Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

Professional Secretary at the HELCOM Secretariat

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: Maritime, Response and Sea-based pressures.

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 40 staff members at the HELCOM Secretariat, with English as the working language. We offer an open, friendly, dynamic and energetic, often fast-paced, international working environment offering all staff members the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to achieving our common goals. For more information on HELCOM, please visit our home page:


The Professional Secretary is responsible for:

  • the management and facilitation of the work of the HELCOM Maritime, Response and Sea-based pressures Working Groups as well as projects related to these;
  • the overall coordination, implementation and further development of matters related to sea-based sources of pollution;
  • facilitating a swift national and trans-national response to marine pollution incidents in close cooperation with the Contracting Parties to the Helsinki Convention;
  • linking the implementation of HELCOM’s activities related to the above-mentioned topics to other international frameworks, ensuring relevant input and cooperating with other regional seas organizations on matters related to these topics;
  • coordinating the implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan actions directly related to the scope of the position;
  • other tasks entrusted to them by the Executive Secretary.

The common requirements and duties for the Professional Secretaries as well as the post description of the vacancy are attached.

Qualifications and experience

The person to be appointed shall have:

  • university degree in relevant field (e.g. maritime science, environmental science, law or corresponding education);
  • minimum of five years of relevant professional experience on national or international level;
  • knowledge of the work carried out in HELCOM and a sound understanding of the role of HELCOM and its Secretariat;
  • excellent social and team-orientated skills;
  • flexibility and ability to step in and help colleagues;
  • excellent organizational, administrative and process management skills and proven ability to deliver to tight timelines.

A thorough knowledge of the English language and the ability to draft quickly and concisely are essential. Professional experience from international policymaking is an asset.

Terms of appointment

The salary, which is non-incremental, is 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. Employee benefits include occupational health care, flexible working hours, hybrid working, recreational activities, and professional development opportunities.

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 the post on 1 March 2025.

How to apply?

Candidates with the required expertise and qualifications are invited to submit their application (consisting of a CV and a motivation letter as one file) via e-mail to no later than 3 September 2024. Applications received after that will not be taken into consideration. Please write “Professional Secretary” in the subject field of the message.

The Professional Secretary will be responsible for the overall coordination, implementation and further development of matters related to sea-based sources of pollution as well as to ensure a swift national and trans-national response to marine pollution incidents in close cooperation with the Contracting Parties to the Helsinki Convention. They will specifically undertake the tasks connected with environmentally friendly shipping, safety of navigation, preparedness for and response to marine pollution as well as sea-based pressures including underwater noise, marine litter, seabed disturbance, non-indigenous species and hazardous submerged objects.

To this end the Professional Secretary shall, under the direction of the Executive Secretary, inter alia:

1. provide service and technical support inter-sessionally and to the meetings of the Maritime Working Group, the Response Working Group and the Working Group on Reduction of Pressures from Sea-based sources;

2. provide guidance and supervision of the daily implementation of the activities under their responsibility, including overseeing ongoing contracts and projects with e.g. institutions/consultants;

3. provide support for the considerations of ways and means to manage impacts of maritime transportation on the marine environment, such as pollution by ship-generated wastes, discharges to the sea, emissions to the air, introduction of non-indigenous species and pollution from accidents;

4. provide support for coordination of efforts of the Contracting Parties to the Helsinki Convention in the work of other international organizations, especially the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA);

5. assist in promoting adequate national ability to respond to pollution incidents at sea and shore;

6. assist in organizing standing operational networks for trans-national cooperation in pollution incidents at sea and shore, including facilitation of direct contacts and cooperation between competent authorities dealing with pollution response matters in the Baltic Sea area;

7. assist in developing suitable routines for cooperation in operational matters with the competent authorities acting under other international agreements of relevance to the combatting of marine pollution in the Baltic Sea area;

8. assist in updating and keeping under review the HELCOM Response Manual;

9. assist in coordinating efforts to ensure successful convictions of offenders to anti-pollution regulations for shipping as well as in coordinating aerial surveillance flights, in assessing results thereof and, on the basis of these results, in identifying needs for possible further actions;

10. coordinate collection, analysis and display of relevant statistical and scientific information to support policy decision-making process and information to mariners and support preparation of thematic assessments on:

• the pollution from human activities at sea and their effects to the marine environment,
• the effectiveness of adopted measures,
• the needs and possibilities for additional measures;

11. follow up on the implementation of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan and HELCOM Recommendations connected with maritime and response, as well as sea-based pressures and, and as appropriate, promote their harmonization with international regulations;

12. initiate and prepare proposals for new projects including for external funding;

13. identify connecting points and establish links between different work strands of HELCOM and contribute to addressing cross-cutting issues.

University degree in maritime science, environmental science or law or corresponding education. A minimum of five years of relevant professional experience at the national level. Professional experience at the 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 and additionally by the 1992 Baltic Environment Declaration.

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.