HELCOM receives the Swedish Baltic Sea Water Award
Stockholm, 17 September (HELCOM Information Service) – The Chairman of HELCOM Igor Maydanov accepted this year’s prestigious Swedish Baltic Sea Water Award on behalf of the organisation at a ceremony held on Thursday evening in Stockholm. HELCOM was named the winner of the award on 20 August at the 2009 World Water Week in Stockholm for the adoption of an overarching Baltic Sea Action Plan to radically reduce pollution to the Baltic marine environment and restore its good ecological status by 2021.
The award ceremony was held at a dinner hosted by Sweden’s Minister for EU Affairs Cecilia Malmström for 27 Ministers of the EU countries who gathered in Stockholm for a Conference on the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea region. The award was personally presented by H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.
“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,” said Igor Maydanov in his acceptance speech. “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. 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.”
The Swedish Baltic Sea Water Award, presented by Sweden’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs, recognises direct and practical efforts to improve water quality in the Baltic Sea. The award honours innovations and new methods that protect the Baltic Sea water environment. The award is given to individuals, companies, organisations and actors within the public service sectors. The winner receives a 150,000 SEK prize sum along with a crystal sculpture. The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) administers the Swedish Baltic Sea Water Award, and a jury appointed by the Swedish Government reviews the nominations, selects the winner and provides written motivation of its choice.
The Jury’s motivation for giving the award was that “HELCOM and its Secretariat under the Executive Secretary Anne Christine Brusendorff have taken marine environmental protection to a new level. HELCOM has shown exemplary commitment to improving the Baltic Sea through the adoption of the Baltic Sea Action Plan. The action plan takes on the complexity of issues that need to be addressed in an innovative manner, linking it to ongoing initiatives and becoming the backbone of the environmental actions in the coming Baltic Sea Strategy.“
HELCOM is considered an environmental policy-maker in the Baltic Sea area and one of the most advanced regional seas commissions in terms of the level of cooperation between the coastal countries, and monitoring and protecting the marine environment. In 2007, the HELCOM countries adopted a strategic Baltic Sea Action Plan with concrete and meaningful actions to solve the major problems affecting the Baltic Sea. It is also a first ever attempt by a regional seas convention to incorporate the ecosystem-based approach into the protection of the marine environment. The core policy of the plan is based on “ecological objectives” defined to reflect a common vision of a healthy sea - a sea with diverse biological components functioning in balance and supporting a wide range of sustainable human economic and social activities.
The HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan has already been heralded as a pioneer scheme for European seas. The European Commission has recognized that the HELCOM plan will be instrumental for the successful implementation of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive in the Baltic Sea region. The importance of HELCOM’s work is also recognized in relation to the EU Maritime Policy, and the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region draws heavily from the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan in its environmental as well as safety and security pillars.
“The award will serve to further inspire and motivate our organization towards making the Baltic Sea area environmentally sustainable, prosperous, accessible and attractive, as well as safe and secure,” says HELCOM’s Executive Secretary Anne Christine Brusendorff, who also attended the award ceremony.
Note to Editors:
The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as the Helsinki Commission, or HELCOM, is an intergovernmental organisation of all the nine Baltic Sea countries and the EU which works to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution.
HELCOM is the governing body of the "Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area," known as the Helsinki Convention.
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Nikolay Vlasov
Tel: +358 (0)207 412 635
Fax: +358 (0)207 412 639