Intergovernmental and International Non-Governmental Organizations may apply for observer status to the Helsinki Commission. An organization must show that it can contribute to matters dealt with by HELCOM, that it has a membership in a wide number of the Baltic Coastal States and an organized internal structure. Click here for more details.
HELCOM may invite any State, not party to the Helsinki Convention, to be represented at its meetings.
Governments and intergovernmental organisations
ASCOBANS was concluded in 1991 under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species (UNEP/CMS or Bonn Convention) and entered into force in 1994. The Agreement covers the marine environment of the Baltic and North Seas. The aim is to protect all small cetaceans, i.e. any species, subspecies or population of toothed whales Odontoceti found within the area of the agreement, except the sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus.
Baltic 21 is a joint, long-term effort by the 11 countries of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS). The Baltic 21 process aims at sustainable development in the Baltic Sea Region - encompassing economic, social and environmental aspects.
Baltic Pilotage Authorities Commission (BPAC) is a governmental organisation of and a work forum for pilotage authorities of the countries adjacent to the Baltic Sea and Norway.
The aim of this work forum is to enhance maritime and shipping safety in the Baltic Sea region, to share experiences between the pilotage areas and in cooperation with national authorities and pilot organisations to forward recommendations and influence the decision making in areas concerning pilotage in the Baltic Sea.
Since 1991 the BSPC has established itself as an equal partner of international institutions and forums in Europe and support regional and sub-regional co-operation beyond national borders.
According to its objectives BSPC shall aim at strengthening the common identity of the Baltic Sea Region by close co-operation between national and regional parliaments. BSPC shall initiate and guide political activities in the region and further regional co-operation especially towards the Council of Baltic Sea States.
Black Sea Commission (BSC)
The Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution (the Black Sea Commission or BSC) via its Permanent Secretariat is the intergovernmental body established in implementation of the Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution (Bucharest Convention), its Protocols and the Strategic Action Plan for the Environmental Protection and Rehabilitation of the Black Sea (latest version adopted in 2009).
The Agreement for Cooperation in Dealing with Pollution of the North Sea by oil and Other Harmful Substances (Bonn Agreement) deals with oil pollution and aerial surveillance for the detection of operational/illegal spills.
The Bonn Agreement and the Helsinki Convention have certain common aims related to co-operation in combating marine pollution, including: - measures to maintain adequate ability to respond to pollution incidents at sea by oil and other harmful substances; and - aerial surveillance activities as an aid to detecting and combating such pollution as well as preventing violations of anti-pollution regulations.
The Great Lakes Commission is a binational agency that promotes the orderly, integrated and comprehensive development, use and conservation of the water and related natural resources of the North American Great Lakes basin and St. Lawrence River. Its members include the eight US states surrounding the Great Lakes, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Québec with associate member status.
The work of the IOC focuses on promoting marine scientific investigations and related ocean services, with a view to learning more about the nature and resources of the oceans.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) serves as the world's central intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical co-operation in the peaceful use of nuclear technology. It was established as an autonomous organization under the United Nations (UN) in 1957.
ICES is a leading forum for the promotion, coordination, and dissemination of research on the physical, chemical, and biological systems in the North Atlantic and advice on human impact on its environment, in particular fisheries effects in the Northeast Atlantic. It is the oldest intergovernmental marine science organization in the world, founded in 1902.
The International Maritime Organization is the United Nations specialized agency responsible for improving maritime safety and preventing pollutions from ships. It also is involved in legal matters, including liability and compensation issues and the facilitation of international maritime traffic.
Oslo and Paris Commissions (OSPAR)
The Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR Convention) replaced the Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping from Ships and Aircraft (Oslo Convention) and the Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Land-based Sources (Paris Convention). It aims to protect the marine environment of the North East Atlantic, i.e. prevent and eliminate pollution, protect human health and ensure sound and healthy marine ecosystems.
The African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) is an agreement under the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, commonly referred to as the Bonn Convention. The AEWA created a legal basis for concerted conservation and management policy of the Range States for Migratory Waterbirds.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) encourages sustainable development through sound environmental practices everywhere. Its activities cover a wide range of issues, from atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems, the promotion of environmental science and information, to an early warning and emergency response capacity to deal with environmental disasters and emergencies.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE) is one of five regional commissions of the United Nations. Its primary goal is to encourage greater economic cooperation among its member States. It focuses on economic analysis, environment and human settlements, statistics, sustainable energy, trade, industry and enterprise development, timber and transport.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations with primary responsibility for international health matters and public health. WHO/Europe (the WHO Regional Office for Europe) is one of six regional offices throughout the world, each with its own programme geared to the particular health problems of the countries it serves.
The World Meteorological Organization coordinates global scientific activity to allow increasingly prompt and accurate weather information and other services for public, private and commercial use. WMO's activities contribute to the safety of life and property, the socio-economic development of the protection of the environment.
