Contents

HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan

adopted on 15 November 2007 in Krakow, Poland by the HELCOM Extraordinary Ministerial Meeting.

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Preamble

The Commission, represented by
the Minister for Environment of the Kingdom of Denmark,
the Minister of the Environment of the Republic of Estonia,
the Minister for Environment of the Republic of Finland,
the High Level Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany,
the Minister of the Republic of Latvia,
the Minister of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania,
the Minister for Environment of the Republic of Poland,
the High Level Representative of the Russian Federation,
the Minister for Environment of the Kingdom of Sweden;
and by the High Level Representative of the European Commission on behalf of the European Community

ASSEMBLED in Krakow, Poland on the occasion of the Extraordinary Ministerial Meeting of the Helsinki Commission, on 15 November 2007;
RECALLING the provisions of the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area, 1992;
Especially being CONSCIOUS of the indispensable values of the unique marine ecosystem of the Baltic Sea area, its exceptional hydrographical and ecological characteristics and the particular sensitivity of its living resources to changes in the environment.
AWARE that HELCOM's work has led to significant environmental improvements in many areas, but that a large number of problems have yet to be fully addressed and that major threats still persist which are hindering restoration, protection and sustainable utilisation of the marine goods and services provided by the Baltic Sea;
FULLY AWARE that climate change will have a significant impact on the Baltic Sea ecosystem requiring even more stringent actions in the future and of the efforts made by the Conference of the Parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change;
RECALLING the 2003 Declaration of the First Joint Ministerial Meeting of the Helsinki and OSPAR Commissions to apply and further develop the measures necessary to implement an ecosystem approach to the management of human activities;
ACKNOWLEDGING that the ecosystem approach is based on an integrated management of all human activities impacting on the marine environment and, based on best available scientific knowledge about the ecosystem and its dynamics, identifies and leads to actions improving the health of the marine ecosystem thus supporting sustainable use of ecosystem goods and services;
STRESSING the need for integrated management of human activities and the need to take into account their impacts on the marine environment in all policies and programmes implemented in the Baltic Sea region;
FURTHERMORE STRESSING the need for integration of environmental objectives with economic and socio-economic goals in order to advance and strengthen the three interdependent pillars of sustainable development; 
RECALLING the adopted HELCOM vision "A healthy Baltic Sea environment, with diverse biological components functioning in balance, resulting in a good environmental/ecological status and supporting a wide range of sustainable human economic and social activities" having biodiversity at its core and which builds upon concepts such as "favourable conservation status" and "good ecological and good environmental status";
FURTHER RECALLING that based on HELCOM monitoring and assessment work on the state of the Baltic marine environment four strategic goals, reflecting the jointly identified major environmental problems in the Baltic Sea, have been adopted describing the desired state of the marine environment, namely a "Baltic Sea unaffected by eutrophication", "Baltic Sea with life undisturbed by hazardous substances", "Maritime activities carried out in an environmentally friendly way", all of which will lead to a "Favourable conservation status of Baltic Sea biodiversity";
FURTHERMORE RECALLING the adopted HELCOM ecological objectives which describe the good environmental/ecological status we want to achieve for the Baltic Sea in the future;
AGREEING that the targets, which are associated with the ecological objectives, are defining the good environmental/ecological status of the Baltic Sea;
AGREEING that the management decisions are based on sub-regional targets;
FURTHER AGREEING that when selecting the necessary management measures within different sectors focus shall be put on cost-benefits and cost-efficiency taking into account economic and social sustainability in the Baltic Sea Region;
BEING AWARE that there are cost implications of not taking actions against eutrophication and other threats to the Baltic Sea;
FURTHERMORE AGREEING that the effectiveness of the actions taken shall be evaluated by using appropriate indicators to measure the progress towards the targets. This will allow future adjustments of the actions to ensure that the objectives will be achieved;
ACKNOWLEDGING that the current environmental as well as reduction targets in the various segments are based on best available knowledge of today. Pursuing the adaptive management principles, the objectives and targets should be periodically reviewed and revised using a harmonised approach and most updated information;
STRESSING that HELCOM's monitoring and assessment programme will contribute to an improved scientific understanding of the marine environment that will in turn contribute to the periodic review of the objectives, associated targets and indicators, and will be decisive when determining the need for further management measures;
FURTHER STRESSING the need to co-ordinate and harmonise the work within the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan to various on-going initiatives at the international and national level, including the proposed EU Marine Strategy Directive, the EU Maritime Policy and the Maritime Doctrine of the Russian Federation;
FURTHERMORE STRESSING the need to make use of common Baltic knowledge and priorities in policy making at the global, regional and national level when deciding on the needed actions to reach the good environmental/ecological status of the Baltic Sea;
APPRECIATING the positive contributions made by Intergovernmental Organisations and Non-governmental Organisations within their work and within the work of HELCOM towards preserving and protecting the Baltic Sea Area and ensuring a prudent utilisation of its marine goods and services;
WITHOUT PREJUDICE TO international agreements and legislation of the European Community;
HAS AGREED TO THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS TO ACHIEVE A BALTIC SEA IN GOOD ENVIRONMENTAL STATUS BY 2021:

 

Eutrophication segment of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan

 

Eutrophication – towards a Baltic Sea unaffected by eutrophication

 

Introduction

The overall goal of HELCOM is to have a Baltic Sea unaffected by eutrophication. Eutrophication is a major problem in the Baltic Sea. Since the 1900s, the Baltic Sea has changed from an oligotrophic clear-water sea into a eutrophic marine environment. Eutrophication is a condition in an aquatic ecosystem where high nutrient concentrations stimulate the growth of algae which leads to imbalanced functioning of the system, such as:

  • intense algal growth: excess of filamentous algae and phytoplankton blooms;

  • production of excess organic matter;

  • increase in oxygen consumption;

  • oxygen depletion with recurrent internal loading of nutrients; and

  • death of benthic organisms, including fish.

Excessive nitrogen and phosphorus loads coming from land-based sources, within and outside the catchment area of the Contracting States, are the main cause of the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea. About 75% of the nitrogen load and at least 95% of the phosphorus load enter the Baltic Sea via rivers or as direct waterborne discharges. About 25% of the nitrogen load comes as atmospheric deposition.

Ecological objectives

The aim is to reach HELCOM's vision for good environmental status in the Baltic Sea. For this reason HELCOM has adopted the following ecological objectives to describe the characteristics of a Baltic Sea, which is unaffected by eutrophication:

  • Concentrations of nutrients close to natural levels,

  • Clear water,

  • Natural level of algal blooms,

  • Natural distribution and occurrence of plants and animals,

  • Natural oxygen levels.

In order for the ecological objectives to be made operational, indicators with target values, reflecting good ecological and environmental status of the Baltic marine environment, have been agreed upon. Clear water was chosen as the primary ecological objective with water transparency as the indicator (see indicators page).

Cross-references with other objectives

Failure to reach the objectives for eutrophication will impair the achievement of favourable status of biodiversity.
At the same time the management objectives for airborne nitrogen emissions from shipping and nutrient inputs from ships' untreated sewage are also relevant for reaching the objectives with regard to eutrophication.

