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Press release


HELCOM conference identifies topics for new projects to restore the Baltic Sea


Helsinki, 3 March (HELCOM Information Service) - Implementation of strategic actions and flagship projects to achieve a healthy Baltic Sea was the major focus of the Fifth Stakeholder Conference on the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan, which was held today in Helsinki. More than one hundred officials, representatives of science and business communities and various organizations from all around the Baltic Sea participated to discuss current HELCOM activities to radically reduce pollution to the Baltic Sea and restore its good ecological status by 2021.

The aim of the Conference was to streamline various ongoing activities and projects and their resources to better serve the goal of achieving a healthy Baltic Sea. Participants from around the Baltic Sea investigated synergies and possible needs for further coordination between the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan and other programmes, like the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, as well as the NIB/NEFCO BSAP Technical Assistance Fund, the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership, etc.

The Stakeholder Conference consisted of an opening session and a plenary session, followed by four parallel thematic sessions. The opening session featured presentations on synergies in implementing the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan and the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, as well as sources of funding. In the plenary session participants focused on HELCOM’s strategic actions and flagship projects to combat eutrophication, caused by excessive inputs of nutrients from inadequately treated wastewater and agricultural run-off, halt inputs of hazardous substances, protect biodiversity and ensure environmentally friendly maritime activities in the Baltic Sea area. Based on the presentations in the plenary session, discussions then continued in four parallel interactive sessions where participants identified the needs for new projects and actions.   

In his opening statement the Chairman of HELCOM, Mr. Igor Maydanov referred to the “success stories” in streamlining the activities for the protection of the marine environment. He referred to the recent Baltic Sea Action Summit which showed that it is possible for the Baltic Sea States’ leaders, private businesses, research institutions, NGOs and individuals to join their forces and make commitments for activities to support the achievement of the goal of a healthy Baltic Sea.  Mr. Maydanov also pointed to the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region which draws heavily from the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan in its environmental as well as safety and security pillars. Many of the actions and projects to implement the Baltic Sea Action Plan have already substantially contributed to the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. At the same time the EU Strategy has given additional political support and has strengthened the commitments already made by the Baltic Sea countries in the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan. It has also pushed for a more coordinated approach among different authorities in the countries, local governments, NGO’s and other stakeholders in implementing various activities, including those aiming at making the Baltic Sea region an environmentally sustainable place.

Participant noted, however, that there are still some areas in which there has been little progress, or no actions have been taken yet, and which require additional efforts to kick-off the activities in a coordinated manner and with involvement of all relevant/interested stakeholders.

“Based on the work of each Baltic Sea country to develop a National Implementation Programme to reach the goals of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan, the Stakeholder Conference has made an important contribution to the exchange of ideas and indication of topics for possible new projects in fields that are lacking actions,” says HELCOM’s Executive Secretary, Ms. Anne Christine Brusendorff. “This in turn will contribute to the development of a HELCOM list of project areas/activities which will be endorsed by the Moscow HELCOM Ministerial Meeting on 20 May 2010.”


Note to Editors: 

The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as the Helsinki Commission, or HELCOM, is an intergovernmental organisation 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. Nikolay Vlasov

Information Secretary


Tel: +358 (0)46 850 9196

Fax: +358 (0)207 412 645

E-mail: nikolay.vlasov@helcom.fi