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Helsinki, Finland


Statement by Ms. Anne Christine Brusendorff, Executive Secretary of HELCOM,

at the Annual HELCOM Meeting,

4 March 2010, Helsinki



Not only is the year 2010 the year to mark and celebrate the 10th anniversary of the entry into force of the 1992 Helsinki Convention, but this and last year marked some major milestones in the Baltic marine environment cooperation.

Milestones that have emphasized the necessity of a healthy marine environment and also that the activities carried out in the region need to take into account the carrying capacity of the marine environment.

The latest in a series of events was the Baltic Sea Action Summit, in Helsinki. The composition of participants, involving both high level politicians, representatives of business’, Governmental organizations (with HELCOM being represented by our Chairman, Mr. Igor Maydanov) and Non-governmental organizations was a forceful example of the desire and willingness to work for a healthy Baltic Sea. And not least to support the road that has already been paved with the adoption of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan.

Such examples include also the adoption in 2009 of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, the establishment of the joint NIB/NEFCO fund to facilitate the implementation of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan and the allocation of funds to various projects, related to the implementation of the HELCOM Action Plan. And within HELCOM the establishment of the co-chaired HELCOM Baltic Fisheries and Environmental Forum, can be taken as an exemplification of the importance attached to sector-integration.

For many of you this has also been a year of additional performance, due to all these initiatives, and more than ever I think it is important for us to find the right balance in co-ordinating the various works and ensuring that we co-operate in achieving our common aim; a healthy Baltic Sea.

In carrying out this co-ordination it must be ensured that HELCOM on one hand keeps its independence and the level playing field among all participating members and on the other hand it must be ensured that work and timeframes of parallel processes are taken into account.

This requires of all participants a willingness to work together, with an underlying understanding of each other and our different requirements, which then needs to find its way into the practical and everyday cooperation within HELCOM.

In 2007 you flagged the role of HELCOM, as the regional body for the implementation of the ecosystem based approach. We will during this meeting discuss how we shall present our progress in the implementation, based on a comprehensive report on the status of the marine environment as well as outline the way forward in this work.

I have to admit that I am worried abut the process and progress in the preparations for the HELCOM Moscow Ministerial Meeting, and I hope we can all do our best to find the right way forward.

It is my wish for this meeting that we would concentrate on the strategic role of HELCOM in achieving a healthy Baltic Sea, and with this in mind also make use of the draft HELCOM Ministerial Declaration and the upcoming HELCOM Moscow Ministerial meeting, to pin down this understanding. And in this work I think it is of outmost importance to recall the role of HELCOM, firstly as a bridge between science and policy-making, and secondly as a provider of Baltic-wide coherence and priorities – based on the joint scientific understanding of the current and the wanted status of the sea (created via expert-level co-operation among the countries and the EU) - guiding the needed additional measures.

I sincerely hope that this will be our starting point of today’s and tomorrow’s discussions.

Finally, I also want to address my colleagues in the Secretariat. Because for you it has also been a demanding year, requiring more than the normal work performance. I want to thank you all; it is a true pleasure to have such caring, competent and dedicated colleagues.

You can rest assure that we as a team will continue to support and facilitate your work and the work of HELCOM and do our outmost in the preparations for the HELCOM Moscow Ministerial Meeting on the 20th of May.

Thank you.


Note to Editors:

The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM), is an intergovernmental organisation of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Community working to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region.

HELCOM is the governing body of the "Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area," more usually 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