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The Baltic Sea Challenge

Helsinki & Turku

Detailed description of the Good Practice

The Baltic Sea Challenge is a new way to tackle water protection issues. It is a completely voluntary co-operation programme encouraging diverse actors to analyse their own work from the perspective of saving the sea. The idea is to think of actions that go beyond the bare minimum – beyond actions required by the law. In most cases this requires only positive attitude to think over one’s actions and how to make them Baltic Sea friendly.

By making the commitment and publishing their own action plans in the summer of 2007, the cities of Turku and Helsinki wanted to show other actors that protecting the Baltic Sea is not something that “someone else” should do, but something that should be part of everyone’s daily life.

City co-operation
Water protection

Objectives of the Good Practice

The objective is primarily to protect the Baltic Sea by concrete measures. Another goal is to challenge cities and other actors in the Baltic Sea region to take part in the protection of the Baltic Sea.

Participants of the Good Practice

The cities of Turku and Helsinki initiated the challenge. So far over a hundred actors have approved the challenge.
Actors who took the challenge:

  • cities, municipalities and joint local authorities in Finland
  • cities in other Baltic Sea countries
  • NGOs, societys and interest organisations
  • universities
  • Regional Environmental Centres (Southwest Finland and Uusimaa)
  • shipping companies (Finnlines, Viking Line, Crystal Cruiser, Costa Crociers S.p.A., Saga Shipping Company Ltd., Hapag Lloyds Kreuzfahrten GmbH)
  • other actors (e.g. Finnish Institute of Marine Research, Finnish Maritime Administration, Regional Council of Satakunta, Agrifood Research Finland, Tampere Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Turku Chamber of Commerce, Construction Establishment of Defence Administration, John Nurminen Foundation)

Target group of the Good Practice

The Baltic Sea Challenge aims at improving the state of the Baltic Sea.

More Details of the Good Practice

The Baltic Sea Challenge program is voluntary and open to everyone. It offers a chance to make a difference even with limited resources by re-organizing everyday operations. It concentrates on concrete actions and communicates a positive emphasis on involvement. There are no deadlines or exclusionary criteria to participating. No action is too small; the only prerequisite is that the action aims at saving the Baltic Sea.

The Challenge is being planned, monitored and carried out by a steering group and two co-ordinators. Approximately 600 actors in the Finnish public sector have been challenged so far. These include municipalities, universities and organisations. By September 2008 app. 120 of challenged actors have accepted the Challenge, and 55 have already written and sent their action plans.

Examples of concrete actions by the cities of Turku and Helsinki are various. Both of them are respectively e.g. implementing their sewerage and water supply development plans and establishing common disposal areas for contaminated sediments. New septic tanks have been installed in visitor’s marinas in Helsinki, and in Turku the waste water receiving facilities in the ports have been enhanced. The establishment of two donated professorships and a common Baltic Sea programme is on the way in Helsinki. Turku, on the other hand, has taken part in founding the Protection Fund for the Archipelago Sea.

Documentation and documents


Available files

Contact details

Lotta Ruokanen
City of Helsinki Environment Centre
P.O. Box 500
00099 City of Helsinki
(visiting address Helsinginkatu 24, 3rd floor)
Tel. +358 9 310 33195
Mobile +358 40 334 7078
Fax +358 9 310 31554
E-mail: lotta.ruokanen@hel.fi

Salla-Maria Alanen
Centrum Balticum
Vanha Suurtori 7,
20500 Turku Finland
Phone: +358 40 556 5426

Data sources and references

Baltic Cities Environmental Bulletin 2/2008