Review the HELCOM monitoring and assessment programmes (HELCOM MON-PRO)
During the next years several major changes/events will take place in the Baltic Sea area:
All but one of the Contracting Parties to HELCOM enter the European Union by May 2004, and almost the whole Baltic Sea drainage area will be under EU legislation;
Implementation of EU directives is an important and obligatory step in the integration process of the countries concerned;
Especially implementation of the Water Framework Directive, covering the coastal waters out to the territorial borders, will be of special importance;
The European Commission develops in collaboration with the Marine Conventions the European Marine Strategy, covering all European marine waters, which in the near future put demands on harmonisation within the marine conventions (HELCOM, OSPAR, Barcelona, Black Sea).
Another important change during the last decade is the introduction of new principles of environmental management procedures. A paradigm change is at hand, moving from management of single environmental issues like eutrophication, over fishing and hazardous substances towards a holistic ecosystem approach in which environmental problems are interrelated and integrated with the socio-economic pressures, all influencing the ecosystem.
The harmonisation is already in progress, since HELCOM MONAS initiated harmonising of the assessment procedures with the European Environmental Agency (EEA) some years ago. The aim is to avoid double work in data handling and reporting, production of Indicator Fact Sheets and timely assessment reports. However, taking into account the above mentioned political and conceptual changes, it is now time to evaluate and revise the whole work of MONAS. The revision should make use of the 2003 Bremen Ministerial Declaration.
The main objective of the project is to make concrete proposals to adapt the HELCOM monitoring programmes and assessment procedures, by 2006, to be in line with corresponding pan-European activities and scientific and technological development in the field of monitoring.
The overall aim of HELCOM monitoring programmes is to provide data for assessments, and thus the basic goals of this project are the following:
To have operational, indicator based assessment procedures related to Ecological Quality Objectives, including indicator fact sheets, thematic reports and scientific background assessments;
To have one combined monitoring programme for the Baltic Sea, which includes emissions-discharges-losses and inputs to, as well as concentrations and effects in the Baltic Sea, to provide information to the Contracting Parties, HELCOM, the EC and for other international fora; and
Harmonised HELCOM monitoring and assessment procedures with the EU WFD, Marine Strategy (EMMA group) and other international activities.
The revised HELCOM monitoring programme should be co-ordinated with the HELCOM Project to develop EcoQOs for the Baltic Sea, preparatory work of the European Marine Strategy, the relevant activities carried out by OSPAR, EEA and ICES and the continued work of the Common implementation strategy for the WFD.
The MON-PRO project should address the following priority issues:
Increasingly crowded shipping lanes;
Habitats and biodiversity at risk.
The project shall consider the following:
assessment criteria and tools should be harmonised in order to ensure that different assessments covering (part of) a sea region are consistent for that region;
Use the ecosystem approach to manage human activities;
Make use of the Water Framework Directive tools for rationalising monitoring and assessments;
The HELCOM MON-PRO project should introduce the concept of, surveillance monitoring, operational monitoring and investigative monitoring.
The Project Group shall submit interim reports to the HELCOM MONAS and Heads of Delegation for further advice.
In addition, the following seminars/workshops will be arranged in 2004:
PLC seminar in January-February at the premises of HELCOM Secretariat;
Coastal fish monitoring workshop in February-March in Tallinn, Estonia;
Indicator workshop in the end of May at the Secretariat;
Joint EC/JRC, HELCOM and BSC monitoring and assessment workshop in April;
Project Group meeting to finalize the draft status report for HELCOM MONAS 7/2004 in autumn.
Project Manager, Mr. Bertil Håkansson
Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI)
Nya Varvet 31
S-426 71 Västra Frölunda, Sweden
Tel: +46 (31) 7518960