Co-creating evidence-based business roadmaps and policy solutions for enhancing coastal-rural collaboration and synergies

Norrström / Baltic

Location and characteristics

The Norrström drainage basin (22 000 km²) comprises the major part of the Swedish water management district Northern Baltic Proper. For the case study economic and environmental issues will be considered at the scale of the Baltic Sea and local scale, including environmental and physical interactions between the two scales.

The basin is part of the fertile Swedish belt, characterised by extensive agriculture, and includes the Swedish capital Stockholm. An unresolved and well recognised problem for the coastal environment and its sustainable development is the human-driven eutrophication and associated hypoxia with recurring harmful algae blooms, caused by the combined nutrient emissions from households, agriculture, and industry. These impacts occur on the local/regional scale of the Swedish Norrström case and the macro-regional/cross-boundary scale of the whole-Baltic case.

Sustainable development solutions must consider the agricultural, urban, and industrial activities in the hinterland, the high and increasing population density, tourism development in the coastal zone, ongoing and future climate change, and their combined effects on the nutrient loads transported to the coast. The overarching problem and possibilities for addressing the problem are recognized in strategic planning and development plans at the local and regional scale.

How should rural, urban and coastal sectors, actors and activities interact to ensure sustainable development with no eutrophication or pollution of coastal and marine waters?


  • To connect and support policies and strategies for sustainable rural, urban and coastal development 
  • To create an integrated approach to mitigation of coastal-marine eutrophication and pollution

Eutrophication and pollution of inland, as well as coastal and marine waters, is a well-known, essential, but yet unresolved problem that needs to be handled and solved towards achieving sustainable regional development. Integrated understanding and synergistic, innovative, and efficient solution strategies are jointly sought and found for this overarching environmental problem - across the rural, urban and coastal sectors, and accounting for and including climate, land-use and other environmental and socio-economic changes in the region.

Coastal pressures and interactions in the cross-scale Norrstrom-Baltic Sea case


1. Green Growth sector

2. Blue Growth sector

3. Tourism

4. ICT sector

5. Authorities


Swedish MAL coordination

Stockholm University, Department of Physical Geography

Prof. Georgia Destouni (email: ) telephone: +46 8 16 4785

Local partners of the Norrström/Baltic MAL


Download the SE MAL flyer in Swedish language here.

S. Seifollahi-Aghmiuni, Z. Kalantari, C. Prieto, Y. Chen, G. Destouni: Stakeholder perspectives on sustainable coastal development: A Baltic coast case study (poster)

Presentation of the 3rd Baltic Conference - Multiple drivers of change in coastal water quality and ecosystem status: From participatory mental mapping to systems modelling - G. Destouni, G. Vigouroux, S. Seifollahi Aghmiuni, Z. Kalantari

Understanding the coupled land-sea system dynamics in coastal regions through a participatory approach: A Baltic case study - S. Seifollahi Aghmiuni, Z. Kalantari, G. Destouni