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Rüdiger Strempel and Monika Stankiewicz, HELCOM Secretariat, Helsinki, 19 July 2019. © HELCOM 


The current Executive Secretary of HELCOM, Ms Monika Stankiewicz, will step down from her position and hand over to her successor, Mr Rüdiger Strempel, on 1 August 2019. Strempel was appointed during the HELCOM Annual Meeting held in March 2019

Stankiewicz has been at the HELCOM Secretariat since 2006 when she started as Professional Secretary for Maritime Affairs. She assumed the position of Executive Secretary in 2012 until 2019, for three terms. 

Under her tenure, HELCOM not only consolidated itself as a champion of the environmental protection of the Baltic Sea but also as a heard and sought-after voice in the international debate on oceans and seas.

Already involved in the making and implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan, she was instrumental in setting off the update processof the plan beyond 2021, its initial due date. The mandate for the update was given by the HELCOM Ministers during their meeting in Brussels in 2018.

With the Second Holistic Assessment of the Baltic Sea(HOLAS II), Stankiewicz also oversaw the largest assessment of the Baltic Sea so far. Providing the most comprehensive insight of the Baltic Sea, the results are expected to underpin HELCOM work for a substantial period of time. 

More recently, among other work, she introduced social and economic analysis to HELCOM, to closer link the state of the Baltic Sea's environment with human wellbeing. This ecosystem-based approach acknowledges that we humans are an intrinsic part of the Baltic Sea environment and seeks to correlate our activities with the impacts they may have on the environment.

Her successor, Mr Rüdiger Strempel, a German national, currently heads the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat(CWSS) as its Executive Secretary. The CWSS was established in 1987 to service the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation(TWSC) between the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark on the protection of the Wadden Sea.

Strempel is a lawyer by training, specialising in international law. He has extensive experience on environmental matters including in the Baltic Sea, having also headed the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas(ASCOBANS) from 1999 to 2006, as well as chaired the ASCOBANS Baltic Sea Steering Group(Jastarnia Group) from 2009 to 2017. 

Stankiewicz' tenure and achievements were acknowledged during the recently held HELCOM Head of Delegation meeting, where Strempel, who was also present, was warmly welcomed.