About the indicators

HELCOM indicators are developed to evaluate the status of biodiversity elements, other relevant environmental condition factors, and human-induced pressures on the Baltic Sea. They form the basis of status assessments in the Baltic Sea region, further contributing to broader thematic and integrated assessments, such as the HELCOM holistic assessments (HOLAS) .

The observed status of HELCOM indicators is measured in relation to a regionally agreed threshold values. The outcome of an indicator evaluation is expressed in terms of failing or achieving the threshold value, indicating whether good status is achieved or not for each specific indicator.

The indicators are selected according to a set of principles including ecological and policy relevance, measurability with monitoring data, and linkage to anthropogenic pressures. More information on HELCOM’s indicator can be found in the indicator manual.

Through evaluating the status of biodiversity, as well as human-induced pressures on the Baltic Sea, the HELCOM indicators support measuring progress towards regionally agreed targets and objectives, as defined under the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP). Where possible, HELCOM indicators are also harmonised to support HELCOM Contracting Parties in addressing other relevant policy initiatives, such as the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) or the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).