Implementation of the JCP
Updating and Strengthening Measures
Beyond the JCP Updating Process
List of Baltic Sea Environment Proceedings
Meeting at Visby, Sweden, in May 1996, Heads of Governments of Baltic Sea States, while stating that the Baltic Sea Joint Comprehensive Environmental Action Programme (JCP) will continue to play a major role in international co-operation to protect and enhance the marine environment of the Baltic Sea, emphasized the need to update and strengthen the Programme and to accelerate its implementation.
Responding to this decision the Programme Implementation Task Force of the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM PITF) immediately initiated a project to make a review of Programme implementation and elaborate recommendations for updating and strengthening of the JCP. The Leadership of the Project was entrusted to Poland. Most of the governments and other parties, co-operating within the framework of the HELCOM PITF, have actively participated in the Project.
The Project was successfully concluded in February
this year. The emerging recommendations, after consideration and approval
by the HELCOM PITF, are contained in this report which was submitted to
the Helsinki Commission, meeting at Ministerial level, and endorsed.
Chairman of HELCOM PITF
|Mieczyslaw S. Ostojski
Vice-Chairman of HELCOM PITF
The Baltic Sea Joint Comprehensive Environmental Action Programme (JCP) provides an environmental management framework for the long-term restoration of the ecological balance of the Baltic Sea, through a series of preventive and curative actions to be undertaken in a phased manner in the region. The JCP includes all the countries of the drainage basin and was mandated by the resolution endorsed at the Baltic Sea Environment Conference held at Ronneby, Sweden in 1990. At this unprecedented international environmental conference, the participating Heads of Government, High Political Representatives from the region, senior representatives of invited international financial institutions (IFIs) and observers from nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) joined together to create a "shared vision" for environmental management of the Baltic Sea through an implementable programme of actions throughout the entire drainage basin. The Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) was requested to coordinate the JCP process with the cooperating parties.
Implementing the Helsinki Convention
The JCP, which was approved in 1992, provides a practical basis for realisation of the objectives of the Helsinki Convention and establishes a framework for sustained cooperation among the Contracting Parties to the Convention, other governments within the region, international financial institutions, and nongovernmental organisations who share a common interest in environmental protection and natural resources management within this important and ecologically sensitive region. The fact that the JCP emerged as the direct result of a meeting of the Prime Ministers has granted it a particularly high level of political visibility, which has been complemented by sustained broad based public interest and support for its implementation.
Objective and Elements of the JCP
The objective of the JCP is to support a programme of complementary "preventive" and "curative" measures within the entire drainage basin on a long-term basis to restore the ecological balance of the Baltic Sea. The JCP consists of six complementary elements: (a) policies, laws and regulations; (b) institutional strengthening and human resource development; (c) investment activities addressing point and non-point source pollution; (d) management programmes for coastal lagoons and wetlands; (e) applied research; and (f) public awareness and environmental education. The JCP includes a series of priority actions to be undertaken at "hot spots" throughout the entire drainage basin. These "hot spots" include traditional point sources of pollution associated with municipal and industrial sources; "non-point source pollution" from agriculture and rural settlements in the major drainage basins; and priority areas for special management related to coastal lagoons and wetlands. It was estimated, on the basis of information available in 1992, that implementation of the JCP would have an estimated cost of 18 billion ECU and require a phased implementation period of 20 years.
HELCOM PITF - An Important Partnership
In order to coordinate the implementation of the JCP on a sustained basis, the HELCOM Programme Implementation Task Force (HELCOM PITF) was established. The PITF plays a unique role in the work of HELCOM, since it is the only official body which includes the participation of the European Union and all the countries in the Baltic Sea drainage basin, provides an institutional framework for cooperation with IFIs and creates a means for effective collaboration with a wide range of NGOs on JCP activities. The PITF plays a critical role in opening the work of HELCOM to a larger range of participants and providing a structure to maintain the critical "partnership" which has been developed under the JCP. An overview of the members and observers of the HELCOM PITF is provided in Box 1. The activities of the JCP are complemented by the Environment for Europe process, which operates at the pan-European level and includes activities to address policy and institutional development as well as the important work of the Project Preparation Committee (PPC). The PPC has proven to be successful in mobilisation of resources for the preparation and implementation of projects in support of the JCP.
