The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission – also known as the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) – is an intergovernmental organization (IGO) and a regional sea convention in the Baltic Sea area, consisting of ten Contracting Parties, namely Denmark, Estonia, the European Union, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden.
HELCOM (Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission – Helsinki Commission) is the governing body of the “Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area,” also known as the Helsinki Convention.
A platform for environmental policy making at the regional level, HELCOM was established about four decades ago to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution through intergovernmental cooperation.
The HELCOM Secretariat is located in Helsinki, Finland.
HELCOM’s vision for the future is 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 economic and social activities.
- an environmental policy maker for the Baltic Sea area by developing common environmental objectives and actions
- an environmental focal point providing information about the state of and trends in the marine environment, the efficiency of measures to protect it and common initiatives and positions, which can form the basis for decision-making in other international fora
- a body for developing, according to the specific needs of the Baltic Sea, recommendations of its own and recommendations supplementary to measures imposed by other international organisations
- a supervisory body dedicated to ensuring that HELCOM environmental standards are fully implemented by all parties throughout the Baltic Sea and its catchment area
- a coordinating body, ascertaining multilateral response in case of major maritime incidents.
For the purposes of the Helsinki Convention the “Baltic Sea Area” is defined as the Baltic Sea and the entrance to the Baltic Sea bounded by the parallel of the Skaw in the Skagerrak at 57° 44.43’N. It also includes the internal waters (for more details, see the Convention, Article 1).
The HELCOM logo
A map of the Baltic Sea and ten dots representing the Contracting Parties