Balancing the agricultural and environmental needs of the Baltic Sea Region

Baltic COMPASS brought together the region's agriculture and environment sectors to combat the eutrophication (nutrient over-enrichment) of the Baltic Sea and its catchment area.

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Sloping fields in South West Finland equipped with buffer strips and vegetation to reduce nutrients leaching into the river. © Eija Hagelberg Sloping fields in South West Finland equipped with buffer strips and vegetation to reduce nutrients leaching into the river. © Eija Hagelberg

" Baltic COMPASS helped the agricultural sector in the Baltic Sea Region find ways to produce the daily food required by the region’s 90 million inhabitants, while preserving the Baltic Sea. If the measures recommended under the project are successfully implemented across the region, they will make a real difference to the Baltic Sea. "

Ola Palm, Swedish institute of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering (JTI)

Key stakeholders including government authorities, specialist institutes, farmers’ organisations and companies have introduced more efficient agro-environmental policies, shared innovations and best practices, created scientific scenarios and invested in environmental technologies to deal with the problem. They have also aimed at remedying the gaps in stakeholders' management capacity and crucially, they succeeded in building mutual trust among key players in both the environmental and agricultural sectors.

Win-win solutions

Expected long term results of this transnational project include new strategies to reduce eutrophication, stronger links between agricultural and environmental interests and more cost-efficient policy actions. It is also hoped that Eastern and Western countries will become more integrated, which is in line with the EU's Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. By combining and disseminating their unique knowledge and experiences, the stakeholders have also paved the way for improved agro-environmental awareness across the region. This will result in win-win solutions for agriculture and the environment without weakening the competitiveness of the agricultural sector.

Of major significance for the project was its partnership with two concurrent agri-environmental projects: Baltic Deal and Baltic Manure. The most visible outcome of this collaboration is the “Greener Agriculture for a Bluer Baltic Sea” Stakeholder Conference which has been held since 2010 and has grown into the most important event for agro-environmental stakeholders in the region.

Transnational approach

Baltic COMPASS grew out of various land use, agriculture, and water projects related to the protection of the Baltic Sea. The project was a response to the need for a transnational approach to reduce eutrophication of the Baltic Sea and to build management capacity to deal with international frameworks, EU directives and the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP).

A follow up project known as Baltic Compact aims to strengthen the impact of the project’s results with a heavy focus on sustainable biogas production and advanced field drainage technologies.

The Baltic COMPASS project involved 22 partners from eight countries along the Baltic Sea and Belarus. The project created at least 5 new staff positions, some of which have become permanent.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project extension of the “Baltic COMPASS” is EUR 6 603 210 of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 4 351 748 from the Operational Programme “Baltic Sea Region” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

Draft date

22/05/2015

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