International non-governmental organisations
The main purpose of this network is to involve the farmers from the Baltic Sea region and their organisations in the process of environmental improvement.
BOOS is a formal association of institutes from Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany and Denmark taking national responsibility for operational oceanographic services in support of protection of lives and properties and the promotion of the development of society.
The vision of BOOS is to provide an integrated service to marine users and policy makers in support of safe and efficient offshore activities, environmental management, security, and sustainable use of marine resources.
The Baltic Ports Organisation was founded in 1991. Several harbours located in the area around the Baltic Sea are working together to improve the competitiveness of maritime transport in the Baltic region.
Baltic Sea Forum (BSF)
Baltic Sea Forum e.V. was founded in 1992 as Pro Baltica Forum e.V. It possesses a representative network of members from the business world, politics and administration. The Baltic Sea Forum is a private organisation which works closely together with a number of governments as well as with state-wide, regional and local institutions. The Forum renamed itself on the 20th March of 2003 in order to express its focus on the whole Baltic Sea region even more clearly.
The Baltic Sea Forum has representatives in Aarhus, Bremen, Brussels, Helsinki, Kaliningrad, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, MÃŒnchenstein, Oslo, Riga, Schleswig-Holstein, St Petersburg, Stockholm, Tallinn, Vilnius, and Gdansk.
BIMCO is the world's largest shipping association, representing shipping companies drawn from all trades and types of ships. The organization takes an interest in all issues affecting the trading conditions for international shipping.
BirdLife International is a global Partnership of non-governmental conservation organisations with a focus on birds that works together on shared priorities, exchanging skills, achievements and information, and so growing in ability, authority and influence.
BirdLife International is present in 103 countries and territories worldwide.
BONUS EEIG is a newly established independent organisation with a full name of BONUS Baltic Organisations’ Network for Funding Science EEIG. It is established as an European Economic Interest Grouping, so that it can be a contractor with the European Commission and other possible parties. Its members are either funding agencies directly, or organisations managing national funding allocations for the joint calls under the Joint Baltic Sea Research Programme. At the moment BONUS EEIG coordinates the BONUS Era-Net as well as the BONUS+ Call. The BONUS EEIG Secretariat is located in Helsinki.
The European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) is the forum and the voice of the European chemical industry. It represents, directly or indirectly, about 40,000 large, medium and small chemical companies in Europe, which employ about two million people and account for more than 30% of the world chemicals production.
Coalition Clean Baltic (CCB)
The Coalition Clean Baltic is a politically independent, non profit association that was established in 1990. The main goal of CCB is the protection and improvement of the Baltic Sea environment and natural resources.
The CPMR is an interregional organisation that brings together 144 Regions from twenty-six European countries. Since 1973, it has been contributing towards promoting a more balanced development of the European territory and a greater involvement of the regional players in European integration.
The EBA represents European boat users in environmental, technical and regulatory matters affecting their health, safety and enjoyment of water activities. EBA also aims to encourage the safe, unhampered and environmentally friendly use of recreational boats throughout Europe’s waters.
European Chlor-Alkali Industry (EURO CHLOR)
Euro Chlor is an affiliate of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic). Founded nearly 40 years ago, Euro Chlor was reconstituted in 1991 to combine various chlorine-related associations for derivatives, solvents and paraffins into a strong, united voice for the industry.
ECSA, formed in 1965 under the name of the Comité des Associations d'Armateurs des Communautés Européennes (CAACE) and taking its present name in 1990, comprises the national shipowner associations of the EU and Norway.
ECSA works through a permanent secretariat in Brussels and a Board of Directors, as well as a number of specialised committees.
Its aim is to promote the interests of European shipping so that the industry can best serve European and international trade and commerce in a competitive free enterprise environment to the benefit of shippers and consumers.
Cruise Lines International Association Europe (CLIA Europe, former European Cruise Council (ECC))
CLIA Europe represents the leading cruise companies operating in Europe and has 29 cruise members and 42 associate members. CLIA Europe promotes the interests of cruise ship operators within Europe, liaising closely with the EU Institutions: the Commission, the Parliament, the Council of Ministers and their Permanent Representatives as well as with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). CLIA Europe also promotes cruising to a wider public audience to encourage expansion of the European cruise market and works closely with a number of regional bodies such as Cruise Baltic, Cruise Europe, Cruise Norway and MedCruise.
Founded in 1993, the European Dredging Association (EuDA) is a non-profit industry organisation for European dredging companies and related organisations, representing approximately 25,000 European employees "on land and on board of the vessels" in direct employment and more than 48,300 in indirect employment (supply and service companies) with approximately 750 seaworthy European flagged vessels.
