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Press release


HELCOM to discuss preparations for the Moscow Ministerial Meeting and the Baltic Cities Summit


Helsinki, 4 March (HELCOM Information Service) – Officials of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the EU will convene today in Helsinki for the annual HELCOM Meeting to review the organisation’s progress in the protection of the Baltic marine environment from pollution and set new objectives and priorities for future work.

“The preparations for the HELCOM Ministerial Meeting to be held on 20 May in Moscow will be the topmost issue on the agenda of the two-day Meeting,” says HELCOM’s Executive Secretary, Ms. Anne Christine Brusendorff. “Officials will particularly discuss the readiness of National Implementation Programmes to achieve the objective of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan to radically restore pollution to the marine environment and restore its good ecological status by 2021.” These programmes which are to be presented at the Moscow Ministerial Meeting should include concrete measures to reach the provisional country-wise nutrient pollution reduction targets as set in the Baltic Sea Action Plan. With the National Implementation Programmes in place, the work to curb eutrophication and halt pollution by hazardous substances will pick up pace considerably. At the annual Meeting, representatives of the coastal countries will also discuss the draft Moscow Ministerial Declaration. Additionally, the Commission is expected to endorse a set of new and revised Recommendations which will be adopted in Moscow, they include measures to combat hazardous substances, ensure safe shipping and response to maritime oil pollution.

The Meeting will consider the outcome of the Fifth Stakeholder Conference on the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan, which took place on 3 March in Helsinki. 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 and initiatives, 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 has made an important contribution to the exchange of ideas and indicated topics for possible new projects in fields that are lacking actions,” says Brusendorff. “This in turn will contribute to the development of a HELCOM list of project areas or activities which will be endorsed by the Moscow HELCOM Ministerial Meeting on 20 May 2010.”

Another key topic at the Meeting will be the preparations for the first ever Baltic Cities Summit to be held on 18 May also in Moscow.  The Summit will give input to the Moscow HELCOM Ministerial Meeting on how local actors and stakeholders can contribute to the implementation of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan. It will focus on measures at the sub-regional level to reduce inputs of nutrients from municipal and shipping sewage, causing eutrophication of the Baltic Sea. Participants will include mayors of the capitals and coastal cities, managers of municipal wastewater treatment utilities, major ports and shipping companies, as well as international financial institutions and NGOs. 

The annual Commission Meeting will also review the activities of the HELCOM Subsidiary Groups, as well as working programmes, intersessional work and ongoing projects, including the implementation of the Baltic Sea Joint Comprehensive Environmental Action Programme (JCP). The continuing recovery of major pollution hot spots in the Baltic Sea coastal countries will be also an important issue on the Agenda. The Meeting is expected to consider the removal of St. Petersburg's Central Aeration Station from the list of the Baltic Sea's most significant pollution sources. According to experts, this wastewater treatment plant, one of the largest in Europe and the largest in the Baltic Sea region, has reached the discharge target of less than 0.5 milligram of phosphorus per litre one year ahead of HELCOM's set deadline. It will drastically reduce the load of phosphorus to the Gulf of Finland and hence help curbing eutrophication in the whole Baltic Sea region. The renovation project worth 58 million Euros was co-funded from both national and international sources, including a grant by the John Nurminen Foundation (Finland) for advanced phosphorus removal.

The annual Meeting of the Helsinki Commission will take place at the Marina Congress Center in Helsinki. It will be conducted by HELCOM’s Chairman, Mr. Igor Maydanov. 


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