Updating and Strengthening the JCP
The Heads of Government of the Baltic Sea States, following the precedent of the Ronneby Conference, met at Visby, Sweden in 1996 to review regional cooperation with an emphasis on promoting sustainable development. It was concluded at the Visby Summit that significant progress had been achieved in implementation of the JCP and that it was appropriate to request the PITF to prepare a review of progress in JCP implementation and to provide recommendations for future action to address emerging issues. Consistent with this decision at the Visby Summit, the HELCOM PITF initiated a cooperative project for the "Updating and Strengthening of the JCP." The Terms of Reference for this Project focused on the following issues: assessment of current environmental conditions in the region; review of progress in implementation of the JCP; evaluation of emerging trends in the region; identification of actions for updating and strengthening the JCP; recommendations concerning financing of future activities; and noting lessons learned to date from the implementation process.
Implementation of the JCP
Transition From Planning to Implementation
The JCP has been highly successful in making the transition from planning to full scale implementation at the field level over the last five years. On an international scale it provides an excellent example of a regional environmental programme that has been able to make this complex transition and initiate activities in a large number of complementary areas. All cooperating countries have undertaken both preventive and curative measures to address priorities identified in the JCP. While the first phase of Programme implementation has proceeded very well, especially given the complex economic conditions within the region, there is a critical need for sustained political commitment and broad based public support over the long term to achieve the principle objective of the JCP, the restoration of the ecological balance of the Baltic Sea.
Effective Resource Mobilisation
The JCP process, especially the funding and implementation of projects and activities, has been based on strong partnerships between a wide variety of complementary parties who have worked together on a continuous basis to support the Programme. Currently, of the 132 "hot spots" identified in the JCP, investment is being undertaken at 56 locations for the whole or parts of the hot spot and technical assistance activities in support of project development and resource mobilisation are proceeding at 73 sites. To date, 15 sites have been deleted from the "hot spot" list, as the result of investment activities in the pulp and paper sector in Finland and Sweden, completion of improvements in wastewater treatment facilities in Germany and the closure of a number of industrial facilities in the countries in transition. Equally important are the many relationships developed between the cooperating parties, which will provide the necessary experience and skills required for meeting the challenges of the second phase of the Programme. Map 1 provides an overview of the locations at which actions related to implementation are currently being undertaken within the Baltic Sea region.
Results on the Ground
Throughout the region, activities to implement the JCP are beginning to have results on the ground, leading to a range of regional, national and local benefits. Programme activities to support strengthening of water and wastewater utilities have focused on rehabilitation, upgrading and/or expansion of infrastructure in municipalities in the countries in transition. These interventions have included actions in municipalities beyond those included on the JCP-list of "hot spots." Representative projects include: Haapsalu, Pärnu, Tallinn and Tartu in Estonia; Daugavpils, Liepaja and Riga in Latvia; Kaunas, Klaipeda, Siauliai and Vilnius in Lithuania; and Gdansk, Gdynia-Debogorze, Torun and other cities in Poland. Project preparation is being undertaken in Kaliningrad and implementation of selected activities has started in St. Petersburg in the Russian Federation. A project is also under preparation for Lviv in Ukraine. In addition, in the Russian Federation, a national water and wastewater programme that will address issues in 15-20 cities throughout the country is being developed. Mechanisms have also been established and funded for interventions to support medium and small municipal systems in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) supported Small Municipalities Environment Project in Estonia provides an example of a project to address a number of smaller cities.
Challenges in the Industrial Sector
Progress under the JCP in addressing environmental issues in the industrial sector has proceeded at a slower rate than work at the municipal level. While actions have been taken at many locations in all portions of the region, implementation activities in the countries in transition should be expanded in the next phase of the Programme. Priority should be given to resolving issues related to ownership and liability; restrictions on restructuring production lines and staffing levels; development of effective investment funding mechanisms; and development of legal and regulatory frameworks that allow active participation of the private sector in various ways. In Poland, national and local environment funds have supported selected investments in industrial pollution control, and Russia has established a National Pollution Abatement Facility to provide financial support for qualified industrial facilities. Major activities have been undertaken with support of IFIs and bilateral donors to develop skills in environmental audits, clean production, waste minimisation, energy efficiency and improved health and safety standards in industry. The wider use of certification programmes, such as the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) and the ISO 14001 of the International Standards Organisation, are having a positive impact in this sector within the region.
Development of Frameworks for Interventions
The JCP implementation process has supported the development of frameworks for interventions in a number of Programme areas. Interventions related to control of non-point source pollution from agriculture and rural settlements have focused on establishment of a sound financial, social and technical basis for activities, by supporting demonstration programmes at the field level in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The demonstration phase of these programmes has successfully been completed and the second phase of the Programme will feature development of full-scale operational projects. The JCP has also supported the efforts of the Working Group on Coastal Lagoons and Wetlands which has participated in cooperative development of management plans for key sites of international, regional and local significance. These plans, with appropriate adjustments to fully comply with national and local planning and administration in the cooperating countries, will provide a framework for management and small scale investment activities required to protect and rehabilitate these critical ecosystems.
