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On 1 August 2019, Rüdiger Strempel assumed the position of HELCOM Executive Secretary, after serving as  Executive Secretary of the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat (CWSS) from January 2015 through July of this year.

An international lawyer by training, Rüdiger Strempel looks back on many years of experience of environmental law, policy, and diplomacy at the national and international levels, with a particular focus on international marine conservation. 

"The Baltic Sea has always been of particular interest to me," said Strempel, whose Baltic credentials include the appointment as Executive Secretary of the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North-East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas (UNEP/ASCOBANS) from 1999 to 2007 and chairing the ASCOBANS Baltic Sea Steering Group ("Jastarnia Group") from 2009 to 2017. 

He also was a member of the Advisory Board of the Baltic Centre of Excellence for Development, Education and Research (BALTDER), University of Gdańsk, Poland from 2003 to 2005.

"While much has undoubtedly been achieved, there is a consensus across the region that continued relentless efforts are required to improve the ecological and environmental status of the Baltic Sea. Issues such as eutrophication, nutrient management, marine litter and addressing the effects of climate change will therefore remain high on our common Baltic Sea agenda," said Strempel who, during his tenure, will oversee see the update of the Baltic Sea Action Plan.

"The Baltic Sea Action Plan has proven to be a good tool for responding to the challenges faced by the Baltic Sea," said Strempel in his welcome remarks, adding that the update of the plan as agreed by the HELCOM Ministers in 2018 "will certainly continue to guide our current itinerary." 

Further priorities will include honouring the global commitments such as those related to the UN Agenda 2030, the ocean-related SDGs and the Aichi Biodiversity targets, as well as strengthening cooperation with other regional sea conventions.

Strempel, a German national, has also worked as a consultant for a number of United Nations agencies, including the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme and the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 

In addition, he has a background as a journalist and professional communicator and he is the author or co-author of numerous articles and several books. 

Strempel has taken over from Monika Stankiewicz who led the HELCOM Secretariat from 2012 to 2019.