While scholars have showed a long-standing interest for how to design effective environmental treaties and other international agreements, less interest has been paid to implementation phases of these agreements. This article takes the Eutrophication Segment in the Baltic Sea Action Plan as an example of a regional effort to reduce nutrient leakages, where national reporting of adopted strategies has been a key mechanism to improve implementation effectiveness. It is shown that although transnational collective action theory is a powerful tool to analyse underlying drivers and priorities in state implementation policies, a deeper analysis of domestic and external constraints can shed additional light on observed implementation gaps. Varying views among countries on, for example, the role of stakeholder participation, legitimacy and top-down governing versus multi-stakeholder governance approaches may comprise domestic constraints that make effective and efficient implementation problematic. In terms of external constraints, states’ balancing of action plan objectives versus other international commitments, such as other environmental treaties and EU Directives, is shown to potentially reduce implementation efficiency as well.