So far environmental protection of the Baltic Sea has not been successful, even though a wealth of research information exists to support such protection. The joint European Baltic Sea research brogramme (BONUS) is aiming to study which social factors influence the success of protective measures. Particular attention is being paid to the prevention of the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea.
“The background to this research project is the idea that social factors rather than a lack of scientific information are behind the effective prevention of the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea,” says Finnish Project Coordinator Nina Tynkkynen of the University of Tampere.
The planning and introduction of environmental protection measures is a social activity, influenced by socio-economic, political and cultural factors. “These factors, however, have so far not been studied at all in connection with questions concerning the protection of the Baltic Sea.”
This research project is looking at the boundary conditions for the prevention of Baltic Sea eutrophication in all nine states that border it, both at a regional and an EU level. It is also studying the potential for applying nutrient emissions trade as a tool to prevent Baltic Sea eutrophication. “The aim is to present interpretations of how different boundary conditions and effective protection can be reconciled. The project is also aiming to present policy recommendations and to organise meetings between stakeholders and training for the media,” says Tynkkynen.
Finnish organisations belonging to the international research consortium are the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, the Department of Economics at the University of Helsinki, the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Tampere and partners from Russia and Germany. The study is the only project in the BONUS research programme completely based on social sciences.
Research funding organisations from the nine Baltic Sea nations are behind the BONUS programme, which was launched at the beginning of this year. The study is also being funded by the EU Commission. The Finnish funding organisation is the Academy of Finland. At the first stage of the research programme, decisions were made to fund 16 research projects with a total of 22 million euros, with more than 100 research institutes and universities from the Baltic Sea countries taking part. Finland is coordinating four of these projects. Total project funding will be approximately 60 million euros between 2010 and 2016.
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