EFMA is a non-profit making association that represents the major fertilizer manufacturers in Western Europe. Its members account for approximately 90 per cent of the region's nitrogen fertilizer production capacity and around 70 per cent of phosphate fertilizer production.
The European Sea Ports Organisation represents the port authorities, port associations and port administrations of the seaports of the European Union. ESPO was founded in 1993 in response to a growing demand that the sea port sector would present its views and opinions to serve the interests of seaports with regard to the development of the European Community, the single market and its common transport policy.
The Coastal and Marine Union (EUCC)
EUCC is the largest coastal network in Europe, with 750 members and member organisations in 40 countries, 14 active National Branches and 7 professional offices. It is dedicated to the integrity and natural diversity of the coastal heritage and to ecologically sustainable development.
EUREAU (European Federation of National Associations of Water and Wastewater Services)
Eureau represents the water suppliers and wastewater operators of Europe, which collectively provide vital water services to over 360 million people. The members collect and treat domestic and trade/industry effluents through the sewerage system and discharge the treated effluents back into the environment and are engaged in regulating discharges to the sewer system and in the management of the water cycle. They carry out significant research to ensure the environmental impact of their activities is minimized.
Federation of European Private Port Operators (Feport), founded in January 1993, is an organisation representing the interests of private port operators, i.e. stevedores and terminal operators, at European level. Its membership consists of national and regional sector associations in EU Member States, EFTA and accession countries. In addition, in view of the importance of many recent policy developments, many of the main European terminal operators have joined directly as associate members.
Feport’s permanent secretariat in Brussels ensures the communication between the EU institutions and the sea port terminal operators & stevedores throughout Europe. It is responsible for the general management of the organisation.
The Global Water Partnership's vision is for a water secure world. Their mission is to support the sustainable development and management of water resources at all levels.
GWP CEE consists of twelve country water partnerships that provide an inclusive and neutral platform for stakeholders in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine.
GWP Membership is open to organizations that recognize the Dublin-Rio principles and are involved with issues related to integrated water resources management. More than 147 organisations and individuals are members of GWP CEE.
The OGP is the worldwide association of oil and gas companies involved in exploration and production. It represents its members before international regulatory bodies, and has observer status as a non-governmental organisation with global and regional regulatory bodies who have an interest in marine environment protection.
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is the international trade association for merchant ship operators. ICS represents the collective views of the international industry from different nations, sectors and trades.
ICS membership comprises national shipowners' associations representing over half of the world's merchant fleet.
A major focus of ICS activity is the International Maritime Organization (IMO) the United Nations agency with responsibility for the safety of life at sea and the protection of the marine environment.
ICS is heavily involved in a wide variety of areas including any technical, legal and operational matters affecting merchant ships.
The International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions (IDUM) is a non-governmental organization/Society founded in 2004 by Mr. Terrence P. Long following his appearance at a Canadian Senate Hearing with the Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. The IDUM's mission is to promote the creation of an internationally binding treaty on all classes (biological, chemical, conventional, and radiological) of underwater munitions. This treaty would encourage countries to collaborate on underwater munitions policy, research, science, and responses including environmentally-friendly remediation in affected regions.
KIMO is an international association of Local Authorities, which was founded in Esbjerg, Denmark, in August 1990 to work towards cleaning up pollution in the North Sea. In 1994 it changed its remit to also include The Irish Sea, North East Atlantic and The Arctic Seas. It has over 128 members in 10 countries including the United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, and the Republic of Ireland with associate members in Germany, the Faeroes Islands and the Isle Of Man. National Networks exist in each country and hold meetings on a regular basis.
The Nordic Hunters' Cooperation (NJS) was established in 1947 and currently represents approximately 600,000 hunters and shooters in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland.
Oceana, founded in 2001, is the largest international organization focused solely on ocean conservation, protecting marine ecosystems and endangered species . Our offices in Europe, North America, Central America and South America work together on a limited number of strategic, directed campaigns to achieve measurable outcomes that will help return our oceans to former levels of abundance. We believe in the importance of science in identifying problems and solutions. Our scientists work closely with our teams of economists, lawyers and advocates to achieve tangible results for the oceans.
Sea Alarm advances and coordinates professional responses to oiled wildlife contingencies. Working in close collaboration with NGOs, government authorities and the oil and maritime industries, Sea Alarm initiates and facilitates strategic response preparedness activities. Sea Alarm also trains and coordinates a network of European and global wildlife response experts that are ready to respond to an oiled wildlife emergency within hours.
The UBC is a network of 100 member cities from ten Baltic Sea countries, aiming to develop co-operation and exchange between the UBC-members, to contribute to democratic, economic, social, cultural and environmentally sustainable development of the Baltic Sea region and to follow closely the developments of the European Union and prepare its Eastern member cities to smooth transition to the prospective EU membership.
WWF is an independent foundation registered under Swiss law. Its mission is to stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity; ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable; promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.