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 One goal, one direction, many ways: Streamlining the implementation of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan and other common actions for a healthy Baltic Sea


Opening Statement by Mr. Igor Maydanov, Chairman of HELCOM,

at the Fifth HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan Stakeholder Conference,

3 March 2010, Helsinki, Finland



Dear colleagues, distinguished guests!

It is a great honour for me - in my capacity as the Chairman of the Helsinki Commission - to open the Fifth HELCOM Annual Stakeholder Conference on the implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan.

The theme of this year’s conference is:  The streamlining of the work on the implementation of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan with other common actions for a healthy Baltic Sea.

The idea behind our Stakeholder Conference today is to discuss with you how to streamline various ongoing activities and projects and by that to make the most of existing resources and better serve the goal of achieving a healthy Baltic Sea.

We have already succeeded in streamlining many of our joint activities for the protection of the marine environment:

-         HELCOM priorities have been reflected in some EU funding programmes, making it possible to allocate funds to implement some of the most critical actions;

-         The EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region has heavily drawn on the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan and has in that way strengthened our commitments in the Action Plan,

-         The NIB/NEFCO Technical Assistance Fund has been created to finance actions to facilitate the implementation of the HELCOM Action Plan;

-         And last but not least – the Baltic Sea Action Summit a few weeks ago 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.

However - there is room for improvement, and we should continue our efforts to promote synergies between implementation of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan and other important processes, like the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.

We will today listen to three opening presentations to set the scene for the discussions: by Director General Mr. Dirk Ahner, representing the Regional Policy Directorate of the European Commission, by incoming HELCOM Chairlady, H.E. Ambassador Gabriella Lindholm, and by Senior Director, Harro Pitkanen representing the recently established Fund by the Nordic Investment Bank and the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation for implementation of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan.

We will also learn about some major projects contributing to the implementation of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan in four priority areas: eutrophication, hazardous substances, biodiversity and maritime activities.

Based on the presentations in the plenary session, the discussion will continue in the interactive sessions in the afternoon. This is where we are hoping for your active input and contributions – as the aim is to identify areas lacking actions and for which new activities and projects should be initiated.

As presented in the background papers distributed to support the work in the parallel sessions in the afternoon, measures included in the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan have served development of the many strategic and cooperative actions as well as flag ship projects of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, in its environmental pillar and safety and security pillars.

Many of the actions and projects to implement the HELCOM Action Plan have already been initiated; some have even been accomplished or are close to being finalized. Furthermore, work has been carried out in the countries to develop National Implementation Programmes for the Eutrophication and Hazardous Substances Segments of the HELCOM Action Plan.

This work, by multiple stakeholders operating together under the HELCOM umbrella or with HELCOM support, has already substantially contributed to the implementation of the EU Strategy.

However, there are still some areas in which there has been little progress or no actions have been taken yet and I hope that based on your contribution such areas can be identified and additional activities kicked-off in a coordinated manner and with involvement of all relevant and interested stakeholders.

As the outcome of this conference we would like to come up with a list of issues, for which further work needs to be initiated in order to achieve a full implementation of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan, and by that also other relevant measures and instruments, like the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.

And our joint efforts in making up this list are important – as the list will be fed into the HELCOM Moscow Ministerial Declaration.

The HELCOM Moscow Ministerial Meeting, to be held on 20 May this year, is our next stop on the way to ensure the full implementation of the HELCOM Action Plan. The Meeting will mark the beginning of the realization of the National Implementation Programmes, to be presented by each Coastal State for review by the Ministers. At the Meeting also a holistic assessment of the state of the Baltic Sea marine environment will be presented.

I would like to wish you fruitful discussions and successful work during today, contributing to HELCOM’s preparations to the upcoming Moscow Ministerial Meeting, and thus also to the ongoing work on how to achieve a prosperous, safe, attractive and environmentally sustainable Baltic Sea Region.

Thank you for your attention!



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