The 7th BONUS Forum and the 8th HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan Stakeholder Conference

6 November 2018, Park Inn by Radisson Copenhagen Airport

The Conference reinforced and developed the synergies of HELCOM and BONUS in association with key strategic actors in northern European regional seas –  OSPAR, ICES, JPI Oceans – in efforts related to environmental policy and sustainable development of the northern European regional seas.

Future work by these strategic actors on implementing and strengthening key sustainability policies such as e.g. UN 2030 Agenda, the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP), the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the EU Blue Growth Agenda create a further demand for new knowledge and information. Continued dialogue and enhanced cooperation between research and policy, both inside and outside the Baltic Sea region, is the mechanism needed to fulfil these knowledge needs.

HELCOM and OSPAR have both recently published comprehensive assessments on the ecosystem health of the seas (the State of the Baltic Sea report and the Intermediate Assessment respectively). In addition to providing information on the state of the environment and on gaps and future research needs, these reports will guide future regional policy e.g. the 2021 update of the Baltic Sea Action Plan update, as mandated by the 2018 HELCOM Brussels Ministerial Meeting.

Structured around the shared UN 2030 Agenda’s sustainable development goals i.e. SDGs 13 (climate action), 14 (oceans) and 15 (life on land), the conference presented research and innovation results to support progress towards implementing key marine policies, derived from several BONUS projects ending in 2018. Focus was placed on dialogue between policy and science, as well as discussing future research priorities and needs from the policy perspective.

Broadening the scope of the current BONUS to form a northern European regional seas research and innovation programme[1] was addressed with particular focus on how the programme can provide support for the environmental policy and sustainable blue growth agendas both in the Baltic Sea and North Sea regions.


09:00  Registration, coffee, tea and exhibition

10:00  Words of welcome – Monika Stankiewicz, Executive Secretary, HELCOM, Andris Andrusaitis Acting Executive Director, BONUS

10:10  Introduction of the day – Moderator Ottilia Thoreson, Director of WWF Baltic Sea Ecoregion

            Setting the scene: Andris Andrusaitis Acting Executive Director and Jannica Haldin, Professional Secretary, HELCOM

10:30  Introduction to State of the Baltic Sea Assessment results – Ulla Li Zweifel, HOLAS II Project Manager, HELCOM Ulla Li Zweifel presentation

10:45  Introduction to OSPAR Intermediate Assessment results – Andrea Weiss, German Environment Agency Andrea Weiss presentation

11:00  Research and innovation for sustainability:

            Setting the scene: Professor Erik Bonsdorff, Åbo Akademi: 

            Baltic Sea biodiversity under multiple human induced threats – will the ecosystem adapt? Erik Bonsdorff PRESENTATION

11:20 New research and innovation for sustainability with focus on biodiversity:

SDG link



13 & 14

Food webs of the future Baltic

Laura Uusitalo (BONUS BLUEWEBS) presentation

13 & 14

The Baltic as a time machine for future global coastal ocean

Jan Dierking (BONUS BIO-C3) presentation

13 & 14

Why genetic biodiversity of the Baltic Sea matters?

Kerstin Johannesson (BONUS BAMBI) presentation

13 &14

Towards spatially explicit management of fishery resources of the sea

Henn Ojaveer (BONUS INSPIRE) presentation


State of the eastern Baltic Sea cod stock– symptoms of changes in the ecosystem

Piotr Margonski (ICES and BONUS BIO-C3 ) presentation

13 & 14

Ocean acidification in the Baltic Sea through novel ecosystem monitoring approaches

Gregor Rehder (BONUS INTEGRAL) presentation

13 & 14

The importance of a healthy seafloor in the mitigation of eutrophication

Anna Vilnäs (BONUS COCOA and HYPER) presentation

12:30  Discussion, policy panel on stage to provide input on future policy needs in relation to biodiversity:

            Maria Laamanen, Counsellor, Ministry of the Environment, and HELCOM Head of delegation

            Sigi Gruber, Head of Marine Resources Unit, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission

            Mark Dickey-Collas, Chair of the ICES Advisory Committee  

13:00  Lunch and exhibition

14:00  New research and innovation for sustainability with focus on human dimension:

SDG link



13, 15

Towards spatially differentiated regulation to reduce nutrient loads to the Baltic Sea

Jens-Christian Refsgaard (BONUS SOILS2SEA) presentation

13, 14, 15

Role of changing society in managing the future Baltic Sea ecosystem

Marianne Zandersen (BONUS BALTICAPP) presentation

13, 14

Cumulative effects of multiple stressors on the key species and food webs

Rune Dietz (BONUS BALTHEALTH) presentation


The impact of microplastics on the Baltic Sea ecosystem

Sonja Oberbeckmann (BONUS MICROPOLL) presentation


Maritime spatial planning (MSP) aspects in biodiversity protection

Henning Sten Hansen (BONUS BASMATI) presentation


Mitigation using mussels: An option in the Baltic?

Jens Kjerulf Petersen (BONUS OPTIMUS) presentation

15:00  Discussion, policy panel on stage to provide input on future policy needs in relation to the human dimension:

            Jakob Granit, Director General, Swedish Agency for Marine and water Management SWAM

            Andrea Weiss, German Environment Agency

            Åsa Bjering, Executive Secretary of the Baltic Sea Commission CPMR 


15:30  Beyond Baltic Sea towards sustainable blue growth in the northern European regional seas:

            How to fill the policy needs for sustainability of two regional seas? A dialogue between strategic research and science partners

            Andris Andrusaitis, Acting Executive Director, BONUS EEIG 

            Anne Christine Brusendorff, General Secretary, ICES

            Jacky Wood, Acting Executive Director, JPI Oceans

16:00  Discussion and wrap-up remarks by Monika Stankiewicz, Executive Secretary, HELCOM 

16:30  END                       

[1] BONUS successor programme’s Coordination and Support Action (CSA) in years 2018-2020 sets out to create the necessary conditions for durable coordination of research and innovation efforts in northern European regional seas by preparing a framework for launching a joint Baltic Sea and the North Sea research and innovation programme. The outcome of this is to ensure that the future joint programme achieves high level of scientific, administrative and financial integration, and generates strong EU added value and impact.