Adaptation in Baltic Sea Region

Policy Framework

The European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) is the first macro-regional strategy in Europe. It aims at reinforcing cooperation within this large region in order to face various challenges and promotes a more balanced development in the area. The Strategy also contributes to major EU policies.

The EUSBSR was approved by the European Council in 2009. In this respect, it provides an integrated framework in order to, for example, improve the environmental condition of the sea. The EUSBSR works along three main objectives, 17 priority areas and 5 horizontal actions. The main objectives are:

  • save the sea,
  • connect the region, and
  • increase prosperity.

The Strategy aims at bringing together initiatives in different sectors (growth, sustainable development etc.) and promoting cooperation between stakeholders in the BSR. It also promotes Flagship projects and contributing projects funded in the BSR. These projects have a macro-regional impact and start from joint initiatives involving different countries.

Implementation of the EUSBSR requires active participation of all actors and stakeholders involved in the process – not only at the national level but at all levels of governance. The Strategy and its deriving Action Plan address climate change mitigation and adaptation under its objective "Increase Prosperity" and within the Horizontal Action "Sustainable Development".

The proposal for a BSR-wide Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan

The Baltadapt project was established to develop a proposal for a BSR-wide Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan (executive summary), with a focus on the water body and coastline of the Baltic Sea. The proposal for the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy emerged from a consultation process among relevant policy-makers and stakeholders. It was designed to provide a framework to strengthen cooperation and information sharing within the region and to create a coherent set of local and transnational adaptation policies and actions. It is accompanied by a proposal for an Action Plan which summarises recommended actions and proposed guidelines for climate change adaptation in the BSR.

The implementation and viability of both documents depend on subsequent political endorsement and ownership, which exceeds the mandate of the Baltadapt project. Within the framework of the EUSBSR, the Horizontal Action Leader "Sustainable Development" is paving the way for further negotiations on the proposal documents in close consensus-oriented dialogue with all relevant stakeholders as "work in progress". This is meant to ensure that both the proposed BSR-wide Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and the Action Plan address the main macro-regional challenges, meet the needs for truly transnational cooperation in this field and to create ownership among the main implementing bodies.

The overriding goal of the proposal for the BSR-wide Climate Change Adaptation Strategy is "a connected region with informed actors on all levels responding to climate change in a way that ensures prosperity, competiveness, as well as clean water, and rich and healthy wildlife in the Baltic Sea and its coastal zones". It sets out ten goals with relevant visions and actions to be fulfilled by 2020. These include sharing a macro-regional knowledge base, mainstreaming adaptation in BSR relevant policies, acknowledging adaptation in existing cooperation and funding of adaptation measures. Based on these overriding goals, four sectors of main relevance for the prosperity of the BSR were identified: tourism, fisheries and agriculture, infrastructure, and biodiversity.


In case of a political endorsement of the proposed BSR-wide Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan in all riparian countries of the BSR, both adaptation framework documents will be updated regularly and further developed within the Horizontal Action Sustainable Development with the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) Secretariat as leader.

However, many transnational organisations are part of the climate change adaptation process in the BSR. They have already participated in the Baltadapt project consultation process and are important platforms for the coordination and implementation of actions and policies on climate change adaptation in the BSR. To learn more about these organisations, please visit also the database.