Regional cooperation in the Baltic Sea towards reaching the UN sustainable development goals was the key theme in the annual international environmental forum, the Baltic Sea Day, held 22-23 March 2017 in St. Petersburg, Russia. The forum gathered about 650 participants from all countries around the Baltic Sea as well as from the Belarus, Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway. The Forum was of specific significance as 2017 has been declared The Year of the Environment in Russia.
The coordination of global, regional and local environmental strategies between representatives of HELCOM, the European Union, national governmental authorities and municipalities was a key point of the discussion. Participants also discussed the implementation of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan and other HELCOM agreements in the light of the upcoming HELCOM Ministerial meeting scheduled in 2018 under the EU Chairmanship in HELCOM.
The participants also discussed means to strengthen cooperation between countries and engagement of municipalities to solve environmental challenges in the region.
Russian and international experts considered environmental aspects of the realization of large infrastructural projects and cost efficient solutions for reclamation of the HELCOM hot spots such as Krasnyi Bor toxic waste landfill near St.Petersburg.
The global problem of littering marine environment was one of the top themes for the discussion. Participants overviewed the results of the implementation of the HELCOM Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter and outlined practical steps forward including specific actions also the Russian partners could undertake to address, specifically, land based sources of litter.
The impact of human activities on the sea floor integrity, such as dredging or depositing operation, exploitation of mineral resources and coastal protection, was also a hot topic for the discussion. Experts pointed out the importance of collecting reliable and comprehensive data on these activities, their impact on the marine ecosystem and the potential of the ecosystem to subsequently recover from them.
The issues related to prevention of marine environment pollution from land based sources such as management of river basins and the reduction of environmental pressure from agriculture were also discussed.
The Baltic Sea Day, organised for the 18th time this year, is an esteemed platform for environmental dialogue and a live meeting point for national, regional as well as global participants representing a wide range of sectors. It was organised by the city of St.Petersburg and State Company Mineral.
* * * Note for editors
Working to safeguard the marine environment from pollution and ensure safe navigation in the Baltic Sea, HELCOM acts as the governing body of the 1974 Helsinki Convention. HELCOM's official name is the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission.
* * * For more information, please contact:
Dmitry Frank-KamenetskyProfessional SecretaryHELCOMTel: +358 40 630 9933Skype: helcom68E-mail: dmitry.frank-kamenetsky(at)helcom.fi