Working towards a common goal – Race For The Baltic and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The complexity of water as a cross-sectoral resource means that water also sits at the centre of integrated solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals. Race For The Baltic’s work focuses on integrated solutions that specifically focus on SDG 6, 14 and 17, but also touches upon SDG 2 and 8. This work is carried out across Race For The Baltic projects, and in our flagship programme, the Baltic Sea City Accelerator. Race For The Baltic’s work with the SDGs is also synthesized in our commitment submitted to the Ocean Conference in June 2017.

The Baltic Sea City Accelerator is a unique programme for pioneering municipalities in the Baltic Sea Region, and includes stakeholders from various areas – science, business, NGOs, and solution providers. We work together to identify cost-effective, smart and innovative solutions to local water challenges. Race For The Baltic’s vision is to work with 100 cities by 2020 in the Baltic Sea City Accelerator. By scaling up from the current 12 cities to 100 cities by 2020, we aim to achieve a critical mass of municipalities and partners working with the SDGs and local water restoration around the Baltic Sea.

 

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Improved water quality and reducing marine pollution

Targets 6.3 and 14.1

6.3 – By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally

14.1 – By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution

The Baltic Sea City Accelerator helps municipalities to understand, minimize, reuse and ultimately eliminate streams of pollution into the Baltic Sea. Wastewater from households, industries, and runoff from urban and agriculture are key sources of water pollution in the Baltic Sea. Yet many municipalities do not have the data to understand the key points of water pollution in their areas, nor understand which cost-effective measures can be implemented to reduce pollution.

Our programme works with cities to understand their key sources of water pollution and to accelerate implementation of cost-effective measures by mobilising business and research communities. In our programme, cities are working with innovative solutions that: recycle nutrients in agricultural runoff; reuse excess nutrients from the Baltic Sea; more effectively capture wastewater from households; prevent more sewage from boats being dumped into the Baltic Sea.

 

Transboundary cooperation and global partnerships

Targets 6.5, 17.16 and 17.17

6.5 –  By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate

17.16 – Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the sustainable development goals in all countries, in particular developing countries

17.17 – Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships

Race For The Baltic works to strategically promote cooperation and multi-stakeholder partnerships. We work with the private sector, academia, foundations and NGOs, and public institutions including cities and regional authorities to advance efforts to restore the Baltic Sea.

Within the Baltic Sea City Accelerator programme, we develop cross-sectoral and transboundary networks for water management at the municipal scale. Our work brings stakeholders together from the entire Baltic Sea Region. Between 2016-2017 we worked with 12 pioneer cities from four countries to connect them to innovative solutions; research institutes; cities for peer-to-peer learning; and, joint funding opportunities.

On a regional scale, we are working to support, connect and synergise municipal action to the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan. On a local level, we are supporting municipalities to develop cross-sectoral and cross-boundary approaches to water management, for example with inter-city water roundtables.

Some of other multi-stakeholder partnerships we are currently involved in are:

The Action Platform for Source-to-Sea management – a multi-stakeholder initiative on source-to-sea interconnections

BONUS RETURN with SEI and other partners – a Baltic Sea Region project that focus on best-practice and scaling of solutions

Pioneers for a Better Pollution Monitoring and Reporting with SIWI

 

Sustainably managing and restoring marine and coastal ecosystems

Targets 6.6 and 14.2

6.6 – By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes

14.2 – By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans

The Baltic Sea City Accelerator supports municipalities to protect and restore water-related ecosystems. Municipalities can play a crucial role in restoring water-related ecosystems, as they have the ability to enforce national laws, as well as implement local measures. Our programme raises awareness amongst municipalities on the multiple economic, social and environmental benefits that can be gained from local water-related restoration projects. The programme supports cities to develop local Baltic Sea Action Plans, which includes the implementation of concrete measures that directly and indirectly restore water-related ecosystems. Examples of these measures include restoring coastal wetlands and bays, as well as reducing nutrient runoff from cities and agricultural land.

 

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For more information on SDG implementation at Race For The Baltic, please contact Carla Alexandra carla(at)raceforthebaltic.com.