Side events co-organized by HELCOM

Helcom contributes to several side events during the Oceans Conference:
Read more on the side events below and on the Conference website.

Oceans in the 2030 Agenda: The role of regional governance page

6 June
All-day event

Lead organizers: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety; Swedish Ministry for the Environment; UN Environment

Co-organisers: Insitute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), TMG – Think Thank for Sustainability 


The degradation of the marine environment has thus far outpaced the development of the international ocean governance landscape. A central challenge to achieving SDG 14 emanates from the transboundary nature of both marine resources and threats to ocean sustainability. In short, neither fish stocks nor marine pollution are bound by national borders. Addressing these challenges requires collective actions, following the ecosystem approach, by States to develop innovative approaches to ocean governance and solutions to shared problems. The 2030 Agenda provides the opportunity to address complex ocean sustainability challenges through regionally coordinated cooperation across sectors and with a broad spectrum of stakeholders. Effective implementation requires innovative models of ocean governance and building of new partnerships. 

Thematic focus

Building on the existing framework of the UNEP Regional Seas Programme and experience of the co-organizer's in working through regional seas and ocean management organizations, this event will bring together representatives of relevant regional and international organizations, ocean governance practitioners from States, NGOs and science. It will include geographies such as: Western Indian Ocean, Pacific, North-East Atlantic, Mediterranean, or the Baltic. High level representatives from Member States and important regional actors will report on benefits and challenges of regional cooperation. Participants will discuss a variety of successful regional solutions to key challenges in ocean conservation and sustainable use, such as integrated management, land-based pollution, or climate change, taking into account the new report "Implementing the 2030 Agenda for the Ocean and Coasts: The Role of Regional Ocean Governance" to be launched during the side event by the Partnership for Reginal Ocean Governance. Good-practice examples from various regional actors will highlight the need for regional cooperation and coordination for sound ecosystem-based management and inform the consideration of concrete steps to advance SDG 14 implementation from a reginal perspective, including through the development of effective cross-sectoral collaboration within regions, interregional exchanges and learning processes, and the contribution of regional assessments to the global follow-up and review process. 

Contribution to Conference outcomes

This side event will focus on the role of regional cooperation and aims to identify and discuss innovative solutions through which countries and competent organisations could work together towards the harmonised and cross-sectoral implementation of SDG 14 and other ocean related SDGs. Complementary to the Conference Partnership Dialogues, this side event will provide a venue to discuss regional cooperation and ocean governance as overarching themes. The aim is to contribute to the outcomes documents of the UN Ocean Conference and recommendations developed during this event will be reported back by the Chair of this event to the Conference Plenary, if possible.  

Collaboration in Public Private Partnership for a sustainable maritime future

8 June
9:00 – 10:30 AM

Lead organizer: Ministry of Transport and Communications of Finland (including Finnish Transport Safety Agency)

Co-organizers:  World Maritime University (WMU), WWF, industry representatives: Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), Norsepower Oy Ltd, Wärtsilä Corporation

Goals for the side event

  • Demonstrate the importance of an integrated regional approach to addressing problems of the oceans and seas by using the best available knowledge and technology, acting at the most suitable scale, establishing effective mechanisms for cross-sectorial cooperation.
  • Explore the potential of public-private partnerships to provide both solutions to marine environmental problems and business opportunities in sustainable shipping to reach especially the SDG14 as well as targets of other SDGs. 
  • Provide examples of successfully introduced innovations for sustainable shipping (Duel Fuel Engines; alternative fuels, including LNG; Selective catalytic reduction (SCR) for nitrogen oxide emissions; Rotor Sails (auxiliary wind propulsion); Energy Efficient Ships).
  • Share lessons learnt and consider applicability in other parts of the world.
  • Promote timely and harmonized implementation of global regulations for healthy seas and oceans (e.g. UNCLOS, IMO regulations and Convention on Biological Diversity) through regional mechanisms and bodies.
  • Reflect on a possible path to a Sustainable Blue Economy.

When doing so, draw from:

Both national and regional experiences and priorities (alternative fuels and green technology); and

Examples of successful regional cooperation among HELCOM countries, industry stakeholders and civil society and across sectors to implement and further develop global IMO regulations for green shipping (special regimes for NOx and SOx emissions and sewage discharges under MARPOL Convention).