Economic Benefits and Transfer of Technology
In countries in transition, JCP related projects have provided important opportunities for local consulting firms, individual experts, construction companies and equipment suppliers to participate in these activities. This has stimulated employment generation, economic growth, and effective use of local skills. Internationally funded projects that included the participation of international consultants and contractors have supported transfer of experience in project planning and design; facilitated institutional strengthening and human resources development; introduced new construction methods and technologies; and developed new systems for project/construction supervision and quality assurance.
Programme Funding and Management
Importance of Integration of Programme Priorities into Investment
Development and financing of JCP related "free standing" environmental projects and projects which have major environmental components has demonstrated the critical importance of integration of environmental priorities into national investment plans. It is clear that the countries with the highest rates of investment under the JCP are those which have built these priorities into their formal investment strategy. Where this has been done both domestic and international sources of funding, including loans, soft loans and grants, have been more readily available and project development has proceeded in a much more efficient and timely manner. Integration of priorities into investment plans has had the added advantage of bringing parties responsible for planning, finance, environment, and cooperating sectoral ministries and municipalities together to reach a consensus on priorities in a formally structured manner.
International Funding Accelerates JCP Implementation
International funding in the form of loans, soft loans, grants and other types of assistance has been instrumental in accelerating the rate of JCP implementation in the countries in transition. This process has included several major sources of support:
· European Union Programmes. The European Commission has used four large external programmes of grant based financial support to assist countries in transition in preparation and implementation of the JCP. These external programmes include EU (Phare), EU (Tacis), EU (Interreg) and EU (Life). The decision to restructure EU (Phare) as an instrument to support the accession process and to fund priority investment actions will increase the role of this mechanism in the next phase of the JCP.
· Bilateral Donors. The provision of grants for a wide range of studies, training programmes and investments by a number of bilateral donors, especially Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway and Sweden, has been critical for preparation and implementation of the Programme and individual projects. The use of bilateral investment funds has been concentrated to date on cofinanced investment projects in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Russia. This support has been complemented by additional assistance provided by nearly all European Union member countries, Canada, Japan, Norway, Switzerland and the United States.
· Special Mechanisms. In the region, special mechanisms have been established to support environmental investments. These include "Eco-Conversion Funds" and "Debt for Nature" swaps. The Eco-Fund in Poland provides a good example of such a mechanism.
Project Planning and Management
Implementation of the JCP has demonstrated the need to give special attention to improvement of project planning and management skills required to make many municipalities, utilities and industries creditworthy and able to effectively use loan and grant funding from domestic and international sources. A priority area is the development, in both traditional market economies and countries in transition, of improved skills in strategic planning, financial management and accounting. Often, complex and contradictory institutional relationships, sometimes including political interference in the day-to-day management of municipal utility companies, hamper the sound development and implementation of projects. For projects to be sustainable, it is important that the institutions responsible for their planning, implementation and operation have sufficient managerial skills and a solid financial situation. Improvement of skills in contract management; competitively based procurement; and disbursement continue to be consistently identified as a major area for institutional strengthening in the countries in transition. Development of these skills frequently requires the use of qualified international expertise and is often not possible without external grant financing for these services and related training activities.
Updating and Strengthening Measures
Adjustments to the JCP
The review process reconfirmed the soundness of the basic approach adopted in the original design of the JCP, which focused on implementation of a series of complementary "preventive" and "curative" measures in a phased manner throughout the Baltic Sea drainage basin. The JCP should therefore largely be maintained in its original form as the framework for this regional environmental programme and only limited adjustments to the structure and content should be made. The scope and priority of various Programme Elements have changed during the course of implementation and minor modifications in the Programme should be made to reflect these developments. In addition, the scope of the JCP should be adjusted to address selected emerging environmental problems in the region.
Role of HELCOM and the PITF
A Proactive Role
Reconsideration of the organisational structure and working methods of the HELCOM PITF will be part of the overall HELCOM revision process. The forthcoming review of the organisational structure of HELCOM should take into account the special needs of the PITF in the JCP implementation process. Experience thus far indicates the clear need to continue the mandate of the HELCOM PITF as a coordination and reporting mechanism to support the JCP. It is recommended, however, that a more proactive role should be taken by HELCOM and the PITF in implementation of the JCP. The resource mobilisation activities of the PITF should continue to be coordinated with the PPC to facilitate the effective and timely matching of domestic resources, loans and grants to support the preparation and implementation of projects on an accelerated basis.
