International Conference to review major HELCOM projects to restore the Baltic Sea
Helsinki, 15 January (HELCOM Information Service) – Implementation of strategic actions and flagship projects to achieve a healthy Baltic Sea will be the focus of the Fifth Stakeholder Conference on the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan, which will be held on 3 March 2010 in Helsinki, Finland. Senior Government Officials, representatives of science and business communities and various organizations from all around the Baltic Sea will participate to discuss current HELCOM activities to radically reduce pollution to the Baltic Sea and restore its good ecological status by 2021.
“The idea behind the upcoming Conference is to streamline various ongoing activities and projects and their resources to better serve the goal of achieving a healthy Baltic Sea,” says Anne Christine Brusendorff, HELCOM’s Executive Secretary. “We will also investigate synergies and possible needs for further coordination between the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan and other programmes, like the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, as well as the NIB/NEFCO TA fund, the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership, etc.”
The Stakeholder Conference will also, based on the work of each Baltic Sea country to develop a National Implementation Programme to reach the goals of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan, contribute to the exchange of ideas and indication of topics for possible new projects in fields that are lacking actions. This in turn will contribute to developing, together with the relevant sectors and actors, a list of projects to be considered at the HELCOM Moscow Ministerial Meeting, which will be held 20 May 2010.
The Stakeholder Conference will consist of an opening session and a plenary session, followed by four parallel thematic sessions. The opening session will feature presentations on synergies in implementing the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan and the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, as well as sources of funding. In the plenary session participants will focus on HELCOM’s strategic actions and flagship projects to combat eutrophication, caused by excessive inputs of nutrients from inadequately treated wastewater and agricultural run-off, halt inputs of hazardous substances, protect biodiversity and ensure the safety of navigation in the Baltic Sea area. Based on the presentations in the plenary session, discussions will continue in four parallel interactive sessions where participants will identify the needs for new projects and actions.
“The outcome of the sessions of the Conference will serve as an input to the implementation of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan,” says Brusendorff. “We consider this input very important and will explore and respond to suggestions raised by the major stakeholder groups in the region in order to ensure that the implementation of the plan will cover all necessary aspects raised by the Baltic Sea stakeholder community.”
HELCOM’s plan is considered an initiative of the highest political importance in the region. The Baltic Sea, which is the motorway for growth and prosperity of the region, has enormous importance to all the coastal countries. The long term economic and social well-being of the 85 million people living in the catchment area of the Baltic Sea highly depends on the state of the marine environment and therefore, the implementation of the plan will not only restore a healthy environment but will also be a driving force for growth and employment.
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.
Follow-up: Tentative programme of the Fifth Stakeholder Conference on the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan http://www.helcom.fi/BSAP/5thConf2010/en_GB/Programme/
Note to Editors:
The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM), is an intergovernmental organisation of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Community working to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region.
HELCOM is the governing body of the "Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area," more usually known as the Helsinki Convention.
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Nikolay Vlasov
Tel: +358 (0)46 8509196
Fax: +358 (0)207 412 645