About the Nordic Working Group for Oceans and Coastal Areas

The mandate of the Nordic Working Group for Oceans and Coastal Areas (NHK) is to support the Nordic countries in activities that help collate data and establish the scientific basis for Nordic initiatives. The working group focuses on sustainable use of natural marine resources and to combat pollution in the marine and coastal environment.
To assure sustainable ecosystems, NHK supports the work and focus on maritme administration. The work should also include protection of marine areas, understanding of the climate change impact on oceans and coastal areas, as well as climate adaptation.

NHKs work is connected to the Nordic Councils of Ministers cooperation program for the environment and climate, especially chapter 6 on oceans and coasts.

For a sustainable use of the oceans, NHK supports projects regarding long-term use of natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystem services. Examples of projects span from impacts on fish and sea bed vegetation from human activity, to the limitation and spread of invasive species. NHK also supports research on impacts from oil spill in marine waters in an nordic climate, and how oil spill is most effectively treated. Several investigations on plastic litter in the oceans have been financed, since these emissions cause problems for a great number of marine species and more than 100 kinds of sea birds. Marine pollution is by definition a cross-border challenge, thus the projects are focused on nordic populations of fish and bird, as well as standardized methods on sampling.


Cross-sectorial cooperation in maritime administration of marine resources are areas NHK encourages to contribute to the growth of blue sustainable economy. The nordic cooperation will act on a binding agreement to the UNs convention on the Law of the Sea for protection of biodiversity, above national jurisdiction (BBNJ-process) and also act on knowledge building and spreading of the nordic marine ecosystems.

The relationship between ocean and climate has been addressed in association with climate changes in the marine environment. NHKs want to promote cooperation and exchange of experience from acidification of oceans in maritime administration and measures on climate adaptation. The working groups operation should contribute with knowledge to nordic and international environmental agencys both regionally and globally.


The members of NHK consists of nordic experts in maritime administration, marine biology and environmental toxicology. Every year NHK will finance a number of different projects for specific topics under the working groups assignment. On an average year the NHK allocates approximately tree million DKK to about five to eight projects. If the subject for a project is included in more than one working group in the Nordic Council of Ministers, the possibility opens for receiveing funds from more than one working group. The work and prioritization of NHK are described in detail in the annual working programmes. NHK are reporting directly to the Nordic Council of Ministers (MR-MK) and the Nordic Committee for environment and climate (ÄK-MK). When the NHK announces next years topics, the working group encourages applications to fund the projects of specific interest.