A streamlining process was initiated in 2012 to help HELCOM cope with the increasing changes in marine and maritime governance, maintain and strengthen the inter-linkage with other international frameworks, and ensure forward-looking and focused agenda well reflecting priorities of the Contracting Parties. The streamlining led to a more efficient HELCOM and a better use of the limited resources, addressing the identified challenges of the Baltic Sea in a more effective manner.
As a first streamlining step, the HELCOM Group on the Implementation of the Ecosystem Approach (HELCOM GEAR) has been established with a specific role to combine efforts and enhance synergies of national, regional and EU efforts for the implementation of marine environment policies in the Baltic Sea.
The Roadmap of HELCOM activities on ecosystem approach (.PDF, 2018 update) provides an outline and timetable for major HELCOM’s activities and deliverables until 2024 and serves as a tool for the Contracting Parties in planning and coordinating the various activities in HELCOM, also in relation to the work of other organizations and on European and global level.
In a second step, it has been clarified that the current rules and division of responsibilities of the Helsinki Commission and Heads of Delegation meet the needs of the Contracting Parties and the purposes of the Convention. Further, the lessons learnt from running projects under the HELCOM umbrella have been discussed. More systematic approach to “operationalize” the closer cooperation with other organizations, such as OSPAR and ICES, has been agreed, and HELCOM input to MSFD Common implementation Strategy has been provided, to better draw on synergies between the work of Regional Seas Conventions, and between regional and European level.
The streamlining process reached completion in September 2014 (outcome summary). The key aim of the streamlining exercise was a more efficient and flexible HELCOM, and to better use the limited resources to address the emerging challenges of the Baltic Sea.