In order to reach the goal towards a Baltic Sea unaffected by eutrophication

WE AGREE on the principle of identifying maximum allowable inputs of nutrients in order to reach good environmental status of the Baltic Sea,
WE ALSO AGREE that there is a need to reduce the nutrient inputs and that the needed reductions shall be fairly shared by all Baltic Sea countries,
BEARING IN MIND that the figures are based on the MARE NEST model, the best available scientific information, and thus stressing the provisional character of the data WE ACKNOWLEDGE that the maximum nutrient input to the Baltic Sea that can be allowed and still reach good environmental status with regard to eutrophication is about 21,000 tonnes of phosphorus and 600,000 tonnes of nitrogen,
WE FURTHERMORE RECOGNISE that, based on national data or information from 1997-2003 in each sub-region of the Baltic Sea, the maximum allowable nutrient inputs to reach good environmental status and the corresponding nutrient reductions that are needed in each sub-region are as follows:

 

Maximum allowable nutrient input (tonnes)

Inputs in 1997-2003 (normalised by hydrological factors)

Needed reductions

Sub-region

Phosphorus

Nitrogen

Phosphorus

Nitrogen

Phosphorus

Nitrogen

Bothnian Bay 

2,580

51,440

2,580

51,440

0

0

Bothnian Sea 

2,460

56,790

2,460

56,790

0

0

Gulf of Finland 

4,860

106,680

6,860

112,680

2,000

6,000

Baltic Proper

6,750

233,250

19,250

327,260

12,500

94,000

Gulf of Riga 

1,430

78,400

2,180

78,400

750

0

Danish straits

1,410

30,890

1,410

45,890

0

15,000

Kattegat 

1,570

44,260

1,570

64,260

0

20,000

Total

21,060

601,720

36,310

736,720

15,250

135,000

 

In order to diminish nutrient inputs to the Baltic Sea to the maximum allowable level WE AGREE to take actions not later than 2016 to reduce the nutrient load from waterborne and airborne inputs aiming at reaching good ecological and environmental status by 2021,


WE AGREE on the following country-wise provisional nutrient reduction requirements:*

 

Country

Phosphorus (tonnes)

Nitrogen (tonnes)

Denmark

16

17,210

Estonia

220

900

Finland

150

1,200

Germany

240

5,620

Latvia

300

2,560

Lithuania

880

11,750

Poland

8,760

62,400

Russia

2,500

6,970

Sweden

290

20,780

Transboundary Common pool

1,660

3,780

 

WE ACKNOWLEDGE that the current environmental and nutrient reduction targets presented above are provisional, though based on best available knowledge of today. Pursuing the adaptive management principles, all the figures related to targets and maximum allowable nutrient inputs should be periodically reviewed and revised using a harmonised approach using updated information to be made available by the Contracting States and starting in year 2008 taking into account the results of the Fifth Pollution Load Compilation (PLC-5) and national river basin management plans,
WE RECOGNISE that the reduction of water- and airborne inputs of nutrients within a HELCOM Contracting State contributing to the achievement of country-wise reduction targets should be accounted for,
In order to reach the above country-wise provisional reduction targets WE AGREE to develop and to submit for HELCOM's assessment national programmes by 2010 with a view to evaluate the effectiveness of the programmes at a HELCOM Ministerial Meeting in 2013 and whether additional measures are needed.                 WE ACKNOWLEDGE that this approach would leave enough flexibility for the countries to choose the cost-effective measures to be implemented to reach the reduction targets in order to achieve a good ecological and environmental status of the Baltic Sea with regard to eutrophication.
FURTHERMORE WE AGREE TO identify and where appropriate to include the required and appropriate measures into national programmes / River Basin Management Plans of the EU Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC) for HELCOM Contracting States that are also EU Member States.

 

In order to cut the nutrient load from waterborne inputs

WE ADOPT the following two Recommendations on wastewater treatment which – if fully implemented – have an estimated capacity to reduce the current total nutrient input to the Baltic Sea including 6,700 tonnes phosphorus which means an additional 2,000 tonnes compared to existing requirements:

  • HELCOM Recommendation 28E/5 on more stringent requirements for P-removal from municipal wastewater treatment plants (above 10,000 p.e.) and introduction of requirements for wastewater management for small- and medium-sized municipalities (300-10,000 p. e.);

  • HELCOM Recommendation 28E/6 on improvement of on-site wastewater treatment of single-family homes, small businesses and settlements up to 300 p.e.,

Furthermore WE AGREE that, in order to achieve country-wise nutrient reduction targets, the Contracting States should choose the most appropriate and cost-effective measures taking into account requirements of the two aforementioned Recommendations and include them into national programmes.
WE FURTHERMORE ADOPT HELCOM Recommendation 28E/7 on Measures aimed at the substitution of phosphorus in detergents,
WE ACKNOWLEDGE that agriculture is the main source of nutrient inputs to the Baltic Sea, and
WE FURTHERMORE CONSIDER that nutrient losses from urban as well as scattered settlements will be reduced to an acceptable level with full implementation of the above recommendations and that the agricultural sector is the land-based source where major reductions are needed, and to this end,
WE AGREE to take all necessary steps towards designating relevant parts of agricultural land in the catchment area as a zone vulnerable to nitrates,
WE AGREE to amend Annex III part II Prevention of pollution from Agriculture of the Convention by adopting HELCOM Recommendation 28E/4 and EMPHASISE the need for proper implementation of its requirements and to apply agricultural Best Environmental Practice (BEP) and Best Available Technology (BAT),
WE ENDORSE the HELCOM list of examples for measures for reducing phosphorus and nitrogen losses from agriculture,
FURTHERMORE WE AGREE to establish by 2009 a list of Hot Spots identifying existing installations for the intensive rearing of cattle, poultry and pigs not fulfilling the requirements in the revised Annex III of the Convention, Contracting States which are also Member States of the EU WELCOME that the European Commission is about to adopt a communication on the Health Check of the EU Common Agricultural Policy which will trigger a broad EU-wide consultation process, and AGREE within the given deadline to make a joint submission stressing the need to integrate better the specific environmental concerns of the Baltic Sea, and the need to adopt additional and targeted agricultural measures in particular to reduce eutrophication of the Baltic Sea,
WE AGREE on the need to address also other sources which can have significant eutrophication impacts such as forestry, peat mining, aquaculture and fur farming,
WE RECOGNISE the increased production of energy crops and AGREE on the need to apply adequate water protection requirements,
WE ALSO ACKNOWLEDGE that an estimated amount of 1,660 tonnes of phosphorus and 3,780 tonnes of nitrogen coming from transboundary waterborne pollution originating in Belarus should be allocated to a common pool. WE AGREE that transboundary pollution originating in the non-Contracting States Belarus and Ukraine should be addressed by initiating joint activities e.g. by bi- and/or multilateral projects and through other existing funding mechanisms as well as by international agreements such as the 1992 UNECE Convention on Transboundary Waters and Lakes, and the River Basin Management Plans of the EU Water Framework Directive for HELCOM Contracting States being also EU Member States,


In order to cut the nutrient load from airborne inputs
WE ACKNOWLEDGE that a quarter of the total nitrogen input to the Baltic Sea is airborne of which sources outside the Baltic Sea catchment area contribute about 40% of the direct nitrogen deposition, and therefore,
WE DECIDE that the governments of the HELCOM Contracting Parties shall make use of the assessments of the inputs and effects of airborne nitrogen to the Baltic Sea in the revision of the emission targets for nitrogen under the 1979 UNECE Convention for Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution, and
WE AGREE that HELCOM Contracting States that are also EU Member States, in order to strengthen the emission targets for nitrogen under the EU National Emissions Ceilings Directive (Directive 2001/81/EC), will aim to include also emissions from ships and the achievement of ecological objectives for eutrophication in the marine environment.
WE ALSO AGREE that all HELCOM Contracting Parties will aim to do so likewise for the emission targets in the 1999 Gothenburg Protocol under the UNECE Convention for Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution.