Apart from the concrete environmental and human health gains, the measures boost competitiveness, innovation and development of technology and thus contribute to a number of Sustainable Development Goals.

Tentative programme

Opening address by a representative of the Finnish Government, including Talks on National view points and future priorities (15 minutes)

Debate on solutions for sustainable shipping (approx. 60 minutes)

  • Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM) & CLIA  (case of the Baltic Sea green shipping)
  • WÄRTSILÄ (technological solutions for green shipping, such as selective catalytic reduction, LNG and dual fuel engines)
  • Norsepower Oy Ltd (technological solutions for green shipping: wind propulsion/rotor sail)
  • WMU (Capacity-building and maritime and ocean education in light of the SDGs and Goal 14)
  • WWF (Roadmap for the Development of a Sustainable Blue Economy Protocol)

(High-level representatives from the organizations listed above take part in the debate following short introductions, questions from the floor).

Regional Marine Protected Areas networks in action

8 June
1:15 – 2:30 PM

Lead organiser: Mediterranean Protected Areas Network (MedPAN)

Co-organisers: CaMPAM, RMPAO, NAMPAN, WIOMSA, HELCOM, UN Enivronment/MAP, French Biodiversity Agency

Objective of the session

The session will contribute to the Conference "Call for Actions" with regional "human" networks of MPA managers showing their added value at regional scale to strengthen MPAs. The session will explore and identify, with the contribution of participants, a strategic action plan for collaborating across regions to achieve SDG targets 14.5, 14.2 and 14.B.  

The session (through a roundtable discussion) will enable stimulating dialogue among several regional networks of MPA managers around the world and their partners, and will strengthen collaboration with key stakeholders.  

Thematic Focus

Several regional permanent networks of MPA practitioners and partners are working to strengthen and expand MPAs:   MedPAN (Mediterranean) in strong cooperation with UN Environment/MAP, CaMPAM (Wider Caribbean), RAMPAO (West Africa), NAMPAN (North America), WIOMSA (West Indian Ocean), NEAMPAN (North-East Asia), HELCOM (Baltic Sea) as well as other associated networks with projects in ecoregions such as the Mesoamerican Reef (MARFund), the Eastern Caribbean (ECMMAN), and other projectbased networks in the Atlantic (Maia, EU Transatlantic MPA Network), the English Channel (PANACHE), etc.  

MPA managers' networks are recognised as a cornerstone of the MPA viability and longevity. 

Regional MPA networks: 

Build a "regional MPA community" by connecting marine area planners and managers, decision-makers, as well as other stakeholders such as nature tourism operators, scientists, small-scale fishermen working towards the same overall goal of healthy, sustainable oceans;

Provide a mechanism for individual MPAs to coordinate with each other to share experiences, good practices and tools and to manage marine resources that are ecologically connected; 

Shape a common language, encourage harmonization and coherence, including the development and sharing of scientific knowledge; 

Increase the visibility of MPAs and opportunities for funding and other partnerships. 

In addition, the exchange of regional MPA networks at international level can enrich the global experience of marine area management by communicating experiences and lessons learned that, although similar, have regional differences based on specific biophysical and socioeconomic contexts.  

Finally, there is a great value for Regional MPA networks in exchanging with the larger ocean community. 

Regional MPA networks are successful when contributing to the dissemination of knowledge and best management practices using effective communication and training tools, such as managers exchanges through visits, web based seminars, etc. Exchanges of managers (with local or national responsibilities) with similar issues but different local context generate creativity, problem solving and resource sharing. 

Working toward the shared goal of effective MPAs and MPA networks, regional MPA networks also have a great potential to champion the new marine conservation challenges and for teaming up to keep the global and regional MPA agendas moving forward. At the global level, strong contributions can be made to the IMPANA initiative, the International Marine Protected Areas Network Agenda1. 

 Speakers: Purificacio Canals (President of MedPAN), Lauren Wenzel (NOAA/NAMPAN), Gaetano Leone (Coordinator, UN Environment/MAP-Barcelona Convention Secretariat), Georgina Bustamante (CaMPAM), Marie-Suzanne Traoré (RAMPAO), Christophe Lefebvre (French Biodiversity Agency), Julius Francis (WIOMSA) , Monika Stankiewicz (Executive Secretary, HELCOM) 

 Contribution to Ocean Conference: Call for actions related to Target 14.5 and 14.2