Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission


Updated 30 June 2020

Current vacancies


Applications are invited for the post of Professional Secretary at the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission – Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) Secretariat to coordinate the work related to three subsidiary bodies of HELCOM: Working Group on Reduction of Pressures from the Baltic Sea Catchment Area (Pressure), the Group on Sustainable Agricultural Practices (Agri) and the HELCOM-VASAB Working Group on Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP WG). The post, which is based in Helsinki, Finland, will become vacant on 1 July 2021.

HELCOM is an intergovernmental organization (Denmark, Estonia, the European Union, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden) with its headquarters (Secretariat) in Helsinki, Finland, working to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea. At present there are around 30 staff members at the HELCOM Secretariat and the working language is English. For more information about HELCOM, please visit our home page:

The Pressure group provides the necessary technical underpinning to the work on nutrient and hazardous substances inputs from diffuse sources and point sources on land, including to the follow-up of the implementation of the nutrient reduction scheme. The group investigates implementation progress to identify gaps and reduction potential in different land sectors and in non-Contracting Parties and comes up with proposals for measures or actions to address these. It also leads the work on marine litter in HELCOM, including addressing sources on land and coordination of implementation of the HELCOM Regional Marine Litter Action Plan, and the work on underwater noise, in cooperation with other subsidiary bodies. The Pressure group is a permanent subsidiary body.

The Agri group deals with agriculture in relation to the implementation of the ecosystem-based approach and responds to the need to find solutions how the sector could further contribute to reaching Good Environmental Status of the Baltic Sea. The mandate of the Agri group is time-limited (the current mandate is until 2022).

The joint HELCOM-VASAB MSP group works to ensure cooperation among the Baltic Sea Region countries for coherent regional Maritime Spatial Planning processes. The mandate of the MSP group is time-limited (the current mandate is until 2021).


The Professional Secretary is responsible for:
– the management and facilitation of the work of the HELCOM Pressure and Agri groups and HELCOM-VASAB Maritime Spatial Planning group, and projects related to these;
– the compilation, analysis, assessment and presentation of information related to the above-mentioned areas and drawing of appropriate conclusions;
– relating land-based pollution and maritime spatial planning issues to the overall priorities and other areas in the work of the Helsinki Commission;
– linking the implementation of activities of the Helsinki Commission related to the above-mentioned fields to other international frameworks and marine environment protection policies to address these; and
– other tasks entrusted to him/her by the Executive Secretary.

Qualifications and experience

The person to be appointed shall have:

– advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in environmental engineering and/or science or other related field, and a minimum of five years of relevant professional experience at national or international level;
– familiarity with the policies addressing land-based pollution including to limit inputs of hazardous substances and nutrients and how they relate to the protection of the marine environment;
– experience from working on development and/or implementation of legislation, policies and projects addressing pollution sources on land;
– knowledge of the work carried out in HELCOM and sound understanding of the role of HELCOM and the Secretariat;
– excellent social skills and an ability to build both internal and external networks;
– the ability to work both as a positive team member and individually;
– proven organizational and administrative skills.

Professional experience from international policy-making is highly desirable. Knowledge of maritime spatial planning is an advantage.

A thorough knowledge of English language and the ability to draft quickly and concisely in English as well as computer literacy are essential.

The Professional Secretary is required to travel frequently and to accept irregular working hours.

Terms of appointment:

The salary, which is non-incremental, is approximately 5.800 EUR per month. The salaries paid by the Commission are exempt from Finnish income tax. In addition, certain allowances may be payable, depending on personal circumstances.

The initial appointment is for three years, the first six months of which shall be a probationary period, with the possibility of a prolongation for another period not exceeding three years (3+3 years, maximum 6 consecutive years altogether).

The successful candidate is expected to take up his/her post in July 2021.


Applications consisting of a cover letter with motivation and CV should be sent by e-mail to Administrative Officer Riina Kero ( by 30 September 2020 at the latest. Applications received after that date will not be taken into consideration.

Shortlisting and call for interviews will take place during October/November 2020 and the interviews will tentatively take place online in December 2020, during week 49.