Hazardous substances segment of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan

 

Hazardous Substances – towards a Baltic Sea with life undisturbed by hazardous substances

 

Introduction

The overall HELCOM goal is to achieve a Baltic Sea with life undisturbed by hazardous substances.
Pollution caused by hazardous substances refers to a massive number of different anthropogenic substances ending up in the marine environment including substances that do not occur naturally in the environment and substances occurring at concentrations exceeding natural levels. Although monitoring indicates that the loads of some hazardous substances have been reduced considerably over the past 20–30 years, problems still persist, and concentrations in the marine environment of some new substances have even increased (e.g. perfluorinated substances).
Once released into the Baltic Sea, hazardous substances can remain in the marine environment for very long periods and can accumulate in the marine food web up to levels which are toxic to marine organisms. Levels of some hazardous substances in the Baltic Sea exceed concentrations in e.g. the North East Atlantic by more than 20 times. Hazardous substances cause adverse effects on the ecosystem, such as

  • Impaired general health status of animals;

  • Impaired reproduction of animals, especially top predators;

  • Increased pollutant levels in fish for human food.

Some fish species caught in some parts of the Baltic Sea are not suitable for human consumption as they contain hazardous substances exceeding established concentration levels. Certain contaminants may be hazardous because of their effects on hormone and immune systems, as well as their toxicity, persistence and bio-accumulating properties.
Within HELCOM substances are defined as hazardous if they are toxic, persistent and bio-accumulative (PBT-substances), or very persistent and very bio-accumulative (vPvB). Moreover, substances having an equivalent level of concern such as substances with effects on hormone and immune systems are also hazardous substances.
Especially substances which are persistent and bio-accumulative may cause potential hazards to humans.

 

Ecological objectives

The agreed goal of HELCOM on hazardous substances is a Baltic Sea undisturbed by hazardous substances.
The goal is described by four ecological objectives:

  • Concentrations of hazardous substances close to natural levels,

  • All fish safe to eat

  • Healthy wildlife,

  • Radioactivity at pre-Chernobyl level.

In order for the ecological objectives to be operational, indicators with targets, reflecting good ecological and environmental status of the Baltic marine environment, have been agreed (see indicators page).

Cross-references with other objectives

Failure to reach the objectives for hazardous substances will impair the achievement of favourable status of biodiversity.
At the same time the achievement of management objectives for Eutrophication and Maritime Activities will have an impact on reaching the goal of a Baltic Sea undisturbed by hazardous substances.
Taking into account the potential hazard of the substances of specific concern to the Baltic Sea marine environment, the substances listed in the indicators and targets document were selected for inclusion in the Baltic Sea Action Plan acknowledging the possible revision of the list and the actions in the future when more information will be available.

 

In order to address specific sources of hazardous substances and to reach the goal of a Baltic Sea with life undisturbed by hazardous substances
WE ADOPT HELCOM Recommendation 28E/8 concerning environmentally friendly practices for the reduction and prevention of emissions of dioxins and other hazardous substances from small-scale combustion.
In relation to the HELCOM Recommendation 28E/8, WE FURTHER AGREE to develop in 2008 specific efficiency requirements and emission limit values for small scale combustion appliances.
In order to address identified important sources of hazardous substances WE AGREE to update HELCOM Recommendation 19/5 on the HELCOM Strategy for hazardous substances and HELCOM Recommendation 24/5 concerning Proper handling of waste/landfilling as well as HELCOM Recommendation 24/4 for the iron and steel industry,
Taking into account the importance of reducing heavy metal and other hazardous substances emissions from energy production and industrial combustion plants, WE AGREE by 2008 to evaluate the need to develop further requirements in these sectors,
WE AGREE to develop and to submit for HELCOM's assessment national implementation programmes by 2010 with a view to evaluating the effectiveness of the programmes at a Ministerial Meeting in 2013 and to further evaluate whether additional measures are needed either on a national, HELCOM or global level. In developing the programmes we agree to take into account the need for:

  • identification of sources of the selected hazardous substances or substance groups (taking also into account the relevant sectors as contained in the indicators and targets document);

  • a ban or restrictions on the use of identified relevant hazardous substances or substance groups;

  • substitution of the selected hazardous substances or substance groups with less hazardous substances;

  • development of technical guidance documents for environmental permitting addressing hazardous substances;

  • capacity building for authorities and industries with regard to identification of hazardous substances and the possibilities for elimination of the use of substances as well as application of BEP and BAT;

  • raising awareness among consumers by arranging campaigns and disseminating information about environmentally friendly products;

  • relevant legislation including a proper definition of hazardous substances;

WE AGREE to further identify, estimate and reduce the discharges, emissions and losses from sources within the identified potential sectors and main uses and include them into national implementation programmes/ Programmes of measures under the EU Water Framework Directive for HELCOM Contracting States that are also EU Member States. The selected hazardous substances or substance groups (see indicators and targets document) will be taken into account when environmental permits will be established or renewed for different industrial activities and municipal wastewater treatment plants and municipal landfill sites where the substances or the substance groups potentially occur. BAT and BEP are to be applied where hazardous substances might be released. Furthermore, co-operation will be developed for a mutual information exchange on hazardous substances with the European Chemical Agency in Helsinki,
WE ALSO AGREE that screening and assessment of the occurrence and effects of a subset of the selected hazardous substances in the Baltic Sea marine environment will be started in 2008, in co-operation with the Nordic Council of Ministers, in order to further develop measures for selected substances,
WE FURTHER AGREE as soon as possible, but not later than in the beginning of 2009, that the screening of the occurrence and effects in the environment should be complemented with screening of the sources of selected substances in municipal and industrial wastewaters as well as landfill effluents and storm waters,
WE AGREE to evaluate as soon as possible, but not later than in the beginning of 2009, the practical introduction of the whole effluent assessment (WEA) approach to monitoring of complex discharges of hazardous substances into the HELCOM framework and to establish a pilot project to test some of the presented methods by making a survey in the HELCOM countries in municipal wastewater treatment plants and some specific industrial sectors. The outcome of this pilot project should be used to evaluate the effluents jointly for the Baltic Sea region and to possibly establish PBT (persistent, bioaccumulating, toxic)-based discharge limit values based on the WEA approach,
WE AGREE by 2010 to establish and develop appropriate chemical product registers in order to have more reliable substance-specific information on uses and amounts of chemicals used. It has to be taken into account that existing registers and those under development should be used as much as possible and the respective developments under e.g. the EU regulatory framework for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals, REACH (EC1907/2006) should be built upon,
WE AGREE to use the information created through implementation of the EU chemicals legislation REACH in order to decrease pollution caused by hazardous substances to the Baltic marine environment for HELCOM Contracting States that are also EU Member States,
WE ALSO AGREE by 2009 if relevant assessments show the need to initiate adequate measures such as the introduction of use restrictions and substitutions in the most important sectors identified by the Contracting Parties and taking as a starting point the list as contained in the indicators and targets document:

