HELCOM launches a web page on the Moscow Ministerial Meeting
Helsinki, 18 January (HELCOM Information Service) – HELCOM, the intergovernmental organization of the Baltic Sea countries for the protection of the marine environment, has launched a special web page on the Commission’s Ministerial Meeting which will be held in Moscow on 20 May 2010.
The web page provides information on the objectives and programme of the HELCOM Ministerial Meeting, as well other events that will be arranged in conjunction with the Meeting, including the HELCOM Baltic Cities Summit, which will be held in Moscow on 18 May, and the Ministerial press conference. The web page will be regularly updated and will include additional background information and features. Following the HELCOM Ministerial Meeting, the web page will provide the outcome documents and reports presented at the event.
“The upcoming Ministerial Meeting is considered a landmark event which will catalyze national commitments and launch full-scale actions towards the restoration of the degrading Baltic marine environment,” said HELCOM’s Chairman, Mr. Igor Maydanov. At the upcoming Moscow Ministerial Meeting all the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries are expected to present their National Implementation Programmes to achieve the objectives of the strategic HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan to radically reduce pollution to the sea and re-create its good ecological status by 2021.
“The implementation of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan is considered an initiative of the highest political importance for the Baltic Sea region as 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,” said Maydanov. The action plan focuses on the region’s most urgent environmental problem – the continuing eutrophication of the Baltic Sea, caused by the excessive nutrient loads of the nitrogen and phosphorus that are entering the sea mainly in run-off from farmland and inadequately treated sewage. This phenomenon leads to problems like increased algal blooms, murky waters, oxygen depletion and lifeless sea bottoms. Among other major challenges is pollution involving hazardous substances, habitat destruction and the decline of biodiversity, as well as maritime safety in the region.
HELCOM has become the first marine convention in the world to have developed a truly overarching programme of actions for the rehabilitation of an entire sea basin. The holistic plan contains concrete and meaningful actions to solve all major problems affecting the Baltic Sea. The plan is also a first ever attempt by a regional seas convention to incorporate an innovative 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. This vision dictates the need for specific, tailor-made solutions for different environmental challenges.
One of the major highlights of the new plan is that it opens a new era in marine environmental protection by including the concept of maximum allowable nutrient input, which still makes it possible for the Baltic Sea to reach a good ecological status. The plan also contains provisional country-wise annual nutrient input reduction targets for both nitrogen and phosphorus, the nutrient pollutants responsible for the continuing degradation of the sea.
The European Commission has already recognised that the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan will be instrumental for the successful implementation of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive in the region. The importance of HELCOM’s work is also recognised in relation to the EU Maritime Policy. And the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region is likewise expected to draw heavily from the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan in its environmental as well as safety and security pillars.
Web page on the HELCOM Moscow Ministerial Meeting http://www.helcom.fi/BSAP/MinisterialMeeting2010/en_GB/front/
The HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan (summary, background information and the complete plan) are available via the HELCOM website at http://www.helcom.fi/BSAP/en_GB/intro/
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