Environmental risk governance in the Baltic Sea area is still unable to fully support implementation of the ecosystem approach to management. Hence, the aims of the international RISKGOV project were: 1) to improve our understanding of environmental risk governance and its challenges in the Baltic Sea; 2) to suggest possible avenues for improvement.
These aims were addressed by integrating social and natural science approaches on five strategically selected environmental risks (eutrophication, overfishing, invasive species, chemical pollution and oil discharges).
The findings, recommendations and dissemination products of RISKGOV are described in detail in the Final report (http://www.sh.se/riskgov). Researchers from Södertörn University were involved in all case studies and cross-case comparisons. In summary, RISKGOV concludes that it is necessary to improve the robustness and responsiveness of governance practices to achieve sustainable ecosystem management. Specifically, RISKGOV recommends that: (i) Governance structures need to move towards more reflexive governance by improving regulatory coordination, cross sector collaboration, and interaction space for reflexivity. This is, for example, exemplified by increased interactions between HELCOM and the EU aiming at the combination of mandatory regulation and voluntary agreements; (ii) Assessment-management interactions require improvements e.g. relating to the regional and interdisciplinary knowledge-base, stakeholder participation and coping with scientific uncertainty and disagreement; (iii) Stakeholder participation and communication require improvements in terms of a more integrated system of stakeholder input possibly via an expansion of HELCOM’s stakeholder involvement policy and enhanced efforts to communicate environmental issues to the general public. Implications of these general recommendations for specific actors and stakeholders were analysed and developed through thematic roundtable discussions.
2012. , 37 p.