  • medium-chain chlorinated paraffins (MCCPs)

  • octylphenols (OP)/Octylphenol ethoxylates (OPE)

  • perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)

  • decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE),

and WE ALSO AGREE to consider similar approaches with regard to hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD)
WE AGREE by 2010 in the whole Baltic Sea catchment area of the Contracting States to ban the use, production and marketing of (taking into account the sectors as contained in the indicators and targets document):

  • endosulfan

  • pentabromodiphenylether (pentaBDE) and

  • octabromodiphenylether (octaBDE),

WE AGREE to start by 2008 to work for strict restrictions on the use in the whole Baltic Sea catchment area of the Contracting States of (taking into account the information as contained in the see indicators and targets document:

  • perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS)

  • nonylphenol/nonylphenolethoxylates (NP/NPEs)

  • Short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs),

WE AGREE to assess by 2009 the possibility of introducing restrictions for cadmium content in fertilisers,
WE AGREE to apply strict restrictions on the use of mercury in products and from processes and support the work towards further limiting and where feasible totally banning mercury in products and from processes. WE FURTHERMORE AGREE to review this issue at the 2010 HELCOM Ministerial Meeting,
WE AGREE on the need to apply the same requirements for products marketed globally as in the internal European market concerning hazardous substances,
WE AGREE to implement as soon as possible the Globally Harmonised System (GHS) on classification and labelling of chemicals and to take into account guidelines for preparing safety data sheets,
WE ALSO EMPHASISE the importance of influencing ongoing work on hazardous substances in other international forums by coherent input by HELCOM Contracting States, where possible based on a common HELCOM position:

  • to the development of EU BAT Reference Documents (BREFs) in order to enhance implementation of BAT with regard to hazardous substances with special focus on main uses or on uses having high emission factor to the environment

  • to the updating of the EU Water Framework Directive list of priority substances and substances to be evaluated under REACH with a special focus on those substances included in Annex XIV of the EU chemicals legislation REACH for those Contracting States that are also EU Member States including by transmitting monitoring data to the European Chemical Agency

  • on placing of plant protection and biocides products on the market, if e.g. levels of these substances in the Baltic marine environment are so high that they may cause adverse effects on marine organisms,

WE FURTHERMORE AGREE to promote and support the identification of new candidate substances and their inclusion in the 2001 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and the 1998 Aarhus Protocol on Persistent Organic Pollutants to the UNECE Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution, taking into account adequate assessments in particular on their impact on the marine environment,
WE AGREE that all Contracting Parties ratify the 2001 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and the 1998 Aarhus Protocol on Persistent Organic Pollutants to the UNECE Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution as soon as possible but not later than 2010,
WE AGREE to promote the Strategic Approach on International Chemicals Management and participate in the regional implementation process as soon as possible but not later that 2010,
WE FURTHER AGREE starting in 2008 to develop biological effects monitoring to facilitate a reliable ecosystem health assessment,
WE FURTHER AGREE to continue HELCOM's work with regard to radioactivity, including monitoring of discharges, emissions from nuclear power plants as well as their effects in the marine environment in order to reach the targets for radioactivity.

 

Biodiversity and nature conservation segment of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan

 

Biodiversity – towards a favourable conservation status of Baltic Sea biodiversity

 

Introduction

 The Baltic Sea has a unique combination of marine and freshwater species and habitats adapted to brackish conditions. Favourable conservation status of Baltic Sea biodiversity is a prerequisite for the marine ecosystems to be resilient and able to adapt to changing environmental conditions.
The Baltic Sea Action Plan aims at aligning the goal "favourable conservation status of marine biodiversity" with corresponding goals and objectives of already existing regulations which also address biodiversity and nature conservation.
This section of the Baltic Sea Action Plan contributes to the implementation of commitments made through global agreements related to the protection of biodiversity such as the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity, the 1971 Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the 1979 Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats,  the 1979 Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, and the EU Habitats Directive (Directive 92/43/EEC), Birds Directive (Directive 79/409/EEC), EU Water Framework Directive, the proposed Marine Strategy Directive, and national legislation.

 

Ecological objectives

 In order to reach favourable conservation status of biodiversity, HELCOM has adopted Ecological Objectives covering topics referring to:

  • restoring and maintaining sea floor integrity at a level that safeguards the functions of the ecosystems;

  • that habitats, including associated species, show a distribution, abundance and quality in line with prevailing physiographic, geographic and climatic conditions; and

  • a water quality that enables the integrity, structure and functioning of the ecosystem to be maintained or recovered.

In accordance with the Convention on Biological Diversity, HELCOM's overall goal of a favourable conservation status of Baltic Sea biodiversity is described by the following three ecological objectives:

  • natural marine and coastal landscapes,

  • thriving and balanced communities of plants and animals, as well as

  • viable populations of species.

In order to make the ecological objectives operational and to assess how the objectives have been achieved, the initial targets and indicators (see indicators and targets document) will be used.

 

Cross-references with other objectives

Since a multitude of human activities have impacts on biodiversity and the biodiversity serves as a holistic controlling element for the performance of the whole Action Plan, the goal "favourable conservation status of the Baltic Sea biodiversity" cannot be reached without a broad consideration of human activities and needs for strong actions in other segments. Reduced eutrophication will decrease algal blooms, suffocating growth of filamentous littoral algae and anoxic bottoms, and making possible the natural distribution and occurrence of natural marine landscapes, habitats, and plant and animal species. Minimised concentrations of hazardous substances in the biota are a prerequisite for a healthy wildlife, i.e. viable populations in the Baltic Sea. Enhancing the safety of navigation will decrease the probability of environmental stress caused by minor and severe oil spills. Actions aiming at prevention of pollution from ships as well as the prevention of introduction of alien species are needed to reach favourable conservation status.

To reach the targets and objectives associated with the favourable conservation status of Baltic Sea biodiversity
WE AGREE to jointly develop by 2010, as well as test, apply and evaluate by 2012, in co-operation with other relevant international bodies, broad-scale, cross-sectoral, marine spatial planning principles based on the Ecosystem Approach:

  • whereby all Contracting Parties and relevant HELCOM bodies shall co-operatively participate;

  • thereby giving guidance for the planning and ensuring the protection of the marine environment and nature, including habitats and seafloor integrity;

  • securing sustainable use of marine resources by reducing user conflicts and adverse impacts of human activities,

WE NOTE in this respect the results of the INTERREG-IIIB BALANCE Project related to spatial planning,
To this end WE ADOPT HELCOM Recommendation 28E/9 on development of broad-scale marine spatial planning principles in the Baltic Sea area,
WE DECIDE to designate by 2009 already established marine Natura 2000 and Emerald sites, where appropriate, as HELCOM Baltic Sea Protected Areas (BSPAs) and to designate by 2010 additional BSPAs especially in the offshore areas beyond territorial waters bearing in mind the 2012 target of the UN WSSD Johannesburg Declaration and the Convention on Biological Diversity,
WE AGREE to improve the protection efficacy of the BSPA network by 2010

