HELCOM launches Baltic Agriculture and Environment Forum
Helsinki, 18 November (HELCOM Information Service) – The Helsinki Commission working for the protection of the Baltic marine environment will hold today the inaugural meeting of the Agriculture and Environment Forum that would address issues related to protection of the Baltic Sea from pollution originating from farmland.
The First Meeting of the HELCOM Baltic Agriculture and Environment Forum will discuss the scope of work and range of future activities and to outline the issues that deserve specific attention.
“Established by the decision of the HELCOM Moscow Ministerial Meeting in May 1010, this is a Forum in which agricultural and environmental authorities have the possibility to meet, discuss and jointly take forward actions, based on gathered information and assessment of progress towards reaching the targets of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan,” says Anne Christine Brusendorff, HELCOM’s Executive Secretary. This action plan is designed to drastically reduce pollution to the marine environment and restore its good ecological status already by 2021.
The Agriculture and Environment Forum will also enable coordination and integration of the actions and projects implemented within the framework of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and its action plan so that these reflect and address the goals and targets of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan.
HELCOM has addressed the issue of prevention of pollution from agriculture both in terms of general requirements set in part 2 of Annex III of the Helsinki Convention (1992) as well as through other legal frameworks in the region, e.g. EU Nitrate Directive, IPPC Directive, Common Agricultural Policy, etc. However, the importance of agriculture as one of the major sources of nutrient pollution to the Baltic Sea remains to be significant.
“It is needed to continue the work to identify agricultural areas that are critical for nutrient pollution of the Baltic Sea and performing risk assessments of nutrient leaching for optimal targeting of measures and investments with biggest environmental potential benefit to the Baltic Sea,” says Brusendorff. “It cannot be done by only enforcement of the requirements, but should be complimented by broader exchange of national experiences concerning best practices and case studies, including risk assessments, nutrient balanced farming, manure handling and processing, application of fertilizers as well as restoration of natural and construction of artificial wetlands and establishing of buffer zones to trap nutrients from reaching the Baltic Sea.”
The First Meeting of the HELCOM Baltic Agriculture and Environment will be arranged following the agro-environmental conference “A greener agriculture for a bluer Baltic sea” to support sustainable agriculture in the Baltic Sea Region under the EU co-funded projects Baltic Compass and Baltic Deal, which was held in Helsinki on 17 November. Another important event that will be arranged today in Helsinki back-to-back with the Baltic Agriculture and Environment is the meeting within the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region Priority Area 9 on agriculture, forestry and fisheries by the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. HELCOM will coordinate its actions to prevent pollution from agriculture with both of these frameworks to be able to reach both the farmers’ and policy level.
Note to Editors:
The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as the Helsinki Commission, or HELCOM, is an intergovernmental organization 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. Mikhail Durkin
Tel: +358 (0)46 8509195
Fax: +358 (0)207 412 645
Mr. Nikolay Vlasov
Tel: +358 (0)46 8509196
Fax: +358 (0)207 412 645