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The Baltic Sea Joint Comprehensive Environmental Action Programme (JCP)


Many pollution sources within the Baltic Sea drainage basin may harm the marine environment as well as affecting people's health and livelihoods. Carefully co-ordinated international co-operation on reducing pollution is vital.

Over half of the 162 serious pollution areas - so called hot spots - identified around the Baltic Sea since 1992 have already been cleaned up.

This positive development is the result of the implementation of the Baltic Sea Joint Comprehensive Environmental Action Programme (JCP) - the international environmental management framework for the long-term restoration of the ecological balance of the Baltic Sea.

A Programme Implementation Task Force (PITF), consisting of representatives from the European Union and every country in the Baltic Sea drainage basin as well as international financing institutions and governmental and non-governmental organisations, coordinated the implementation of the JCP during the last years. Focus was on investments made to reduce pollution from a variety of sources, including serious pollution "Hot Spots" designated by HELCOM, and on drafting management plans for sensitive coastal lagoons and wetlands.

A Working Group on Agriculture (WGA) worked under the PITF to minimise pollution from agricultural sources. 

Due to a change in priorities the Programme Implementation Task Force was closed down in June 2003 and HELCOM LAND is now responisble for the implementation of the JCP with a view to have the programme completed by 2012 at the latest.


The objective is to facilitate the implementation of pollution reduction measures at the most polluted sites in the Baltic Sea catchment area. The actions identified for HELCOM LAND to achieve this are to:

a.      Assess the development and support the Contracting Parties when addressing the problems of the Hot Spots;

b.      Review the List of Hot Spots according to the latest development and pollution alleviation priorities leading to deletion of existing Hot Spots;

c.      Ensure a stronger coordination and cooperation with similar programmes and activities.

The history of the JCP

1989: Liberalisation in Eastern Europe led to closer contacts between all the countries around the Baltic Sea and increased commitment to environmental co-operation.
1990: The Baltic Sea Declaration was signed in Ronneby, Sweden, by Heads of Governments and High Political Representatives. The declaration defined the JCP as a tool for the implementation of the 1974 Helsinki Convention.
1992: The new Helsinki Convention approved the JCP's 20-year programme of action, anticipating phased strategic investment throughout the region with a total estimated cost of about 18 billion ECU.
1998: The JCP was reviewed and updated. Most JCP components were transferred to HELCOM's ordinary working bodies apart from Investment activities.
2003: PITF closed.



Contact info

Professional Secretary
Mr. Mikhail Durkin
Phone: +358 46 850 9195