  • by assessing the ecological coherence of the BSPA network together with the marine Natura 2000 and Emerald sites;

  • by finalising, where possible, and implementing management plans,

WE ACKNOWLEDGE the need for further research to reach the targets and objectives associated with the favourable conservation status of the Baltic Sea biodiversity,
Therefore WE AGREE to increase knowledge on and protection of Baltic Sea marine habitats, communities and species

  • by 2011 by updating a complete classification system for Baltic marine habitats/biotopes;

  • by 2013 by updating HELCOM Red lists of Baltic habitats/biotopes and biotope complexes, and producing a comprehensive HELCOM Red list of Baltic Sea species;

  • by developing further, where appropriate and needed, detailed landscape maps of the Baltic Sea area based on existing information;

  • by 2013 by identifying and mapping the potential and actual habitats formed by species such as bladderwrack (Fucus spp.), eelgrass (Zostera marina), blue mussel (Mytilus spp.), Furcellaria lumbricalis and stoneworts (Charales) as well as recruitment habitats for coastal fish using modelling among other tools, and to develop a common approach for the mitigation of negative impacts;

  • by developing research on possibilities of reintroduction of valuable phytobenthos species in regions of their historical occurrence especially in degraded shallow waterbodies in the southern Baltic Sea;

  • by 2011 by producing, in co-operation with relevant organisations, an assessment of the conservation status of non-commercial fish species;

  • by 2010 by further developing in co-operation with the 1991 Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic and North Seas (ASCOBANS) a co-ordinated reporting system and database on Baltic harbour porpoise sightings, by-catches and strandings;

  • by the promotion of research aiming at developing additional methods for the assessment of, and reporting on, the impacts of fisheries on biodiversity;

  • by the development and implementation of effective monitoring and reporting systems for by-caught birds and mammals;

WE FURTHER REQUEST the competent authorities, in co-operation with the Baltic Regional Advisory Council (RAC) under the EU Common Fisheries Policy and HELCOM, to collaborate closely with the Contracting Parties in developing and implementing management measures for fisheries inside marine protected areas in the Baltic Sea area in order to fulfil conservation targets by 2010,
WE AGREE to safeguard the long-term viability of the Baltic seal populations according to HELCOM Recommendation 27-28/2, by following its general management principles, and by 2012, to finalise national management plans and by implementation of non-lethal mitigation measures for seals-fisheries interactions,
WE AGREE that the Baltic Sea shall become a model of good management of human activities, and recommend that all fisheries management be developed and implemented based on the Ecosystem Approach in order to enhance the balance between sustainable use and protection of marine natural resources,
WE ARE AWARE that this aim can be only achieved in co-operation with all Contracting Parties and Observers to HELCOM,
WE URGE competent fisheries authorities to take all the necessary measures to ensure that, by 2021, populations of all commercially exploited fish species are within safe biological limits, reach Maximum Sustainable Yield, and are distributed through their natural range, and contain full size/age range,
Therefore, WE URGE the competent fisheries authorities in co-operation with the Baltic RAC and HELCOM to take immediate actions for:

  • development of long-term management plans for commercially exploited fish stocks so that they are within safe biological limits and reach agreed targets, such as Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY), and improve their distribution and size/age-range, especially for salmon, sea trout, pelagic species (sprat and herring), and flatfish species, by 2010;

  • introduction of additional fisheries management measures based on the best available scientific evidence to achieve:

  • that all caught species and by-catch which cannot be released alive or without injuries are landed and reported, by 2012;

  • continued designation of additional/improved spatial and/or temporal closures of sufficient size and duration for fisheries to prevent capture of spawning and juvenile fish;

  • the designation of additional permanent closures of sufficient size for fisheries to prevent capture of non-target species to protect important reproduction and feeding areas and to protect ecosystems, by 2012;

  • the further development and application in all cases of appropriate breeding and restocking practices for salmon and sea trout to safeguard the genetic variability of native wild stocks, by 2012;

  • the urgent adoption of measures to minimise by-catch of undersized fish and non-target species by 2012,

  • by an evaluation of the effectiveness of existing technical measures, by 2008, to minimise by-catch of harbour porpoises, and to introduce adequate new technologies and measures.

WE also URGE the competent authorities to take actions for:

  • immediate elimination of illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fisheries and further development of landing control and other measures, taking into account the outcome of the Baltic RAC Conference on Control and Compliance in the Baltic in March 2007;

  • rapid implementation of the existing long-term management plans for cod and eel, not later than by 2012 to improve their distribution size/age-range;

WE FURTHER AGREE to invite the competent authorities to apply, in relation to the recommendation above, the targets annexed to the Baltic Sea Action Plan which require the implementation of fisheries management measures;
Contracting States that are also Member States of the EU AGREE to make a joint submission, in consultation with the Russian Federation, with the view to ensure that fisheries are managed in sustainable manner compatible with the environmental objectives of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan, to the 2012 review of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP);
WE ALSO AGREE:

  • to develop national programmes for the conservation of eel stocks as a contribution to a Baltic co-ordinated programme to ensure successful eel migrations from the Baltic Sea drainage basin to natural spawning grounds. For the EU Member States thus implementing the EC Regulation No. 1100/2007 establishing measures for the recovery of the stock of European eel, by 2008;

  • the classification and inventorying of rivers with historic and existing migratory fish species (e.g. salmon, eel, sea trout and sturgeon), no later than by 2012;

  • the development of restoration plans (including restoration of spawning sites and migration routes) in suitable rivers to reinstate migratory fish species, by 2010;

  • the active conservation of at least ten endangered/threatened wild salmon river populations in the Baltic Sea region as well as the reintroduction of native Baltic Sea salmon in at least four potential salmon rivers, by 2009,

WE ALSO AGREE to enhance restoration of lost biodiversity by joining and/or supporting Poland and Germany in reintroducing Baltic sturgeon to its potential spawning rivers,
WE AGREE that coastal fish constitute an imperative part of the Baltic Sea total biodiversity and have a structuring role in coastal food webs. Furthermore, coastal fisheries are of great importance to the society from both a socio-economic and a cultural point of view,
WE ACKNOWLEDGE that a substantial part of the coastal fish community of the Baltic Sea consists of freshwater species, only managed at a national level,
WE AGREE and INVITE the competent authorities

  • to establish an international co-operation network to agree on guidelines to promote the ecosystem-based management of coastal fisheries in the Baltic region;

  • to develop long-term plans for, protecting, monitoring and sustainably managing coastal fish species, including the most threatened and/or declining, including anadromous ones (according to the HELCOM Red list of threatened and declining species of lampreys and fishes of the Baltic Sea, BSEP No. 109), by 2012,

  • develop a suite of indicators with region-specific reference values and targets for coastal fish as well as tools for assessment and sustainable management of coastal fish by 2012. 

