practices and their effects on the Baltic Sea were the main focus of the Sixth
Meeting of the HELCOM
Group on Sustainable Agricultural Practices (AGRI 6-2018) that was held at
the Ministry of Agriculture in Riga, Latvia from 15 to 16 May 2018. This HELCOM group consists of representatives from environmental
and agricultural national authorities and observer organizations from HELCOM
According to recent
HELCOM assessments, eutrophication
– caused by oversupply of nutrients mainly from land-based sources – remains a major
threat to the Baltic Sea environment. Earlier in March, the HELCOM
Ministerial Declaration of 2018 recognized agriculture as one of the main contributors
to the total input of nutrients into the Baltic Sea. The HELCOM countries
therefore committed to improve cooperation with the agricultural sector in the
Baltic Sea region.
The AGRI group
discussed various aspects of sustainable agricultural practices in the region
and measures to reduce nutrient inputs to the Baltic Sea environment. Among
them are smart nutrient management in agriculture, innovative water management
in rural areas, revitalization of wetlands and paludiculture – agriculture on
The decision taken
by the group on drafting regional recommendation for the use of national manure
standards addressing nutrients in manure is an important step towards better
nutrient management in the agricultural sector.
The key themes of
the meeting were (i) organization of the work on regional nutrient recycling
strategy and (ii) the revision of Part 2 of Annex III of
the Helsinki Convention – the section about the prevention of pollution
from agriculture. The group agreed on the practical steps towards elaboration
of the regional nutrient recycling strategy by 2020 under the lead of Finland.
The group decided to establish an international drafting group for revision of Annex
III in accordance with the earlier agreed scope of the revision and with the
timeframe extending to 2020.
discussed possible reasons for growing ammonia emissions in the region reported
by European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme
(EMEP). The group decided to take a closer look into measures to reduce these
emissions applied in the countries and potential to elaborate related regional
Read the AGRI 6-2018
meeting outcome document here.