Adaptation in Baltic Sea Region

The Baltic Sea Region (BSR) comprises eight EU Member States (coloured in dark blue in the map), the neighbouring countries Norway and Belarus, and the north-west regions of Russia. The EU Member States – Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Germany – and Russia are all directly bordering the Baltic Sea. Parts of Norway and Belarus, both no riparian countries, are in the catchment area of the Baltic Sea.

The BSR countries share many different ties of cooperation such as within sustainable development and environmental protection, trade, education, culture and civil security. The geographical and political unity and a certain common cultural background, play an eminent role for establishing close ties. This has facilitated a wide range of integrative processes in the BSR. Various formal and informal cross-border organisations demonstrate the multi­dimensional scale of interaction and constitute regional strength.

Threats to the environment of the Baltic Sea Region

Geographical, hydrological and biological features of the Baltic Sea and its river basins make them very sensitive to threats such as pollution and unsustainable use of natural resources. In the past, human activities have increasingly influenced the Baltic Sea and its ecology, in particular over the past two centuries during which the population has increased and agricultural and industrial activities have intensified. The impacts caused by climate change add to these threats and are projected to jeopardise the integrity of the ecosystem and increase risks caused by natural disasters. The BSR countries have to face the challenges of climate change and its regional and local impacts. Consequently, regional and local adaptation strategies are needed to cope with the inevitable consequences of climate change. (For information on local climate change impacts and national adaptation processes see also the country pages.)

Climate change adaptation in the Baltic Sea Region

The EU developed the first macro-regional strategy in Europe: the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR). One of the EUSBSR's main actions is climate change adaptation.

Under the Horizontal Action "Sustainable Development" and its strategic Action "Climate Change Adaptation", the EUSBSR calls for a BSR-wide climate change adaptation strategy and action plan, focusing on the sea itself and its coastline. The EU-funded Baltadapt project, a CBSS-Baltic 21 Lighthouse and an EUSBSR Flagship project, developed a proposal for a BSR-wide Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan. Both documents address climate change adaptation in an integrative manner for the entire region. They focus on the marine and coastal environment.

Within the Baltadapt project, also this transnational region's sub-section on Climate-ADAPT has been developed. It functions as an information portal compiling available information on climate change impacts and adaptation in the BSR. It is aimed at decision-makers in the region.