 

Maritime Activities segment of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan  

 

Towards a Baltic Sea with maritime activities carried out in an environmentally friendly way

 

Introduction

 The strategic goal of HELCOM is to have maritime activities in the Baltic Sea carried out in an environmentally friendly way. It should be understood, however, that due to its international character shipping is regulated by global provisions accepted within the framework of the specialised organisation, notably the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
The Baltic Sea is one of the most intensively trafficked areas in the world. Both the number and the size of the ships, especially oil tankers, have been growing during the last years, and this trend is expected to continue.
This heavy traffic is being carried out within narrow straits and in shallow water, covered with ice for a long period, which makes the Baltic a difficult area to navigate and leads to traffic junctions and an increased risk of shipping incidents.
The main negative environmental effects of shipping and other activities at sea include pollution to the air, illegal and accidental discharge of oil, hazardous substances and other wastes, and introduction of alien organisms via ships' ballast water and hulls.

 

Management objectives

 To reach the goal the following eight management objectives, indicating areas of major importance, have been agreed upon:

  • Enforcement of international regulations - No illegal discharges

  • Safe maritime traffic without accidental pollution

  • Efficient emergency and  response capability

  • Minimum sewage pollution from ships

  • No introductions of alien species from ships

  • Minimum air pollution from ships

  • Zero discharges from offshore platforms

  • Minimum threats from offshore installations

These management objectives do not directly describe the good ecological and environmental state of the Baltic Sea, but they rather indicate the main areas of concern as to the human activity at sea and its possible negative impact.

 

Cross-reference with other objectives

Failure to reach the objectives for maritime activities will impair the achievement of a healthy Baltic Sea unaffected by eutrophication, with its life undisturbed by hazardous substances and with favourable status of biodiversity.
More specifically, actions to reduce air emissions from shipping and measures addressing oil accidents and illegal oil discharges agreed in this Action Plan will contribute to the decreased concentration of nutrients and hazardous substances in sea water; the actions to prevent introduction of invasive and alien species via shipping will be crucial for achievement of thriving and balanced communities of plants and animals.
To measure progress towards the management objectives, the set of indicators presented in the indicators and targets document will be used.

 

Enforcement of international regulations – No illegal discharges
WE CALL UPON all Baltic Sea States to ratify and implement IMO conventions, and to this end
WE WELCOME WITH APPRECIATION that the 2001 International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships (the AFS Convention) will enter into force on 17 September 2008,
WE AGREE that all HELCOM Contracting States shall by 2008-2009 ratify the AFS Convention,
WE ALSO AGREE that as of 1 January 2010 no ships calling at a port in the Baltic Sea area may use organotin compounds which act as biocides in its antifouling system having in mind that this requirement is applicable to ports of EU member states already from 1 January 2008 and to ports of the Contracting Parties to the AFS Convention according to its Article 18,
WE ALSO AGREE to promote development of effective, environmentally friendly and safe TBT-free antifouling systems on ships,
WE ALSO AGREE that HELCOM should play a proactive role concerning the effective enforcement of the AFS Convention in the Baltic Sea area by developing a monitoring system enabling the detection of non-compliant ships entering the HELCOM area. Such a system should be based on the list possibly to be developed and updated in co-operation with the 1982 Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (the 1982 Paris MoU) and make use of the HELCOM Automatic Identification System (HELCOM AIS),
FURTHERMORE WE AGREE that all Contracting States will ratify Annex VI to the 1973 International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto (MARPOL 73/78), not later than 1 January 2010,
WE DECIDE in co-operation with the European Maritime Safety Agency to make full use of the satellite images made available to the Baltic Sea States and to establish harmonised satellite and aerial surveillance covering the whole Baltic Sea area to improve detection of illegal oil spills in the Baltic,
WE ENCOURAGE projects by local governments and local communities to remove litter from the coastal and marine environment, such as beach clean-up operations, "Fishing for Litter" initiatives and local litter campaigns, noting the leading role of the voluntary sector in such activities,
We agree to extend the "no-special-fee" system for ship-generated wastes in the Baltic Sea region to cover also wastes caught in fishing nets and to consider adequate incentives to encourage delivery by fishermen of such waste to onshore port reception facilities. To this end WE ADOPT the revised HELCOM Recommendation 28/1 "Application of the "no-special-fee" system to ship-generated wastes in the Baltic Sea Area" as HELCOM Recommendation 28E/10,
WE FURTHER AGREE to enhance the availability of adequate reception facilities for ship-generated wastes, mandatory delivery of waste and the application of the "no-special-fee" system in all the Baltic Sea ports,
WE ALSO AGREE to continue the enforcement of the existing legal regime e.g. through concentrated inspection campaigns under the 1982 Paris MoU and co-operation in prosecution of offenders of illegal discharges,
WE DECIDE to encourage development and use of innovative and cost-effective, integrated surveillance sensors permitting fast and reliable identification of pollutants on the sea surface and in the water column as well as emitted by ships to the air, e.g. light detection and ranging technologies,
WE STRESS the importance of the use of the HELCOM AIS system to ensure the effective enforcement of existing legal regimes, and AGREE to extend existing monitoring of non-compliant ships and of the movement of ships in the Baltic which have been detained under the 1982 Paris MoU with a view to giving strong support to port state controls especially of these ships.

Safe maritime traffic without accidental pollution
WE DECIDE to advance winter navigation safety and efficiency in the Baltic Sea and enhance the co-operation between all Baltic Sea States during wintertime by strengthening our co-operation with the maritime authorities from all Baltic Sea States within the framework of  Baltic Icebreaking Management (BIM). To this end WE ADOPT HELCOM Recommendation 28E/11 "Further measures to improve the safety of navigation in ice conditions in the Baltic Sea",
WE DECIDE to encourage shipping companies to use ships with crew trained for winter navigation and to use voluntary pilotage for winter navigation under ice conditions also in the open Northern Baltic Sea, including the Gulf of Finland, for enhanced navigation safety,
WE AGREE to consider having in 2008 a joint submission by the HELCOM Contracting States to IMO on the needed modification of AIS information content in order to optimise the opportunities provided by AIS and to further improve safety of navigation and protection of the environment,
WE ALSO AGREE to cooperate in the investigation of the potential for Differential Global Navigation Satellite System (DGNSS) broadcast via AIS base stations in the Baltic Sea, pending a recommendation from the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) on the subject,
WE AGREE to amend the HELCOM Agreement on Access to AIS Information by 2008 taking into account the proposal elaborated by HELCOM AIS EWG 16/2007,
WE DECIDE to support in IMO initiatives for introducing a general carriage requirement for Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) as early as possible, and to request IMO to develop a concrete time schedule.

Efficient emergency and response capability
WE ADOPT HELCOM Recommendation 28E/12 "Strengthening of sub-regional co-operation in response field",
WE AGREE to implement this Recommendation by 2013. To this end we agree further:

  • by 2008 to develop and agree upon common methodology for the assessment of risk and sufficiency of emergency and response capacity, to be used with "Guidance for the sub-regional plans to quantify needed emergency/response resources";

  • by 2009 to finalise the assessments by the Contracting States of the risks of oil and chemical pollution and to finalise the quantification of the emergency and response resources at the sub-regional level (emergency towing, fire-fighting and emergency lightering, hardware,** human resources) needed to meet these risks;

  • by 2010, based upon risk assessments, to identify the gaps in emergency and response resources at the sub-regional level and to prepare concrete plans/programmes for fulfilling them by 2013, except for emergency towing and response to accidents involving chemicals, for which the deadlines are 2013 and 2016, respectively; however this postponed timing should not refrain the Contracting States from earlier, if possible, implementation of the requirements;

  • by 2010, based upon sensitivity mapping, to identify the need for and to finalise the quantification of countermeasures for shoreline response, and to prepare concrete plans/programmes for fulfilling them by 2013.

