The high-level representatives of the Baltic Sea countries and EU discussed a common approach to reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Baltic Sea region, in a HELCOM meeting held on 28 February 2017 in Helsinki. HELCOM members decided to coordinate the regional implementation of ocean-related SDGs in the Baltic Sea using the HELCOM platform.

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High-level represenatives: (back row from left) Mindaugas Gudas, Lithuania; Iveta Teibe, Latvia; Helge Wendenburg, Germany; Per Ängquist, Swden; Harry Liiv, Estonia; Vladimir Ivlev, Russia; (front row from left) Monika Stankiewicz, HELCOM; Mariusz Gajda, Poland; Marianne Wenning, HELCOM; Lisbet Ølgaard, Denmark; Hannele Pokka; Finland; Joanna Drake, European Union

The delegates committed to strengthening the implementation of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan, to achieve a Baltic Sea in good environmental status, as a milestone to fulfil the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Further, renewing the Baltic Sea Action Plan was widely supported, to incorporate a longer term perspective and jointly address identified gaps and emerging issues.

More specifically, the high-level representatives saw the need to speed up the implementation of the marine litter regional action plan, continue the battle against eutrophication, especially to cut inputs of phosphorus, and better incorporate the issue of adaptation to climate change in HELCOM work. The countries will continue the efforts to eliminate pollution hot spots and will also ensure close cooperation on any maritime spatial planning in the Baltic Sea area.

Further, HELCOM has been tasked to continue supporting more sustainable agricultural practices and ecosystem-related fishery measures, and promote further regional development of social and economic analyses in support of SDGs.

Furthermore, the HELCOM holistic state of the Baltic Sea assessment, to be released in June 2017, is to serve as the baseline scenario for SDG implementation.

The HELCOM members concluded that setting up new HELCOM priorities and targets until 2030 will be guided by the SDGs, and expressed willingness to advance partnerships with sectorial bodies as well as to boost local level action.

The Baltic Sea high-level meeting was held in advance of the UN Conference "Our oceans, our future: partnering for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14" to be held on 5-7 June 2017 in New York, co-organized by Sweden and Fiji.

The high-level segment starts preparatory process for the Ministerial Meeting in 2018 under the EU Chairmanship of HELCOM.

The document adopted by the meeting can be found on the HELCOM web site.


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Note for editors

HELCOM is one of the Regional Sea Conventions and Action Plans around the world, working for healthy oceans and sustainable us of marine resources. HELCOM consists of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union working to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region. Since 1974, HELCOM has been the governing body of the 'Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area', more commonly known as the Helsinki Convention.

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For more information, please contact:

Susanna Kaasinen
Agri-Environment Coordinator
HELCOM
Tel. +358 40 536 5819
Skype: helcom85
Email: susanna.kaasinen(at)helcom.fi