The Professional Secretary will be responsible for the overall coordination, implementation and further development of matters related to reduction of pressures to the marine environment from the Baltic Sea catchment area, sustainable agricultural practices and maritime spatial planning in close cooperation with the Contracting Parties to the Helsinki Convention.
To this end the Professional Secretary shall, under the direction of the Executive Secretary, inter alia:

  1. provide guidance and supervision of the daily implementation of the activities under his/her responsibility, including responsibility for the implementation of ongoing contracts and projects with e.g. institutions/consultants;
  2. provide administrative service and technical support inter-sessionally and to the meetings of the Pressure, Agri and MSP groups;
  3. provide substantial support for the considerations by the Contracting Parties of the Convention of ways and means to manage human activities at land causing pressures and impacts on the marine environment, to promote sustainable agriculture, and to ensure ecosystem-based maritime spatial planning;
  4. co-ordinate and keep under review the monitoring programmes for waterborne and airborne inputs (PLC-Water, PLC-Air);
  5. provide support to compile periodically emission inventories in co-operation with EMEP (Co- operative Programme for Monitoring and Evaluation of the Long Range Transmission of Air Pollutants in Europe);
  6. coordinate collection, analysis and display of relevant statistical and scientific information to support policy decision-making process, including preparation of HELCOM Pollution Load Compilations (PLC- Water and PLC-Air) and follow-up on the implementation of the HELCOM nutrient reduction scheme.
  7. provide support to enhancement and development of the HELCOM data base on PLC-Water and PLC- Air programmes:
  8. monitor and assess the implementation of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) and support the ongoing update of BSAP on the issues under the Pressure, Agri and Maritime Spatial Planning groups;
  9. make substantive proposals for review and update of the HELCOM Recommendations under the Pressure, Agri and MSP groups and follow up the harmonization of existing and planned HELCOM Recommendations with EU Directives, Recommendations and Decisions within OSPAR and other relevant international organizations;
  10. advise in relation to HELCOM requirements on the results of investments in point- and non-point source Hot Spots and in relation to evaluation of Hot Spots proposed to be removed from the list.
  11. assist in the preparation of the reports and assessments concerning pollution prevention and control measures, in particular concerning Best Available Technology/Best Environmental Practice (BAT/PEP);
  12. provide support for elaboration of reduction targets for specific sources for promoting BAT and BEP including development and use of environmentally sound processes and products;
  13. initiate and prepare proposals for new projects including for external funding;
  14. identify connecting points and establish links between different work strands of HELCOM and contribute to addressing cross-cutting issues.
  15. provide support for coordination of efforts of the Contracting Parties to the Convention in the work of other international organizations;


University degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in environmental engineering and/or science or another related field. A minimum of five years of relevant professional experience at the national level. Professional experience at international level is an asset. Computer literacy is essential.

Language requirements:
Excellent knowledge of English.


The professional secretaries shall assist the Executive Secretary in performing functions conferred on the Executive Secretary, inter alia, by paragraph 5 of Article 21 of the 1992 Helsinki Convention.

The Secretaries shall, under the direction of the Executive Secretary, inter alia,

  1. Make necessary arrangements for the meetings of the subsidiary bodies, and their sub-groups, inter alia:
    a) prepare invitations, provisional agendas, secretariat documents and reports pertaining to such meetings;
    b) present matters for consideration at such meetings;
    c) act as Secretaries at such meetings; and
    d) communicate documents relating to such meetings,
    in so far as responsibility for this work or part of it is not assumed, by special arrangement, by a Contracting Party to the Helsinki Convention, an observer of the Commission.
  2. In addition the Secretaries shall, as directed by the Executive Secretary:
    a) respond to requests from Governments, international organizations, NGOs, institutions and individuals;
    b) represent HELCOM at meetings related to HELCOM’s field of responsibility; and
    c) undertake such other tasks as may be assigned to her/him in the field of her/his competence.
  3. The Secretaries shall compile, analyze and assess information related to their area of competence and draw the appropriate conclusions.
  4. The Secretariat of HELCOM is understood as a team and each Secretary shall, under the supervision of the Executive Secretary, closely cooperate with the other Secretaries and the Administrative Officer as well as take due account of the work carried out within the subsidiary bodies of HELCOM.