WE FURTHER AGREE to promote an efficient emergency management and efficient support for ships in need of assistance taking into account the specific needs of the Baltic Sea Region,
WE ALSO AGREE to encourage ships in need of assistance to accept in time the most appropriate response to a threat of pollution,
WE RECOGNISE the great importance of an efficient use of places of refuge and for that reason DECIDE to develop by 2009 and implement by 2010 a mutual plan for places of refuge in the Baltic Sea,
WE AGREE to further investigate issues of liability and compensation related to a mutual plan on places of refuge. This should include possible recovery of costs between different HELCOM Contracting States involved in a response action going beyond reimbursement schemes according to existing international conventions,
WE FURTHER AGREE on the need for a sufficient liability and compensation regime for damage in relation to carriage of hazardous and noxious substances by sea and to support ongoing work at the global level to put such a regime in place,
WE AGREE FURTHERMORE to make full use of satellite surveillance to assist response to accidental oil spills in the Baltic,
WE ALSO AGREE by 2009 to develop and agree on a decision support (approval) system for use of dispersants in the Baltic Sea setting the rules for dispersant application based on appropriate IMO Guidelines, Net Environmental Benefit Analyses (NEBA) and the existing knowledge of properties of oil transported in the Baltic,
WE FURTHER AGREE to promote development and to enhance the use of technology to respond to accidents at night and in bad visibility, in bad weather, oil on ice, accidents involving heavy oil, chemical accidents, and to continue the research work and information exchange to close gaps in the knowledge in this field,
WE AGREE to cooperate in order to develop best practices for shoreline response, to continue the research work and information exchange to close gaps in the knowledge in this field, in order to improve regional co-operation especially when introducing coastal planning and regional agreements on co-operation in response actions,
WE AGREE FINALLY to integrate the subject of oiled wildlife response into oil pollution contingency plans either on a national or sub-national/local level, as deemed appropriate by the relevant Contracting State.

Minimum sewage pollution from ships
WE AGREE to have in 2009 a joint submission by HELCOM Contracting States to IMO in order to elaborate relevant new regulations for ships covered by the existing Annex IV to MARPOL 73/78, including further consideration of designation of the Baltic Sea as a special area, with the aim to eliminate the discharge of sewage from ships, especially from passenger ships and ferries,
WE FURTHER AGREE to encourage voluntary activities in ports and shipping companies to dispose of sewage to the port reception facilities. To this end WE AGREE to undertake all the necessary improvements in the availability of these port reception facilities.

No introductions of alien species from ships
WE ADOPT the road map towards ratification and harmonised implementation of the 2004 International Convention for Control and Management of Ships' Balla​st Water and Sediments (BWM Convention)​,
WE AGREE in 2008, in co-operation with the OSPAR Convention, to investigate and if possible determine areas outside the Baltic Sea area for Ballast Water Exchange,
WE FURTHER AGREE THAT the ultimate goal of implementing the road map is ratification of the BWM Convention by the HELCOM Contracting States preferably by 2010, but in all cases not later than 2013.

Minimum air pollution from ships
WE AGREE by 2009 to investigate and when appropriate take into consideration introduction of feasible and effective economic incentives in the Baltic Sea for reducing emissions by ships. To this end WE ADOPT HELCOM Recommendation 28E/13"Introduction of economic incentives as a complement to existing regulations to reduce emissions from ships".
WE AKNOWLEDGE the serious impact on the particularly sensitive Baltic Sea ecosystem from regional, and due to the transboundary character of air emissions, also global shipping activities. Therefore, WE AGREE to support efforts within IMO under the ongoing review process of Annex VI of MARPOL 73/78 to tighten sulphur content in fuel oil at the global level, by having ajoint submission to IMO by 25 January 2008 prior to MEPC 57 in April 2008, with the aim of addressing also the regional component of the issue,
WE AGREE to contribute to the work by IMO aiming at implementing more stringent requirements for emissions from shipping by evaluating the impact of NOx emissions from shipping in the Baltic on the marine environment of the Baltic Sea. To this end WE AGREE:

  • to have in 2008 a joint submission by the HELCOM Contracting States to IMO evaluating the environmental effect on the Baltic Sea of possible new NOx emission control measures,

  • to further estimate the contribution of NOx emissions from shipping to eutrophication of the Baltic Sea to encourage revision of Annex VI of MARPOL 73/78. 

Zero-discharge from offshore platforms
WE AGREE on the Action Plan for the protection of the environment from offshore platforms  to apply a "zero-discharge" principle for the offshore platforms in the Baltic Sea starting from 1 January 2010.

Minimum threats from offshore installations
HAVING IN MIND that the Baltic Sea faces an increasing number of – in many cases - competing uses and that the installations such as underwater cables, pipelines and offshore wind farms put increasing pressure on the Baltic Sea ecosystem, WE AGREE that HELCOM Contracting Parties will carefully follow the relevant processes with the understanding that any environmentally significant adverse impacts on the environment that may be caused by any offshore installation should be prevented, reduced or offset as fully as possible.

 

Development of assessment tools and methodologies

WE ADOPT HELCOM Recommendation 28E/14 on harmonisation of methods to assess diffuse nutrient loads from the Baltic Sea catchment area to enable more reliable estimation and assessment of nutrient load from agriculture and other diffuse sources and to ultimately combine and develop joint catchment models covering the whole Baltic Sea area and linking the nutrient input with ecosystem modelling on the effects in the marine environment,
WE ACKNOWLEDGE that the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan requires a harmonised approach to assess the eutrophication status of the Baltic Sea. Therefore WE AGREE to further develop the common HELCOM eutrophication assessment tool, by promoting inter alia the HELCOM Project to elaborate the HELCOM Baltic Sea-wide thematic assessment on eutrophication (HELCOM EUTRO-PRO) taking into account the Common Implementation Strategy (CIS) Guidance document on eutrophication assessment made in the context of European water policies,
WE ACKNOWLEDGE that the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan requires efficient use of analytical tools, such as models, to support management decisions, that development and use of ecosystem models need efficient co-operation and optimisation due to limited resources available in the scientific community and that scientific consensus on the model approach is important for the acceptance of the results by management,
WE ENCOURAGE efforts to institutionalise and make operational the relevant modelling activities and to prioritise information delivery to HELCOM, bearing in mind that modelling needs to be seen as a long-term activity that extends beyond individual scientists and projects,
Therefore, WE AGREE to further develop information provision from ecosystem models and to co-operate closely in doing so, bearing in mind the requirements of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan in developing targets for good ecological status, indicators for assessing the ecological status of the marine environment and in estimating future allowable nutrient inputs to the Baltic Sea and its sub-regions without jeopardising achievement of the good ecological and environmental status,
WE ACKNOWLEDGE that the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan requires an integrated assessment of the occurrence and inputs, as well as uses and sources, of hazardous substances in the Baltic Sea region. Therefore, WE STRESS the importance of a Baltic Sea-wide thematic assessment on hazardous substances to be ready by 2010,
WE ACKNOWLEDGE that the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan requires a harmonised approach to assess the conservation status of biodiversity and nature protection of the Baltic Sea. Therefore, WE AGREE to further develop the common HELCOM approach and assessment tools for these purposes.
By doing so, WE WELCOME the HELCOM Project to elaborate the HELCOM Baltic Sea-wide thematic assessment on biodiversity and nature protection (HELCOM BIO) defining indicators and targets for the favourable conservation status of Baltic Sea biodiversity and ecological coherence of the Baltic Sea Protected Areas network,
WE AGREE to continuously monitor the conservation status of biodiversity and the effectiveness of nature protection measures and periodically evaluate whether the targets of this Action Plan have been met using indicator-based assessments,
WE ALSO ACKNOWLEDGE that the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan requires an integrated assessment of the inputs of pollution from shipping and their effect on the Baltic Sea environment. Therefore, WE STRESS the importance of a Baltic Sea-wide thematic assessment on maritime shipping to be ready by 2010.

