On 1 August 2019 I assumed the position of Executive Secretary of HELCOM. I am very pleased to join such a well-established and mature organization that is based on solid foundations – the excellent work and in-depth knowledge of all things Baltic pooled in the various HELCOM working groups and expert networks, and the expertise and commitment of the HELCOM Secretariat staff need no further introduction here.

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.

The Baltic Sea Action Plan has proven to be a good tool for responding to the challenges faced by the Baltic Sea. Its update by 2021 as agreed by the HELCOM Ministerial Meeting of 2018 will certainly continue to guide our current itinerary, as will its implementation. 

HELCOM also remains committed to the regional and global efforts on oceans and seas. We will continue to strive for enhanced cooperation with our sister regional seas conventions, work towards the attainment of the Aichi targets on biodiversity, the ocean and sea related SDGs and, more broadly, enhanced synergies between our work and the Agenda 2030 process. Moreover, the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, which will run from 2021 to 2030, will also provide us with new opportunities to link our regional actions to the global processes.  

Last but not least, I wish to acknowledge the excellent work done by my predecessor, Monika Stankiewicz. Her inspirational achievements during her tenure as Executive Secretary of HELCOM make it all the easier for me to continue the journey towards fulfilling our HELCOM vision: a healthy Baltic Sea environment with diverse ecological components functioning in balance, resulting in a good environmental and ecological status and supporting a wide range of sustainable economic and social activities.


Rüdiger Strempel

HELCOM Executive Secretary