Finland to chair the Helsinki Commission – Aiming for an ambitious and feasible Baltic Sea Action Plan

Press release 2018-07-02 at 10:00

Finland’s Chairmanship of the Baltic Sea Protection Commission (Helsinki Commission HELCOM) starts in the beginning of July. The key task of the two-year Chairmanship is to update the Baltic Sea Action Plan launched in 2007. Measures should be included that enable to achieve a good environmental status for the Baltic Sea by 2030.

On the Finnish initiative HELCOM will prepare a regional nutrient recycling strategy for the Baltic Sea. The aim of the strategy is that valuable nutrients are in efficient use and prevent them from being lost to waters. Practical measures will be included in the Action Plan to reduce nutrient inputs.

Climate change will maintain, or even increase, eutrophication in the Baltic Sea. It will also have impacts on the distribution of living organisms and attaining the objectives set for the protection. The work of HELCOM must be further strengthened to understand the impacts and minimise harm and damage. Climate change and adaptation will be one of the key issues in updating the Action Plan. HELCOM activities are to be linked to a wider context for work on sustainable development, i.e. implementing of the goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

“We still have a long way to go to achieve a good status for the Baltic Sea, and this will be the key focus during our Chairmanship. We will update the Baltic Sea Action Plan, and our particular aim is to reduce nutrient inputs that cause eutrophication. Climate change brings additional challenges to the protection of the Baltic Sea, and more information is needed on the impacts to be expected”, says Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing Kimmo Tiilikainen.

During Finland’s term HELCOM will be chaired by Saara Bäck, Environment Counsellor at the Ministry of the Environment.

The Baltic Sea Protection Commission (Helsinki Commission HELCOM) is an intergovernmental organisation established by the signatory states to the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area and the European Union. HELCOM promotes the implementation of the Convention and gives recommendations to the governments of the signatory states.

All coastal countries around the Baltic Sea and the European Commission participate in the work of HELCOM. A number of international organisations participate in the work as observers. The HELCOM Chairmanship rotates between the contracting parties.

Inquiries:

Tarja Haaranen, HELCOM Vice-Chair, Environment Counsellor, tel. +358 295 250 282, first.lastname@ym.fi