Denmark is the new Chair of Helsinki Commission
12 July 2012, Helsinki, Finland – Ensuring result-oriented and sufficient implementation of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan is the key priority of the Danish Chairmanship of the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, also known as the Helsinki Commission or HELCOM. Denmark started its 2-year Chairmanship on 1 July 2012 and has nominated Ms. Helle Pilsgaard as the Chairlady of HELCOM. Ms. Pilsgaard is the Deputy Director General at the Danish Nature Agency of the Danish Ministry of the Environment, and also the Danish Marine Director of the European Union.
Denmark will prioritize HELCOM work to focus on all four segments of the Action Plan and its measures to curb eutrophication, eliminate inputs of hazardous substances, halt decline of biodiversity and ensure clean and safe shipping.
“The coming years will be exciting and busy for HELCOM, not least because of the Copenhagen Ministerial meeting in the autumn of 2013. Towards the Ministerial level meeting, Denmark will work for evaluating the progress in reaching a Baltic Sea in good environmental status, in cooperation with other HELCOM members. This will serve as the basis for environment ministers to assess the implementation status and decide on any further measures needed to reach the targets of the Action Plan by 2021 ”, says the new HELCOM Chairlady Ms. Helle Pilsgaard. One of the important area is the adoption of a revised nutrient reduction scheme of the HELCOM Action Plan, including country-wise nutrient reduction targets.
As a second priority, Denmark will pay specific attention to promoting and starting new initiatives where further progress is needed, such as in cleaning of waste water from cities and scattered settlements, the optimized use of slurry and animal manure, reducing impacts from the use of pesticides and dredging operations.
Improved knowledge base on marine litter, underwater noise, alien species and acidification of the sea, among others, will also be prioritized alongside with development of regionally coordinated assessments on the status of and pollution inputs to the marine environment as well as indicators to measure the effectiveness of actions taken.
Lastly, the Danish Chairmanship will work for a dynamic and effective HELCOM co-operation and continued development of HELCOM’s role in the Baltic Sea region as the environmental focal point. “We want to ensure that HELCOM continues to deliver added value in relation to on-going activities to improve the Baltic Sea environmental status. Specific needs for coordination and synergies in implementing the Baltic Sea Action Plan especially arise due to the fact that eight out of nine HELCOM countries also need to follow requirements of the European Union”, points out Ms. Pilsgaard. Further cooperation with other organizations and initiatives such as VASAB, BONUS research programme and ICES will also be pursued.
Ms. Helle Pilsgaard has succeeded Ms. Gabriella Lindholm of Sweden, who chaired the Helsinki Commission in 2010-2012. The Chairmanship of HELCOM rotates between the Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union according to the alphabetical order every two years. Ms. Pilsgaard will lead, as the Chairlady, the work of HELCOM up until 30 June 2014.
The full document “Priorities of the Danish Chairmanship of HELCOM 2012-14” can be downloaded here:
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Note for 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 Union 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, from 1974.
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