Address by Mr. Igor I. Maydanov, Chairman of the Helsinki Commission and Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation
at the Ministerial Conference "EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and Future Macro-Regional Strategies"
on the occasion of receiving the Swedish Baltic Sea Water Award
Stockholm, Sweden, 17 September 2009
Ministers, dear colleagues, friends,
It is a great honor for me to receive this prize as an acknowledgement of the work carried out by HELCOM for the protection of the marine environment of the Baltic Sea.
In my capacity as Chairman of HELCOM, and with the Russian Federation deciding that the implementation of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan will be the main priority for the Russian HELCOM Chairmanship, I am also personally much honored.
The work of HELCOM is a showcase of the acknowledgement by the nine coastal countries and the European Union of the need for concerted Baltic Sea Region actions exceeding the capacity of individual countries.
It is also a showcase of the need to work at macro-regional scale, in order to optimize and make best use of the knowledge and experience about the state of the Baltic Sea, the pressures affecting it and the needed measures to reverse the effects of these pressures.
This, of course, should be done within existing international legal frameworks.
That is why the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan is exemplary, being rooted in international instruments such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and applying these to the conditions in the Baltic Sea Region.
This links our work towards a healthy Baltic Sea to the overall marine environment protection scheme for the health of the world’s oceans and European Seas – but, at the same time, acknowledges our specific situation in the Baltic and empowers the governments of the region to take collective actions. Actions which are tailor-made to the situation in the Baltic Sea Region, and for that reason at times necessarily also stricter than the existing global and European requirements.
From such aspirations, stem of course also responsibilities, to go from words to real actions. Within HELCOM we are determined to follow up on our more than 35 years track record, and show how our HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan will direct us towards the jointly defined healthy Baltic Sea that we want to obtain. For this reason, all the Baltic Sea coastal countries are developing their National Implementation Programmes, for how they will implement the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan. These National Implementation Programmes constitute the basis for the upcoming HELCOM Moscow Ministerial Meeting in May 2010 – and they will be measured against a holistic assessment on the state of the Baltic marine environment, which will also be presented at our Ministerial Meeting.
I also believe that an important part of our HELCOM cooperation is based on the closeness of our countries and people; stating with the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and “The Little Prince”: “Important things are invisible for the eye – only with the heart you can see it.” We are therefore determined to show by the HELCOM Moscow Ministerial meeting in 2010 how we are nationally implementing our HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan to radically reduce pollution to the marine environment and restore its good ecological status by 2021.
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Nikolay Vlasov
Tel: +358 (0)207 412 635
Fax: +358 (0)207 412 639