Strengthening the PITF Implementation Support
Strengthening the role of the HELCOM PITF can be supported by adoption of innovations during the next phase of the JCP, including greater emphasis on the use of the PITF as a forum for collective discussions of environmental management challenges, emerging trends, and other complex issues. Greater emphasis might also be given in the work of the PITF to the identification of lessons learned and the dissemination of experience gained from Programme implementation. It is recommended that a performance review system be developed for the PITF, including a system for reporting on implementation progress of the various elements of the JCP. Priority should be given to preparation of a comprehensive annual report that includes an activity inventory to be updated on a regular basis and the use of performance indicators; this would provide an overview of progress in all elements of the Programme.
External and Internal Coordination
The work of the PITF should give greater emphasis to both external and internal coordination to broaden support for the JCP. The priority for external coordination should be active work with decision makers, cooperating parties and the public concerning implementation of the JCP. Measures should also be taken to increase coordination with the Environment for Europe process, the series of environmental conventions developed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE), as well as with complementary activities in the region such as Baltic 21 and VASAB 2010. Internally, HELCOM management should take measures to more fully integrate the work programmes of the well established Environment and Technological Committees with the activities of the PITF. This would facilitate use of their specific competence in the JCP process to improve environmental management; it would also sharpen the applied focus of Committee work. This should be complemented by a more active role in management by the Working Groups and Task Teams and by development of guidelines for the activities of Lead Parties.
Greater Focus on Specific Tasks
It is recommended, consistent with the approved revision of HELCOM activities, that the work of the PITF become more task oriented to increase effectiveness and to use limited financial resources more efficiently. In this context, it is proposed that the PITF identify specific tasks which should be undertaken, develop terms of reference and budgets for these activities and enter into formal agreements and/or contracts for their performance. This type of approach has already been tested for the Project on Agriculture and the JCP updating and strengthening process. It could be applied to a range of proposed activities provided it is possible to reach agreements concerning the role of the Lead Party, personnel responsible for undertaking the activity, and the necessity of following HELCOM guidelines.
Strengthening JCP Related Monitoring and Data Collection
Preparation of the "Third Periodic Assessment on the State of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea, 1989-1993" and the "Third Pollution Load Compilation (PLC-3)," demonstrated the need for actions to strengthen monitoring and data collection to support better analysis of regional, national and local trends in the region. An important area for support is the upgrading and standardisation of HELCOM environmental laboratories and training for their staff in the eastern and southern portions of the region. This would permit greater comparability of data for assessment of transboundary environmental issues, improved environmental strategies, and evaluation of the effectiveness of measures taken under the JCP. In order to strengthen coordination on environmental data collection, reporting activities and assessment of impacts to the Baltic Sea, the activities supported by the JCP in this area should be coordinated with the European Union, European Environmental Agency, and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), to maximise the utility of the information gathered and to coordinate the reporting needs of these bodies.
Programme Coordination and Special Support
Strengthened Coordination with the European Union
Measures should be taken to fully utilise the increased support of the European Union in the HELCOM process. This is especially so given the increased importance of European Union environmental legislation in the region; the accession process; the evolving role of the EU as a major source of support of investment activities; and the broad implications of European Union policies, directives and programmes for agriculture, energy and transport. In coordination with the European Commission, the HELCOM Contracting Parties that are EU members should support effective dialogue on the implications and implementation of European Union directives in an expanded number of countries. The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's financing institution, already has a large and diversified environmental programme in the cooperating EU member countries and is anticipated to continue to be a major source of investment finance there as well as in the accession countries.
Support for Belarus, Russian Federation and Ukraine
It is especially important that HELCOM address the specific needs of Belarus, Russian Federation and Ukraine in harmonisation of activities, recommendations and guidelines with other cooperating countries. HELCOM should facilitate a well balanced process, consistent with the "common goals" approach adopted in the Environment for Europe process, that supports development and application of common principles and approaches to address regional and national needs. Following the traditional HELCOM approach of promoting effective regional cooperation, special attention should be given to addressing the strengthened participation of Belarus, Russian Federation and Ukraine in the work of the PITF and implementation of the Programme. Emphasis should also be given to the mobilisation of loan and grant resources to support accelerated implementation of Programme activities in these countries. The plan to increase the focus of PPC work in the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) should assist in expanding the availability of international resources to support JCP implementation in Belarus, Russian Federation and Ukraine. The EU (Tacis) programme would be an important element of this support.
