Skip to main content
Maritime Forum

Map of the Week – Regional Sea Conventions

This map shows the maritime regions covered by the Regional Sea Conventions - the Helsinki Convention, the Barcelona Convention, the Bucharest Convention and the OSPAR Convention - on protection of the marine environment.

This map shows the maritime regions covered by the Regional Sea Conventions - the Helsinki Convention, the Barcelona Convention, the Bucharest Convention and the OSPAR Convention - on protection of the marine environment.

Did you know that the Baltic Sea is among the world’s top five most polluted seas? [1] This week, on 11 March 2024, the Save the Baltic Sea hiking team started its expedition across the Baltic. The expedition, which is planned over a period of nine months, spans through eight countries – Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Latvia. The hiking team will hike over a total distance of 6,000 kilometers! Why? Their principal goal is to catalyse action for reducing marine pollution in the eight Baltic Sea countries. Their main message is that, by joining hands, we can save our precious waters and the life within them for future generations. How will they do this? Throughout the hiking expedition, they will:

  1. Raise awareness and draw public attention to the current state of the sea and ways to contribute to its improvement;
  2. Organise educational activities with Baltic Sea science institutes and environmental organisations and invite the citizens of each country to take a closer look at the Baltic Sea and its issues as well as engage in citizen science activities and cleanups; and
  3. Stimulate co-creation of solutions through ‘Living lab’ workshops that will gather local stakeholders and community representatives to search for the most suitable ways to reduce negative impacts on the Baltic Sea in each location.

The project was one of the three winners of the 2023 EU4Ocean Challenge of the Year and thus benefits from support from the EU4Ocean Coalition for Ocean Literacy amongst other partners and allies. It’s great to now see the project in full swing!

The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, also known as the Helsinki Convention (HELCOM), is one of the official partners in the campaign, along with the EU4Ocean Coalition, the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania and a network of scientific institutes and non-governmental organizations from the eight countries. [2] The Helsinki Convention seeks to protect the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution from land, air and sea, as well as to preserve biological diversity and to promote the sustainable use of marine resources. [3] HELCOM will celebrate its 50th anniversary on 25 April 2024. The Save the Baltic Sea project and campaign aims are aligned with HELCOM’s Baltic Sea Action Plan, especially HT27: “Increase knowledge exchange and awareness raising to promote public and stakeholder support and interest in understanding the state of the Baltic Sea and threats to its environment as well as promote opportunities for the general public to participate in citizen science” and HL7: “Launch educational and information campaigns by 2025 to raise public awareness regarding responsible handling of hazardous substances in household chemicals and articles to prevent their release into the environment.” [2]

HELCOM is one of the four cooperation structures in Europe which aim to protect the marine environment and bring together Member States and neighbouring countries that share marine waters. The three other Regional Sea Conventions are the Barcelona Convention, the Bucharest Convention and the OSPAR Convention. In developing their marine strategies, Member States use these existing regional cooperation structures to coordinate among themselves. Explore the Map of the Week to learn about the areas covered by these Regional Sea Conventions.

Do you wish to know more? Do you wish to get involved?

  • Read the State of the Baltic Sea 2023 report to learn about key pressures affecting the Baltic Sea, results of the integrated assessment of these pressures and biodiversity, the impact of measures implemented to reduce pressures and key priorities to improve the state of the Baltic Sea. This report is a synthesis report that builds on, and integrates, results from a wide range of assessment products produced within the Third HELCOM Holistic Assessment of the Baltic Sea 2026-2021 (HOLAS 3).
  • Have a look at the Save the Baltic Sea hiking team’s itinerary, follow the expedition on the dedicated website, register for the project’s newsletter, and, if you are in the Baltic, see how you can meet and support the hiking team!
  • Learn about the upcoming Summer School ‘Ocean Literacy & Collaboration on Nature-Based Solutions for the Baltic and North Seas’ that will be organised on 1-5 July 2024 in Sweden. The Summer School is a project developed by IOC/UNESCO under the EU4Ocean framework and in the context of the UN Ocean Decade (2021-2030), in collaboration with the City of Malmö, the Malmö Marine Education Center and the World Maritime University.

All the best to the hiking team! Looking forward to reading news updates!


Access the map


The data in this map are provided by the European Commission.


[2] and