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HELCOM as an International Tool of Environmental Protection of the Baltic Sea Mieczysław S. Ostojski, Ph.D. Mieczysław S. Ostojski, Ph.D. Chairman, Helsinki.

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Presentation on theme: "HELCOM as an International Tool of Environmental Protection of the Baltic Sea Mieczysław S. Ostojski, Ph.D. Mieczysław S. Ostojski, Ph.D. Chairman, Helsinki."— Presentation transcript:

1 HELCOM as an International Tool of Environmental Protection of the Baltic Sea Mieczysław S. Ostojski, Ph.D. Mieczysław S. Ostojski, Ph.D. Chairman, Helsinki Commission 28 May 2007, Senate of Poland

2 Contents Introduction HELCOM Main environmental problems Sound scientific advice a pre-condition for implementing an ecosystem approach Baltic Sea Action Plan Conclusions

3 HELCOM Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) –Governing body of the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area –Major body of the international environmental co- operation in the Baltic region Main task: to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution 10 Contracting Parties (9 Baltic Sea Coastal States and the European Community) International co-operation since 1974 (new Convention signed in 1992)

4 How do we do it? Joint initiatives of the Baltic Sea States within international organisations (EU, IMO) Harmonised, where needed strictest, implementation of international environmental regulations Baltic regional actions : –measures (Convention, Recommendations, Ministerial Declarations) –joint initiatives and projects

5 Baltic Sea Main environmental problems Eutrophication caused by excessive nutrient inputs Hazardous substances Environmental risks related to increasing maritime and offshore activities Decline of biodiversity and habitats

6 Eutrophication - I nput of nutrients Load per capita of nitrogen and phosphorus to the Baltic Sea, averaged for 1997-2003

7 Eutrophication Changes in the environment Nitrogen x 2.4 Phosphorusx 3.1 Total N20-50% Total P80-150% Biomass productivityx 2.5 Inputs Concentrations Impact

8 Decline of biodiversity and habitats Changes in eelgrass density and epiphyte biomass with increasing eutrophication. Pictures by Nanna Rask (Funen County) and Georg Martin (University of Tartu).

9 Concentration of Hazardous Substances The dioxin content in herring muscle at different fishing grounds (HELCOM 2004).

10 Maritime Activities and related risk to the environment Number and location of shipping accidents, 2006

11 HELCOM’s achievements Harmonized monitoring programmes in the Baltic Sea States Reduced inputs of nutrients and hazardous substances (especially from point sources) Advanced measures in place to reduce environmental effects of shipping Proven preparedness to respond to pollution incidents Network of Baltic Sea Protected Areas Improving status of populations of: –white-tailed eagle –cormorant –Baltic wild salmon –seals (in northern areas of the Baltic)

12 Still a clear need for further actions Long time until the effects of measures taken are seen in the environment Limited legislative power by the Contracting Parties and HELCOM in some sectors of major importance e.g. –Agriculture (EU Common Agriculture Policy) –Fisheries (EU Common Fisheries Policy) ”not perfect” implementation of agreed measures in the Contracting Parties

13 VISION: A healthy Baltic Sea environment, with diverse biological components functioning in balance, resulting in a good ecological status and supporting a wide range of sustainable human economic and social activities Healthy Baltic Sea Good ecological status Wide range of sustainable economic and social activities Diverse biological components functioning in balance Policies and actions for managing human activities

14 From Vision to the Baltic Sea Action Plan Unique opportunities and a showcase for other regional marine programmes Utilizes well established regional co-operation and wide stakeholder participation (government level, industry representatives, NGOs etc.) Based on good scientific environmental knowledge Well interlinked with national and international activities: –Plan recognised by EC as pilot case for regional implementation of European Marine Strategy, –input to the River Basin Management Plans. Uniform environmental legislation in large part of the catchment area High public awareness

15 BSAP - Eutrophication Water clarity indicator and tentative targets

16 BSAP - Eutrophication Example scenario water clarity for the open sea effect on nitrogen fixation and primary production required total reduction for the Baltic Sea: 35 % P and 10% N

17 BSAP – Eutrophication Response to needed reductions Possibilities to speed up implementation of the existing EU legislation (e.g. UWWTD); Integration of identified Baltic needs into River Basin Management Plans and national programmes; Introduction of phosphorous-free detergents, Input to the health check of the EU CAP, A palette of measures in agriculture to choose from according to the sub-regional needs…

18 Timeline 2003 adoption of Ecosystem Approach at HELCOM level 2005decision to develop a Baltic Sea Action Plan 15.11.2007 adoption of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan including objectives, targets, actions (Ministers of Environment) 2009 adoption of River Basin Management Plans 2016 development of programmes of measures to achieve good environmental status of the marine environment (draft EU Directive on marine strategy)

19 Conclusions HELCOM’s role in the Baltic Major environmental player in the Baltic sea region Continuous cooperation of 9 states and EU for over 30 years Proven achievements in addressing environmental challenges Centre of knowledge - HELCOM regularly produces targeted, timely and scientifically sound assessments

20 Conclusions Recipe for success of the Baltic Sea Action Plan Use of common Baltic knowledge and priorities in regional, EU and global policy making Baltic Sea environmental needs should be taken into account in all policies and programmes implemented in the Baltic Sea region Strong commitment by the Baltic Sea Coastal States to finalise and implement the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan –political commitment –financial commitment –provision of sufficient human resources

21 Thank you! For more information please contact: Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) Katajanokanlaituri 6 B FI-00160 Helsinki Finland

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