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Kick-off Stakeholder Conference on the development of
the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan




webDSC00304.JPGThe concept of the ambitious HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan received overwhelming support at a Stakeholder Conference held on 7 March in Helsinki, Finland, where up to 200 participants, representing scientific and business communities, governments of the coastal countries, as well as major regional organisations met to discuss the objectives of the strategy and to provide input to its further development.




webDSC00295.JPGHELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan - a pilot project for European seas

The HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan is to ensure that all possible measures are taken to reduce pollution in the Baltic Sea and to repair the damage done to the marine environment. The HELCOM action plan, which has already been widely heralded as a pilot project for the European seas under the newly drafted EU Marine Strategy, will provide a unique opportunity to take joint wide-scale and decisive actions to achieve the ultimate target of having a healthy marine environment with balanced eco-systems even for the present generation to enjoy.


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Four themes: eutrophication, hazardous substances, maritime transport and biodiversity

The programme of the kick-off Stakeholder Conference consisted of a general presentation of the aim and timing of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan, introduction on the state of marine environment, four thematic sessions on the proposed objectives for the main environmental issues: eutrophication, hazardous substances, biodiversity and shipping, as well as general comments and presentations by high-level politicians.

Eutrophication small.jpgEutrophication small.jpg  Hazardous substances small.jpg  Maritime transport small.jpg  Biodiversity small.jpg

The aim of these assessments was not to provide a comprehensive overview on the state of the Baltic Sea. They aim to initiate discussion on indicator based assessments and how to use Ecological Objectives as basic assessment tools and what indicators are needed to assess how the objectives are being met. The draft assessments have not been adopted by HELCOM.

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Outcome of the Kick-off Conference

The Conference emphasised that HELCOM is the intergovernmental organisation within the Baltic Sea region with the mandate to deal comprehensively with the problems of the Baltic Sea and to jointly agree on implementation of measures to preserve and protect the Baltic marine environment, to conserve natural habitats and biodiversity and to ensure the sustainable use of natural resources within the Baltic Sea region.

The European Commission strongly backed the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan and intends to take an active part in its development over the coming months. The HELCOM Action Plan is also fully in line with the EU Marine Strategy, will apply the ecosystem-based approach to the management of the Baltic Sea. In setting a definition of ‘good ecological status’ for the Baltic Sea as well as specific environmental targets and necessary measures, the plan will be instrumental to the successful implementation of the European Marine Strategy in the region. The HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan therefore makes HELCOM a front-runner and a model to follow among regional seas conventions in Europe.

The outcome of the Stakeholder Conference on the Baltic Sea Action Plan was discussed at the HELCOM annual meeting, which took place on 8-9 March in Helsinki, Finland.

A document describing the HELCOM vision, strategic goals and ecological objectives as well as a draft assessment on climate change in the Baltic Sea basin were also presented at the Conference.

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Chairman's opening remarks
-           Mr. Arturas Daubaras, HELCOM Chairman (+ power point presentation)

Introduction -

General presentation of the aim and timing of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan and its relation to the work on Ecological Objectives and associated indicators as cornerstones of the plan. Short introduction to the state of the marine environment within the four main environmental issues, identified through HELCOM’s monitoring and assessment programmes.

-           Ms. Anne Christine Brusendorff, HELCOM Executive Secretary (+ power point presentation)


Thematic session on eutrophication - 

Proposed objectives and indicators based on the HELCOM assessment on eutrophication. Examples of sub-regional targets, required load reductions and most cost-effective measures.


-          Session Moderator: Mr. Lars-Erik Liljelund, Swedish EPA

-          Introduction to the issue: HELCOM Secretariat (power point presentation)

-          Stakeholder opinion/reply: Mr. Esa Härmälä, BFFE (power point presentation)

                                                Mr. Gunnar Norén, CCB (power point presentation)


Thematic session on biodiversity -  

Proposed objectives, indicators and targets based on the HELCOM assessment on biodiversity.


-           Session Moderator: Ms. Pauli Snoeijs, BMB (power point presentation)

-           Introduction: HELCOM Secretariat (power point presentation)

-           Stakeholder opinion/reply: Science community, Mr. Sergej Olenin, Klaipeda University (power point presentation)


Thematic session on the proposed objectives for shipping - 

Proposed objectives, indicators and management targets based on the HELCOM assessment on shipping.

-           Session moderator: Mr. Peter Ehlers, President of the German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency

-           Introduction: HELCOM Secretariat (power point presentation)

-           Stakeholder opinion/reply: Mr. Carsten Melchiors, BIMCO (power point presentation),

                                                 Mr. Tim Wilkins, INTERTANKO (power point presentation)


Thematic session on the proposed objectives for hazardous substances -  

Proposed objectives, indicators and targets based on trends in inputs and concentrations in the marine environment.

-           Moderator: Ms. Eeva-Liisa Poutanen, Finnish Marine Research Institute (power point presentation)

-           Introduction: HELCOM Secretariat (power point presentation)

-           Stakeholder opinion/reply:  Mr. Lasse Gustavsson, WWF (power point presentation)



HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan: General comments

Presentations by a high level politician at the Conference

-           Presentation by Mr. Stefan Wallin, State Secretary, Ministry of the Environment, Finland

-           Presentation by a representative of the private sector, Ms. Marjukka Porvari, the John Nurminen Foundation           (power point presentation)
-           Presentation by Mr. Peter Gammeltoft, European Commission

-           Presentation by a representative of International Financial Institutions, Mr. Harro Pitkänen, Senior Vice President of NIB   (power point presentation)
-           Presentation by Mr. Bob Dekker, OSPAR Chairman ( + power point presentation)
-           Presentation by Mr. Kornelius Sigmundsson, CBSS/CSO Chairman


Chairmans concluding remarks
 -          Mr. Arturas Daubaras, HELCOM Chairman