Published article

Promise and performance of agricultural nutrient management policy: Lessons from the Baltic Sea, Ambio, 2021

Authors: Martin Hvarregaard Thorsøe  Mikael Skou Andersen  Mark Brady  Morten Graversgaard  Emils Kilis  Anders Branth Pedersen  Samuli Pitzén   Helena Valve 

Following decades of international collaboration to restore the Baltic Sea, we provide an assessment of the domestic implementation of measures agreed to limit diffuse agricultural pollution and the patterns of policy instruments applied. Despite the Helsinki Convention being unusually specific in detailing what measures countries should introduce, we find many shortcomings. These are most pronounced in the larger countries (Poland, Germany and Russia), while smaller countries perform better, notably Sweden and Estonia. The patterns of policy instruments applied differ, influenced by domestic politics. The limited use of complementary policy instruments suggests that other priorities overrule full and effective implementation, with engagement mirroring the advantages that a restored Baltic Sea can bring to countries. Using the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development to support farmers in managing nutrients, particularly advisory services and investments in modern manure management technologies, represents a significant opportunity for reducing agricultural pollution in most countries.


Martin Hvarregaard Thorsøe

Mikael Skou Andersen

Mark Brady

Morten Graversgaard

Emils Kilis

Anders Branth Pedersen

Samuli Pitzén

Helena Valve