Concluding article: The changing regulatory landscape of the Baltic Sea – An analysis

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The concluding chapter summarises the contributions of the special issue and draws cross-sectoral conclusions on the trends in development. The chapter analyses the findings of the BaltReg-project, an inter-disciplinary project that focused on the governance structures in the BSR and changes within those structures. Aspects of BSR governance are studied through a legal and a social science perspective. The research firstly provided a general 'birds-eye' perspective of the governance structures in the region and, secondly, a sector-based analysis of selected themes within environmental governance. The findings indicate a highly complex yet functional governance structure for the Baltic Sea that has developed especially since the end of the cold war. The key regulatory layers have become increasingly intertwined, with the EU as the clearly dominating actor within the BSR, regarding legislation as well as other steering mechanisms. The way to govern has also changed. The move towards ecosystem-based management signifies a development from hard, specific rules towards soft and process-oriented rules. Complex problems (like eutrophication and climate change) do not have simple solutions, therefore a mix of governance tools is needed. Even though there is no optimal way to govern different problems related to marine areas, it appears sensible to listen to the policy environment – natural, political and human – when creating institutions to deal with problems at hand. Flexible and adaptive governance mechanisms are needed to protect the Baltic Sea from multiple threats.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)317–324
JournalMarine Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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