The multidisciplinary conference was jointly organized by the strategic research programme Baltic Ecosystem Adaptive Management and Stockholm Environmental Law and Policy Centre, and gathered over 80 scientists, experts and representatives from authorities and interest organisations.

Towards an adaptive legal framework

EU, international and national laws are closely connected to the status of the Baltic Sea environment. The conference thus covered state-of-the-art research and management regarding a legal framework for ecosystem-based management of the Baltic Sea.

- There is clearly a common view that we should manage the Baltic Sea in an ecosystem-based manner and a lot of the ecosystem knowledge has been transferred into policies and strategies, but now there is a need to implement the adaptive approach into a functioning regulatory framework, says Thorsten Blenckner, conference organizer and Associate Professor in aquatic ecology at Stockholm Resilience Centre.

- In the research presented today, we have identified potential for ecosystem-based management within the legal frameworks for the Baltic Sea, says Annika Nilsson, conference organizer and Lecturer at Uppsala University. As environmental law researchers we can easily see the challenges and shortcomings but it is important that we take on the responsibility of managing this potential and that we move forward in trying to develop ways to implement an ecosystem approach all the way into legal decision-making.

Overview and in depth discussions

The day was divided into three thematic sessions: law and ecology, ecosystem-based laws on fisheries and eutrophication and the laws of the Baltic Sea. A concluding panel with special participation by the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management and the Swedish Ministry for the Environment was also held.

- We are very satisfied that there was such interest in our conference and that many participants were so active during our panel discussions. There have been few, if any, academic events before where lawyers, scientists of other disciplines and practitioners have come together to highlight aspects of ecosystem approaches and the law of the Baltic Sea. The conference shows that we should follow up with further steps regarding ecosystem-based regulations for the Baltic Sea environment, says Jonas Ebbesson, conference organizer and Professor of environmental law at the Department of Law at Stockholm University.

Welcome and aim of conference

  • Jonas Ebbesson, Professor, Dean and Director of SELPC
  • Thorsten Blenckner, Associate Professor at Stockholm Resilience Centre and BEAM Network Coordinator

Session 1: Law and ecology

  • Carl Folke, Professor and Scientific Director at Stockholm Resilience Centre: Law and the biosphere
  • Henrik Josefsson, Doctoral Candidate at Uppsala University: At the interfield of law and ecology
  • Ida Reuterswärd, Swedish Ministry of the Environment: Ecosystem based management in Helcom and the EU – experiences of intergovernmental co-operation
  • Panel Discussion

Session 2: Ecosystem-based law on fisheries

  • Gabriel Michanek, Professor at Uppsala University, and Anna Christensen, Postdoc, Swedish Institute for the Marine Environment: Ecosystem based fisheries management
  • Henrik Österblom, Associate Professor at Stockholm Resilience Centre: The Baltic Sea, global actors and global governance
  • Andreas Bryhn, Associate Professor and Senior Researcher at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Resources: Practical experiences with ecosystem-based fishery management: does it exist?
  • Panel Discussion

Session 3: Eutrophication and the laws of the Baltic Sea 

International and EU Law in the Baltic Sea: a Basis for Social-ecological Resilience

  • Brita Bohman, Doctoral candidate at Stockholm University: Prerequisites and potential obstacles to effective legal governance in the Baltic Sea area

Comparative Legal Research on National Approaches

  • Annika Nilsson, Lecturer at Uppsala University, former Postdoc at BEAM: Legal approaches to controlling emissions of nutrients - a comparative search for ecosystem based management
  • Helle Tegner Anker, Professor at Copenhagen University: Report from Denmark
  • Maciej Nyka, Doctor at Gdansk University: Report from Poland
  • Kaarel Relve, Lecturer at University of Tartu: Report from Estonia
  • Annika Nilsson, Lecturer at Uppsala University, former Postdoc at BEAM: Report from Sweden
  • To the country-reports made within the BEAM-project Legal Aspects of the ecosystem approach

Emission trading

  • Katak Malla, Researcher at Stockholm University: Legal prerequisites for a nutrient trading scheme to control eutrophication in the Baltic Sea
  • Panel Discussion

Concluding panel discussion on ecosystem-based legal frameworks for the Baltic Sea

  • Jonas Ebbesson, Professor, Dean and Director of SELPC
  • Anna Jöborn, Head of Science Affairs Department the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (HaV)
  • Ida Reuterswärd, Swedish Ministry of the Environment
  • Henrik Österblom, Stockholm Resilience Centre