 

Awareness raising and capacity building

WE ACKNOWLEDGE that public engagement and stakeholder involvement can effectively contribute to a successful implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan and therefore RECOMMEND countries, regional and local government and organizations representing civil society to engage the public and stakeholders in activities promoting a healthy Baltic Sea and to actively promote public participation in decision making.
WE STRESS the importance of raising the awareness of the public regarding the effects on human health and the environment of hazardous substances. To this end WE AGREE that by 2008 the Contracting Parties should develop and inform HELCOM about their regular information campaigns,
WE STRESS the importance of further capacity building within and between authorities as well as for industries on the identification and implementation of requirements concerning hazardous substances,
WE FURTHER DECIDE to implement a public awareness programme aimed at involving the public in the detection of illegal discharges from ships,
WE AGREE on raising public awareness of the negative environmental and economic effects of marine litter in the marine environment, including effects of "ghost fishing" of lost or discarded fishing gear,
WE FURTHER DECIDE to implement an awareness programme regarding the importance of the proper fulfilment of existing international regulations concerning ship-generated waste discharges including on-shore disposal and treatment of all ship-generated sewage,
WE ALSO AGREE to promote environmentally friendly pleasure boating and the development of marinas and the use of the best ecological practice by every marina/guest harbour, including education and raising awareness of  the personnel and boat owners of key marinas/guest harbours,
WE DECIDE to expand the HELCOM Geographic Information System with an interface on the HELCOM website showing the progress towards a healthy Baltic Sea.

 

Financing

WE AGREE that a cost benefit analysis of projects, including the cost of non-action and unit abatement cost (UAC) calculation, should be the basis when deciding on implementation taking into account NEFCO's findings that

  • all projects with a UAC for reduction of phosphorus that is below € 150,000 per tonne reduced are examples of cost-efficient actions and should be implemented as soon as possible;

  • based on current information the nutrient reduction needs indicated by HELCOM to meet the objectives for eutrophication would be met if all these cost-efficient investments were implemented together with relevant EU Directives,

  • particularly cost-efficient projects for phosphorus reduction are

  • proper manure management at large animal installations;

  • addition of chemical phosphorus treatment in existing waste water treatment plants;

  • construction and upgrading of wastewater systems in larger and smaller cities/municipalities;

  • reduction/substitution of phosphorus in detergents,

WE STRESS THE NEED for using adequate and comprehensive financial resources for environmental investments for actions according to the Baltic Sea Action Plan in particular within the new EU countries e.g. through sector programmes. The main sources of funding are state budgets and EU's structural funds including the Cohesion Fund, which are made available to the new EU Member States also for implementation relevant EU directives;
WE ALSO FIND that non-EU Member States can benefit from financing in the context of the EU Neighbourhood and Partnership Instruments,
WE ENCOURAGE Contracting Parties that are EU Member States as well as regional and local governments and others concerned to identify projects and apply for financing through e.g. the objective "Territorial Co-operation" under the EU Regional Fund or the Cohesion Fund.
WE ALSO ENCOURAGE Contracting Parties to take additionally into account bilateral sources as well as the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Initiative (ENPI) and Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP) which are offering grant financing for high priority environmental projects in Russia.
For this reason WE AGREE that all Contracting Parties shall investigate how to make better use of available funding for the financing of the implementation of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan, taking especially into account the need to connect priorities within the different sectors in which projects are being chosen for financing, and the need during this process to make use of transparent parameters, such as unit abatement cost,
WE ALSO WELCOME the growing interest of private companies and non-profit foundations to provide funds for the protection of the Baltic Sea on a voluntary basis,
WE AGREE to start in 2008 to identify and list projects based on e.g. results of the Fifth Pollution Load Compilation (PLC-5) and document "Background paper on financing and cost-efficiency" elaborated by NEFCO with a UAC for reduction of phosphorus below € 150,000 per tonne which could be addressed by initiating joint initiatives in the Baltic Sea catchment area in co-operation with non-profit foundations and private companies.
In order to overcome bottlenecks in already approved projects and in the development of new ones, and to speed up and increase investments within municipal infrastructure for wastewater treatment and within the agricultural sector, including environmental investments in large animal farms, WE RECOMMEND the following actions:

  • providing adequate resources for training for project preparation and implementation

  • providing additional support for training and advice for farmers

  • training of central and regional environmental authorities for proactivity in project development and support to applicants

  • conducting information seminars for commercial banks regarding unit abatement cost calculations in environmental projects

  • increased focus on the dialogue with Russia concerning institutional development in particular with a view to creating a higher number of bankable projects within municipal infrastructure such as water supply and wastewater treatment, food industry such as large animal farms, and other industry for cleaner production processes.

To urgently start the actions required to enhance investments to achieve the goals of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan , WE AGREE to arrange a "pledging conference" - this time pledging not only monetary resources, but also pledging to give priority to solving the above-mentioned bottlenecks through concrete actions, within an agreed time frame and thus trying to ensure that projects within the environmental sector, rather than other sectors with larger and less complicated project structures, will be given priority in the final project selection stage.

 

Implementation and review of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan

WE AGREE to monitor and evaluate the status of implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan by making use of the indicators agreed upon as well as HELCOM thematic assessments, annual HELCOM indicator fact sheets and other information available,
WE DECIDE to arrange in 2013 a HELCOM Ministerial meeting to evaluate the effectiveness of the national programmes and to review the progress towards the ecological objectives describing a Baltic Sea in good ecological status. Based on this review the Action Plan will be adjusted and the set of indicators with associated targets will be up-dated to ensure their relevance for achieving the objectives.
Given the political priority of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan, WE AGREE on the need for a Baltic Sea Action Plan implementation process steered on a high level and thus
WE DECIDE to establish a Baltic Sea Action Plan Implementation Group and to decide on its Terms of Reference at HELCOM 29/2008.
The implementation process needs to build on close co-operation amongst all present and future HELCOM bodies and may possibly require the adjustment of the HELCOM working structure
  

* Finland informs that the reduction needs for the Archipelago Sea, which have not been sufficiently taken into account using the MARE NEST model will be addressed according to national plans.
** including but not limited to skimmer capacity, vessels, booms, storage capacity, adequacy of aerial and satellite surveillance to provide guidance to response operations