Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

Latvia 2022-24

Priorities of the Latvian Chairmanship of HELCOM
1 July 2022 – 30 June 2024

The Contracting Parties of the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) have agreed on a vision[1] of a healthy Baltic Sea environment with rich biodiversity and resilient ecosystem which requires the continued regional cooperation guided by the ecosystem approach.

Latvia sets the following priorities for the next two years of Chairmanship:

(1) HELCOM as an effective and well-functioning organisation of regional cooperation which is capable of action, including in unforeseen and force majeure situations.

The Latvian Chairmanship will: (i) contribute to the preparation of a legal framework in line with international law to ensure that HELCOM is able to act effectively and efficiently to achieve the objectives of the Helsinki Convention and the updated Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP2021); (ii) work to ensure that the renewed HELCOM working structure ensures the implementation of the BSAP2021 and the Helsinki Convention.

(2) Implementation of the updated Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP 2021).

A healthy and resilient Baltic Sea ecosystem is the ultimate objective of the Baltic Sea Action Plan against which its entire performance is measured. The Latvian Chairmanship will pay particular attention to the:

i) protection of marine biodiversity by contributing to the establishment by 2030 of a resilient, regionally coherent and effectively managed ecologically representative and well-connected system of marine protected areas (MPA) to cover at least 30% of the marine area of the Baltic Sea, as well as to updating the HELCOM MPA management guidelines and starting their application;

ii) advancing ecosystem based sustainable marine management by integration of environmental objectives with socio-economic goals –

by supporting regional efforts to promote sustainable use of the sea, based on the best available scientific information, improved quality and management of marine data, taking into account climate change aspects and balancing environmental and socio-economic objectives, inter alia, through further development of regional Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) process in accordance with HELCOM MSP Roadmap 2021-2030.

(3) Strengthening the role of regional cooperation in the context of international ocean governance. 

HELCOM Contracting Parties are determined to implement the United Nations Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the coming post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework under the Convention on Biological Diversity, and to engage with other relevant regional, European and global processes.

The Latvian Chairmanship will contribute to strengthening the role of regional cooperation in order to support the achievement of global Sustainable Development Goals, inter alia, for those on conservation of marine and coastal biodiversity. It is also important to coordinate and harmonizethe work in the context of the BSAP2021 with various political instruments and ongoing initiatives at the European Union (EU) level, in particular, those of the EU Biodiversity Strategy, EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, Marine Strategy Framework Directive and others.

[1] HELCOM vision is “a healthy Baltic Sea environment, with diverse biological components functioning in balance, resulting in good environmental status and supporting a wide range of sustainable human economic and social activities.”