Support for Decentralisation
The strong trend towards decentralisation in the region has given local governments operating at all levels significantly greater authority in decision making; however, it has also mandated greater self-reliance in the generation and use of funds for investments and their operational costs. The financial participation of local governments in projects for municipal and rural investment activities is important to establish the local ownership that is critical for long-term success of these activities. The greater use of revenue sharing, including increased local retention of taxes, environmental fees and fines, authority to introduce special taxes and raise investment funding from commercial sources, will be increasingly important factors for implementation of the JCP. Priority should be given under the next phase of the JCP to provide support throughout the region for strengthening the planning, administrative, financial and technical capacity of local governments and environmental organisations in urban and rural areas.
Major Actions in Programme Elements
Programme Strategy - Integration of Environment
At the strategic level, increased support should be given to preventive measures to integrate environment into policy, planning and management systems to avoid creation of new environmental problems associated with current and future economic development in all parts of the region. Priority should be given to integrating environmental concerns into activities in all sectors and at all levels of administration within the region. Support for preventive actions would minimise future demands on limited budget resources to undertake curative actions resulting from new investments. The work of HELCOM in promoting the integration of environment into the planning process will be complemented by the Baltic 21 initiative.
Element 1 - Supporting Harmonisation of Frameworks
The work of the "Policy, Legal and Regulatory Measures Element" should support the cooperating parties involved in the JCP to promote adjustment of national policies, legal and regulatory systems to facilitate implementation of Programme. In the second phase of the JCP, activities should focus on the complex issues related to the harmonisation of European Union directives, HELCOM recommendations and national legislation of all the countries participating in the JCP process. This should include selected activities, developed in coordination with HELCOM Committees and the European Union, to address issues related to application of HELCOM recommendations in the context of the accession process. A special issue to be reviewed is the implication of having selected environmental regulations in use within the region that are more strict than those of the European Union. Actions should also be taken to address harmonisation of approaches to implementation of the relevant HELCOM recommendations and national legislation in Belarus, Russian Federation and Ukraine. In addition, the Lead Party for Element 1 should coordinate assistance on policy, legal and regulatory issues with Lead Parties responsible for coordination of other elements. This should include measures for the dissemination of knowledge concerning laws and regulations on the application of Best Available Technology (BAT) and Best Environmental Practice (BEP).
Element 2 - Strengthened Implementation and Management Capacity
Measures to support "Institutional Strengthening and Human Resources Development" should focus on improving planning, administrative, financial and technical skills of public sector, private sector and nongovernmental organisations participating in implementation of the JCP. Special emphasis should be placed on supporting the ongoing decentralisation process throughout the basin in both urban and rural areas. Actions should be developed cooperatively with specific counterpart groups and have a very practical emphasis. Support should be provided to improve local abilities to use environmental planning and management techniques such as enforcement and compliance measures, environmental impact assessment, urban environmental audits, and integrated coastal zone management. The application of economic instruments should be demonstrated at locations where their application may be possible under local conditions. The Lead Party should identify areas where further efforts are warranted and take actions to develop strong links with other elements of JCP. The Union of the Baltic Cities and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) can be expected to continue to play an innovative role in this process through cooperation on a "city to city" basis by promoting the local Agenda 21 process and by supporting the expanding cooperative preparation of "urban environmental audits" as a tool for better management.
Element 3 A - Continued Emphasis on Point Source Pollution
Although significant progress has been made under the Programme in addressing point source pollution, especially from municipal sources throughout the region and in the pulp and paper industry in Sweden and Finland, continued substantial support will be required to reach Programme objectives in this area. Activities during the next phase should include major efforts to address issues in large and complex urban/industrial areas, additional primary and secondary cities not addressed to date, and at increasing numbers of financially viable industrial sources of pollution. Work at the municipal level will continue to emphasise the strengthening of utilities to provide improved water and wastewater services. During the next phase of the JCP, greater emphasis should be placed on addressing the management of hazardous and solid waste at a number of locations. It should be anticipated that in the countries in transition work on point source pollution will continue to be based on cofinanced projects and credit lines combining loans, grants and domestic resources to support institutional strengthening and investment activities. It is anticipated that the private sector will participate in a number of projects in this area under various arrangements. Cooperating parties from the private sector, such as the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the International Network for Environmental Management (INEM), can make significant contributions by promoting the use of good environmental practices, sharing experience and providing opportunities for practical training.
