HOLAS II will assess progress towards reaching a Baltic Sea in a Good Environmental Status since the inception of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) in 2007. The assessment is developed so that the Contracting Parties of the Helsinki Convention being EU Member States can use it in the reporting under Article 8 of Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) in 2018.

The HOLAS II project is already ongoing since December 2014 and the aim of HELCOM TAPAS is to further develop four themes required for the successful implementation of the HOLAS II project.

Baltic Sea pressure and impact indices (BSPI/BSII)

The BSPI and BSII were firstly developed as part of the Initial HELCOM holistic assessment published in 2010 (BSEP 125 BSEP 122 ). The BSII is based on georeferenced data sets of anthropogenic pressures, human activities and ecosystem components, and on weight scores that estimate the potential impact of each assessed pressure on specific ecosystem components. In TAPAS, the indices are further developed, including improvements to temporal and spatial aspects of pressures as well as improvements to the impact weight scores.

Spatial information on ecosystem components

The development of the BSPI/BSII as well as other HELCOM activities (e.g. Red list assessment, indicator development) requires availability of data on spatial distribution of specific ecosystem components. In TAPAS, Baltic-wide distribution maps of benthic species and habitats as well as mobile species are developed to support regional assessments of both status and impacts. Under this theme a HELCOM indicator for assessing the distribution, pattern and extent of benthic biotopes is also being further developed.

SEI Tallinn is working mostly on the following topic: Framework for economic and social analyses (ESA) in the Baltic Sea region

Economic and social analyses (ESA) have so far had a limited role in HELCOM regional collaborations but its further development has been highlighted in existing agreements such as the HELCOM 2013 Ministerial Declaration . This TAPAS theme will contribute to the capacity building by the development and testing of a common conceptual framework for economic and social analyses in the Baltic Sea. The outcome will be included as part of the HOLAS II report. ​​

 Workspaces for data and information access

The fourth specific objective is to establish and test workspaces on the HELCOM website as a technical means for making assessment data and information available online enabling open access and efficient reuse of the collected data. This technical solution is an extension to the existing HELCOM Map and Data service infrastructure, hosted by the HELCOM Secretariat.

Project management

The tasks are carried out by a project team consisting of the HELCOM Secretariat as project coordinator and five additional partners: SYKE (Finland), NIVA (Denmark), EMI (Estonia), SEI Tallinn (Estonia) and ICES. The project period is January 2016-June 2017. The project is guided by the HOLAS II project core team, with representation from the Contracting Parties, and HELCOM Working Groups State and Conservation and Pressure. Dedicated workshops  are organized for experts from HELCOM countries to take part in the development of the project components and in their testing.