Many things have changed – and a few remained the same – during
the 40 years of HELCOM work in protecting the Baltic marine environment.
Despite the region’s growth in economy, wealth and maritime transport, carrying
with them risks of more, or new, pressures to the sea, the polluting nutrients have
nevertheless decreased with over
40% during these decades.
HELCOM can claim its share for the achievement, having well succeeded in
keeping up regular cooperation between all the coastal states and developing
In 1974, Helsinki
had won among many eager aspirants to be the host of a historical Conference,
climaxing on 22 March with the signing of the Helsinki Convention where all the
Contracting States committed to protect the common sea area. This took place
just two years after the UN Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment,
considered as the global milestone in rising environmental awareness.
Helsinki Convention, updated in 1992 in the light of
political changes in Europe, still forms the backbone of HELCOM, along with the
Recommendations, Baltic Sea Action Plan and Ministerial Declarations. On top of the current Contracting Parties consisting of 9
coastal states and the European Union, HELCOM has an extensive network of
observers contributing actively to the protection of the Baltic Sea, and
representing governments of third countries, as well as intergovernmental and
international non-governmental organizations.
Video recording of the Anniversary Jubilee Session on 5 March 2013 available here
Seven coastal nations signed a historical agreement on Friday 22 March 1974, to protect the Baltic marine environment – the Helsinki Convention.