Element 3 B - Increased Emphasis on Non-Point Source Pollution1
The second phase of the JCP will have an increased emphasis on the control of non-point source pollution from agriculture and rural settlements and from transportation. This would include:
· Pollution from Land Transport. Current trends indicate a clear shift from rail to road transport and a massive increase in registration of private vehicles in the eastern and southern countries of the region. Given the important role played by the transport sector in the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea through mobile sources of air pollution, the PITF is currently establishing a policy and technology oriented Project on Transportation. This will build upon HELCOM recommendations for integration of environmental considerations into transportation planning and policy, implementation of the Polluter Pays Principle, and introduction of BAT for vehicles and fuels. Many countries are developing legislation in compliance with these recommendations and other regional initiatives advocating similar actions. In addition, many countries that have not already done so are now phasing out lead. The HELCOM Project on Transportation should provide a multifaceted approach by promoting integration of environmental concerns into transportation sector policies, strategies, and planning, through the use of environmental guidelines and strategic environmental assessment. This will include evaluation of the possible increased future role of public transportation. This activity should be closely coordinated with the work of Baltic 21. It is not anticipated that the JCP will support investment activities to address the issues related to pollution from transportation.
Element 5 - Support for Key Applied Research Activities
In the next phase of the JCP, efforts should be made to fully operationalise this important element of the Programme. There are several proposals related to this element which are still valid but have not been addressed within the Programme to date. It is recommended that the issue of Lead Party responsibility for this element be resolved and that support be provided to increase use of research programmes and their findings in the practical solution of immediate problems. Recommended actions include:
· Biological Effects Monitoring. One area which has been identified as a priority by the HELCOM Environment Committee is the further development of environmental indicators, including the identification of indicator species, which, due to their responsiveness to environmental conditions, can indicate ecological stresses. The development of biological effect monitoring for gauging the health of the Baltic Sea is an important long-term task for the Environment Committee. The set of environmental indicators currently being developed under the ICC-led Baltic Sea 2008 initiative should be reviewed for possible use by the PITF. In addition, special efforts should be made to evaluate and propose practical measures that can be taken to monitor and control the introduction of alien species into the region.
· Strengthening the Monitoring System. Developing procedures and criteria for identifying and assessing pollution sites, preparing guidelines for remedial actions at these locations, and providing a systematic means to monitor improvement, remain important applied research efforts for the HELCOM Technological Committee. The standardisation of monitoring methodologies, equipment and data sets, including support for training laboratory personnel, is of major importance in assessment of trends in the Baltic Sea and its drainage basin. The incompatibility of monitoring data among countries of the region hampers the compilation of an aggregate assessment of environmental conditions. Activities in this area should be specifically designed to support the Pollution Load Compilation process through upgrading of monitoring information available from point and non-point sources.
· Dissemination of Information. The application of research is also an issue of information dissemination. Using the HELCOM Internet site and other information channels, the existing HELCOM Committees and the PITF should strive to make information available to key user groups.
Special Issue - Procedures for Addition and Deletion of Hot Spots
Implementation of the Programme has highlighted a need to develop principles and procedures for the deletion and addition of hot spots. In order to achieve this objective, the PITF, working with the Technological Committee, PITF/TC Project on Agriculture, and Coastal Lagoons and Wetlands Working Group, plans to establish during 1998 a set of general and sectoral procedures for the inclusion and deletion of hot spots. It is recommended that these procedures establish a replicable mechanism for hot spot deletions and additions, and provide a mechanism for setting target goals for the planning and implementation of investment activities at the hot spots. General criteria should be developed for the inclusion of new hot spots that provides a step by step analysis of the pollution problems a site or region exhibits, the extent to which the site is in conformity with relevant HELCOM recommendations, and the steps proposed to remedy the situation. Based upon the establishment of such general procedures, sector specific procedures should then be further considered. General procedures should also be developed for deleting existing hot spots following the completion of investment actions, or implementation of management programmes. It is recommended that countries be encouraged to require environmental audits of municipal treatment systems and industrial sites that are being considered for deletion from the hot spot list. It is further recommended that general HELCOM guidelines include a recommendation of continued periodic monitoring of sites removed to assure their continued performance.
Actions to Address Emerging Issues
Reviewing the accomplishments of the Programme after the first phase of implementation and conducting an assessment of emerging trends, has resulted in the identification of a series of challenges. Many of these issues have emerged as the result of the economic restructuring process within the region and the significant changes this has caused in both traditional market economies and the countries in transition. Some of these issues need to be addressed under the work programme of HELCOM PITF while others should be addressed by other organisations with assistance from HELCOM.
