosystem-based management of the Baltic Sea, as well as into national, regional and global measures.

These holistic assessments cover a broad range of topics relevant to the state of the ecosystem, environmental pressures, societal drivers and the effects on human well-being.

The assessment presented here, the third HELCOM holistic assessment of the state of the Baltic Sea (HOLAS 3), also specifically enables tracking our progress towards the implementation of the 2021 HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan goals and objectives. It also functions as a regional contribution to the reporting required under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive for those HELCOM Contracting Parties that are also EU Member States, and it may support achievement of or reporting under other international policy initatives, e.g., the UN Sustainability Development Goals.

The holistic assessments cover ‘moments’ in time over the dynamic life history of the Baltic Sea, supporting the adaptive development of assessment methods, measures and policies. The third HELCOM holistic assessment focuses on describing the status for the years 2016-2021, contributing to our ambition at HELCOM to develop, update and share knowledge about the state of the Baltic Sea environment.

State of the Baltic Sea 2023 — The third HELCOM holistic assessment (HOLAS 3)

State of the Baltic Sea 2023 is a synthesis report that builds on, and integrates, results from a wide range of assessment products produced within the third HELCOM holistic assessment. Its role is to link information from the underpinning assessment products together, thus highlighting the holistic aspects. With this in mind, the summary report focuses on presenting the results and on an in-depth look at why we are seeing these results, providing over-arching context and analysis. The report helps develop a clearer picture of where we are and how things are connected, supporting coordinated and effective measures to strengthen the Baltic Sea environment.