• Major sectors in the Baltic Sea spoke out about HELCOM pollution reduction targets
  • Marine environment protection was high in the agenda of the EUSBSR Strategy Forum in Stockholm this week

  • The 7th Strategy Forum of the EU Regional Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) finished yesterday in Stockholm, Sweden.


    Concluding session, from left: Paavo Lipponen, Former Prime Minister of Finland; Monika Zamachowska, Moderator; Rosaline Marbinah, Vice President of the LSU Swedish National Youth Council; Monika Stankiewicz, Executive Secretary HELCOM and Flemming Stender, Director of Baltic Development Forum

    In the opening plenary the Prime Minister of Sweden, Stefan Löfven, spoke about the importance of regional cooperation and shaping the future of the Baltic, with special concern on the environment. For too long we have allowed excessive nutrients to feed into the sea and all of our countries are affected in the form of a declining marine environment, he said.


    "We must live up to the commitments we have made under the Helsinki Commission," Prime Minister Löfven remarked.


    The regional work by the sectors – shipping, ports, tourism, agriculture, wastewater management, fisheries and aquaculture – to protect the Baltic marine environment was debated about in a seminar hosted by HELCOM on Tuesday morning.


    The HELCOM seminar - entitled '"This is what we need to do for a cleaner sea." Sectors have their say' - had the aim of weighing in whether the actions still needed for a clean sea are fairly shared. The participants and commentators were asked to estimate how the HELCOM pollution reduction targets can be reached and if they even are realistic. One objective was to hear what the industries really think and what messages and recommendations can the policy-makers and scientists take back home.

    I​mportance of maritime spatial planning ​was one point brought up by the HELCOM panel.

    The panellists provided insights and concrete suggestions while the commentators, representing the science and policy communities, met them with complementary points and questions (read the outcome here).


    State Secretary of Sweden, Mr. Per Ängquist had been invited to present the seminar's concluding remarks.


    "HELCOM is a great example of science based decision making and this should be upscaled to the European level and even worldwide. Investing in the Baltic Sea environment is investing in the economy - our future. The value added of environmental actions can be valued in monetary terms. This is a great opportunity", State Secretary said.


    "Maritime Spatial Planning is an important way forward: maps can trigger us to see things we have not seen, make it obvious that we must act and implement HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan. Not taking action is not an option."


    In addition, HELCOM Executive Secretary Monika Stankiewicz joined the concluding session which summed up the Forum's key messages, along with Karolina Skog, Minister for the Environment, Sweden, Paavo Lipponen, Former Prime Minister of Finland, Flemming Stender, Director of Baltic Development Forum and Rosaline Marbinah, Vice President of the LSU Swedish National Youth Council.

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    Note for editors

    The Baltic Sea marine area and its healthy status is essential for regional economy, which is increasingly recognized.  While visioning for the future of the region, options for sustainable development should be explored and discussed, as any insensible use of the sea will threaten the very basis on which our welfare and prosperity depends. Dialogue with and among economic and other sectors is thus fundamental to address the remaining challenges to restore the good environmental status of the sea by 2021, as agreed in the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan and in EUSBSR.


    Please find more information about the seminar and other HELCOM presence in the 2016 EUSBSR Strategy Forum, in the event page.


    HELCOM is an intergovernmental organization made up of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union. Founded in 1974, its primary aims as a governing body are to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution, as well as to ensure safe maritime navigation. The official name of HELCOM is the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission; it is the governing body of the Helsinki Convention.


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    For more information, please contact:

    Johanna Laurila
    Information Secretary
    Tel: +358 40 523 8988
    Skype: helcom70
    E-mail: johanna.laurila(at)helcom.fi


    ​​HELCOM seminar and other presence in EUSBSR Strategy Forum 8-9 November 2016

     In the seminar

    Baltic Farmers Forum on Environment (BFFE)

    Baltic Nest Institute (BNI)

    Baltic Ports Organization (BPO)

    Baltic Sea Advisory Council (BSAC)

    Cruise Lines International Association Europe (CLIA)

    European Federation of National Associations of Water (EurEAU)

    Federation of European Aquaculture Producers (FEAP)

    Foreign Ministry of Finland​

    HELCOM Pressure Working Group

    Latvian Farmers' Parliament​

    Low Impact Fishers of Europe

    Ministry​ of the Environment and Energy, Sweden