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Opening of the BSD 2019 Plenary Session on 22 March 2019. © HELCOM

 

Looking back on 20 years of its existence as a platform addressing the environmental challenges of the Baltic Sea, the XX Anniversary International Environmental Forum "Baltic Sea Day" (BSD 2019) was held in St. Petersburg, Russia from 21 to 22 March 2019. This year, nutrient recycling and management was the central focus of the forum.

Currently, about 97% of the Baltic Sea is affected by eutrophication, with the lead cause being the excessive input of nutrients to the sea from land-based sources, such as from agriculture. In a bid to curb eutrophication, HELCOM has been tasked by its members to devise a Baltic Sea nutrient recycling strategy by 2020. This work is currently carried out under the lead of Finland, also holding chairmanship of HELCOM until mid-2020.

"A circular economy is key to a more sustainable production and consumption system, and a nutrient recycling strategy supports this very much," said Hannele Pokka, Permanent Secretary at the Finnish Ministry of the Environment who sat on the BSD 2019 forum's high-level panel debating about nutrients.

During the forum, other Baltic Sea topics such as biodiversity conservation, fisheries, environmental consequences of physical damage to the sea floor, underwater noise and marine litter were also included in the programmes of several roundtable sessions.

The topics discussed during the forum were addressed against the backdrop of the update of the Baltic Sea Action Plan that is bound to be renewed in 2021. The BSAP update was presented in more detail by HELCOM Chair Saara Bäck.

"There is always a great interest to attend and contribute to the [Baltic Sea Day] roundtables," said the HELCOM Executive Secretary Monika Stankiewicz in her address to the forum, further stressing that the event provides a "priceless opportunity for exchange, joint planning and networking" between stakeholders from science, administration and policy across the entire Baltic.

Since 2000, the Baltic Sea Day Forum has been held in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and organized in cooperation with HELCOM. During its 20-year history, it has become a key platform for the environmental dialogue on the Baltic Sea at the regional and global level.

The event traditionally also features an award ceremony recognising the efforts of the recipients on environmental matters of the Baltic Sea.

This year, among other awards, Certificates of Merit from the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Russia were handed over to Natalia Tretiakova, the Russian HELCOM Head of Delegation, and Natalia Kutaeva, the vice-chair of the HELCOM Maritime, for their substantial contribution to international cooperation and their role in organizing the event.

The forum is now coordinated by the Government of St. Petersburg, the State Company "Mineral", and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of the Russian Federation



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For more information:

Dominik Littfass
Communication Secretary
dominik.littfass@helcom.fi