Support for Small and Medium Municipalities and Enterprises
Programme implementation has identified the need to support measures for environmental management investments in small and medium municipalities and enterprises because of the cumulative impact they could have on pollution of the Baltic Sea. The importance of municipal contributions was recognised as a concern at the Visby Summit and the PITF was requested to address this matter in the context of the JCP. During the updating and strengthening process, the PITF also identified the role of industrial contributions. For projects in medium-size and small municipalities, no universal model for financing can be applied; each country must take into account local needs. Approaches used to date combine criteria for participating public and private organisations with a source of finance which may include access to technical assistance. Investment activities may be supported by special small scale lending programs and credit lines combining loans, grants and domestic resources. Integration of grant financing into credit lines can be done either on a case by case basis or by setting up a separate grant fund with its own administration. Significant grant support will also be required for institutional strengthening of local utilities and environmental authorities, in conjunction with investment activities.
Increased Regional Oil Transport
Although significant oil pollution originates from land-based sources, recent changes in sources of oil and other petroleum products for many countries in the region has resulted in much greater transport of these materials by sea. This has increased the risk of accidents in loading and transport, in contrast to the limited risks previously associated with use of major pipelines from the former Soviet Union. It is anticipated that greater handling and transport of oil will increase pollution risks not only at sea but also in coastal areas, harbours and railways. The increased marine transport of oil also requires establishment and/or strengthening of emergency management plans and adequate port reception facilities. In addition, offshore oil and gas exploration and development in the region present new management challenges. HELCOM has recently coordinated preparation of special studies, "The Inventory of the Transportation Patterns and Risk Estimation of Oils Carried in the Baltic Sea Area" and "Risk Estimation Related to Oil Terminals and Offshore Installations." These complementary studies provide a picture of transportation patterns, quantities of oil and oil products, estimation of the accident risks during transportation, and oil handling at the harbours and terminals in the Baltic Sea area. An analysis of the contributions and risks from land-based sources has also been prepared. In addition, recommendations have been prepared regarding restriction of discharges, increased safety at sea and development of oil spill combating capacity and cooperation agreements between Contracting Parties. The combined activities of HELCOM and Baltic 21, provisions of the Copenhagen and Bonn Agreements, programs of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), as well as establishment of a precautionary reporting system for hazardous cargoes in the Baltic Sea region, provide an important basis for actions in this area. Given the complexity of recent changes in the transport of oil and potential issues related to offshore production, HELCOM, working through its Committees and the PITF, should provide recommendations on potential actions to be taken by the wide range of parties concerned with the various aspects of this emerging issue.
Management of Transboundary Waters
While substantial progress has been made in addressing environmental management of transboundary coastal lagoons and wetland systems, significant challenges remain in management of transboundary waters in the eastern portion of the region. In the second phase of the Programme, the successful experience of Finland and Russia in the management of transboundary rivers and lakes, and the work of the Czech Republic, European Union, Germany and Poland in development of the Interim International Commission for Protection of the Oder/Odra River Against Pollution, should be used to develop similar organisations for the numerous transboundary water courses and lakes in this portion of the region. Major areas involve the transboundary waters shared by Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russian Federation and Ukraine, which are particularly important because they drain large areas with diverse land uses; include major interior and coastal wetlands; contribute to the pollution of the Baltic Sea; and provide important sources of municipal drinking water. Such actions will support both the JCP and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe "Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes." Activities in this area are currently planned to be undertaken cooperatively by a number of countries with support from EU (Phare), Sweden and the World Bank.
The JCP updating and strengthening process has identified the desirability of protecting specific areas of environmental importance under a new management programme concept which involves the designation of "green spots." This initiative would create an interlinked network of protected areas throughout the Baltic Sea region. A green spot can be generally defined as a site or area possessing important natural values, such as species habitat and/or pollution filtering properties, which requires special restoration, management and/or protection considerations. This initiative would establish procedures for inclusion and deletion of designated green spots and for development and implementation of management plans. Green spot candidates should include interior lake and wetland systems that are hydrologically linked to coastal ecosystems and significantly reduce the flow of nutrients and heavy metals into the rivers that empty into the Baltic Sea. The green spot concept should be developed in harmony with existing national and international nature protection efforts, including the activities of the Working Group on Coastal Lagoons and Wetlands and the Working Group EC Nature of the HELCOM Environment Committee. Implementation of this initiative would require use of domestic funds, grants, allocation of selected land and water areas for conservation purposes and contributions from beneficiaries.
Old Industrial Sites and Former Military Facilities
Political and economic changes in the countries in transition have resulted in abandonment of a large number of industrial sites and military facilities. Many have complex environmental management problems that are not well documented and frequently are beyond the ability of national and local authorities to address. In some locations, these sites may present local environmental threats to water courses, coastal areas and/or the marine environment. Such areas should be given consideration for potential inclusion in the JCP as targets for remedial action if they are considered to present a significant threat to the Baltic Sea. The status of major abandoned sites should be reviewed by the cooperating countries and, if appropriate, selected sites should be considered for inclusion on the list of "hot spots." A site evaluation would be required at most locations prior to their placement on the "hot spot" list. This would include study elements to identify key sites, assessment of the significance of their impact and risk to the Baltic Sea environment, estimated costs for remediation and review of potential sources for funding proposed actions. In the case of former military facilities, HELCOM and PITF representatives should meet with the Committee on Challenges of Modern Society (NATO-CCMS) to review the findings and recommendations of the site investigations, risk assessments and proposed mitigation plans developed under this process, and to determine if any of the sites present significant risks to the ecology of the Baltic Sea. If JCP related actions are identified as a result of this process, it will be necessary for PITF to develop a working relationship with the responsible authorities to identify measures to cooperatively address these problems.
Sustained Political Commitment and Broad Based Public Support
The success achieved to date in implementation of the JCP is directly related to the sustained political commitment and broad based public support that the Programme has received. It is critical that this support extend over the next phase of Programme implementation if progress is to continue. Maintenance of support requires effective dissemination of accurate information about the objectives, achievements and challenges of the Programme, presented in a manner easily understood and used by decision makers and the public. This broad support has been critical for the mobilisation of domestic, grant and loan resources for the Programme. It has also been essential for obtaining commitments from elected municipal governments to authorise significant adjustments in tariffs for water and wastewater services required to make investments in this area financially viable.
Importance of Partnerships
The significant success achieved in implementation of the JCP can be attributed to the exceptionally effective development of a strong series of partnerships between HELCOM, the European Union, regional organisations, cooperating countries, local governments, international financial institutions, bilateral donor organisations, academic and applied research institutions, nongovernmental organisations, private sector interests, and a large number of individual citizens. The role played by these partnerships has been critical, providing the basis for sustained political interest and strong public support, and greatly facilitating major resource mobilisation efforts. This framework of partnerships has been important in the development of strategies, identification of priorities, development of practical actions and implementation of a range of activities. The types of partnerships have been diverse, including formal and informal relationships between IFIs, cities, and nongovernmental organisations. The Baltic Sea region provides an outstanding example where partnerships, including joint implementation, twinning arrangements and nongovernmental organisation cooperative activities, may find their expression in many forms at various levels.
Beyond the JCP Updating Process
Coordination with the Baltic 21 Process
The updating of the JCP and development of the Baltic 21 initiative are being conducted concurrently and in a coordinated manner. Formal and informal consultations are being held between members of the HELCOM PITF and parties responsible for coordinating the Baltic 21 process. It is important that these activities be viewed as fully complementary and that the evaluation by Baltic 21 of various sectors support the ongoing work of HELCOM. Ideally, these programmes could be effectively coordinated and provide two powerful mechanisms to promote regional environmental management, taking into account the complementary objectives of HELCOM and Baltic 21.
A Model Programme
The Programme which has been developed and implemented in the Baltic Sea region has provided a significant model for use in other regions within Europe and beyond. The important "lessons learned" associated with the effective transition from "planning" to "implementation" of the Programme are of very broad interest to those involved in the planning and implementation of large-scale environmental programmes. Experience gained from individual projects and activities is also of significance and can be of use in other programmes. Measures should be taken to establish expanded cooperation between HELCOM and the ongoing regional environmental programmes in Europe, including those for the Black Sea, Danube River Basin, and the Mediterranean Sea. This process would provide an opportunity for the participants to share their diverse experience in undertaking these important programmes.
It should be anticipated that in the future the JCP will require modifications and adjustments to meet additional changes which may occur in this dynamic region. The PITF is mandated to routinely undertake evaluations to assess emerging trends and new challenges in the region, and in consultation with HELCOM, should prepare recommendations for adjustments in the Programme to address these developments. It should also be anticipated that the structure of the PITF may require selected modifications in order to enable it to better undertake the demands of these tasks.
HELCOM - Joint Comprehensive Environmental Action Programme Update
Partners in the JCP Process:
Participants in the Programme Implementation Task Force
|Contracting Parties and Cooperating Governments*||Other Parties|
|Regional Intergovernmental Organisations:
à European Investment Bank (EIB)
à Nordic Investment Bank (NIB)
à Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO)
à World Bank Group
à Conference of Rectors of European Universities (CRE)
à European Union for Coastal Conservation (EUCC)
à International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
à International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI)
à International Network for Environment Management (INEM)
à Union of Baltic Cities (UBC)
à World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)