Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

 

Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

Call for expression of interest: HELCOM Indicator website development

We are looking for a service provider to develop our “HELCOM Indicator website”, an online repository of about 50 individual indicators – fact sheets that provide specific information about the health of and the pressures on the Baltic Sea’s marine environment. 

Interested parties should express their interest by 30 April 2022.

Additional information can be found in the following documents:

HELCOM meetings remain suspended through 30 June 2022

The present Chairmanship of HELCOM, Germany, in agreement with the European Union and Contracting Parties to the Helsinki Convention that are Member States of the European Union, has opted to prolong the suspension of all official HELCOM meetings through 30 June 2022. The suspension was initially announced in a statement issued on 4 March 2022

All meetings of the official HELCOM bodies including the Helsinki Commission, Heads of Delegations, Working Groups, Experts Groups and other subsidiary bodies that were due to take place in the period between March through June 2022 are suspended and will be rescheduled. Participants of these meetings will be informed of any further developments in due course. 

Survey: help us to identify what is slowing down the uptake of green technologies and alternative fuels in shipping

If you are or have been dealing with green technologies and alternative fuels in shipping, the HELCOM Green Team needs your help for identifying the main barriers, obstacles and challenges that are hindering their development in the Baltic Sea region. Share your views by 3 May 2022, using our  survey.  

The survey, which has been ongoing since 2018, is part of the HELCOM Green Team reporting mechanism that seeks to gather constant feedback from shipping stakeholders on green technologies and alternative fuels. The results, compiled once a year, are used to facilitate knowledge and information sharing among the private sector, decision makers and the general public, and to promote an early introduction of new technological solutions and alternative fuels.

The results of the 2022 compilation are due to be presented at the next HELCOM Green Team meeting. The outcome of this meeting will then be forwarded to the HELCOM Maritime Working Group with proposals for further action to be taken.

It should take you about 10 minutes to complete the survey. All answers are handled anonymously.

HELCOM meetings suspended through 1 April 2022

In reaction to the current situation in Ukraine, the present Chairmanship of HELCOM, Germany, in agreement with the European Union and Contracting Parties to the Helsinki Convention that are Member States of the European Union, has suspended all meetings of HELCOM bodies and meetings of project groups with Russian involvement under the HELCOM umbrella with immediate effect and through April 1st, 2022.

Read the related statement:

Postponement of the 43rd Meeting of the Helsinki Commission

Due to the current political situation, the German Chairmanship of the Helsinki Commission has postponed the 43rd Meeting of the Helsinki Commission, scheduled to take place on 3 and 4 March 2022.

Read the related statement by the German Chairmanship of HELCOM on behalf of the European Union and the Contracting Parties to HELCOM that are Member States of the European Union:

OECMs: HELCOM investigates alternative marine protection measures

To investigate the potential of protective measures in the Baltic Sea beside marine protected areas (MPAs), HELCOM, in cooperation with the FAO and IUCN WCPA, held a workshop on other effective area-based conservation measures, or OECMs, on 1-3 February 2022.

“OECMs, a relatively novel conservation approach, are an important part of the HELCOM agenda as well, as reflected by the 2021 Baltic Sea Action Plan, which contains no fewer than seven actions related to spatial conservation measures, and which explicitly refers to OECMs in several places,” said Rüdiger Strempel, the Executive Secretary of HELCOM, adding that OECMs could, among other things, contribute to strengthening the overall coherence of the HELCOM MPA network.

The workshop contributed to developing a common understanding of the applicability of the OECM criteria to the specific situation in the Baltic Sea, as well as a better comprehension of the potential of OECMs for supporting the attainment of the HELCOM objectives on marine conservation, including their interplay with existing MPAs.

“OECMs should have a spatial component, bring clear biodiversity benefits that are long lasting, and should not cause any significant harm to other biodiversity attributes as a consequence of their implementation,” explained Jannica Haldin, the Deputy Executive Secretary of HELCOM.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the distinguishing criterion between MPAs and OECMs is that the former have a primary conservation objective, whereas OECMs deliver effective in-situ conservation of biodiversity regardless of their primary objectives.

“From the perspective of biodiversity in the sea, labels do not matter – what matters is the effect a measure has on the environment,” said Haldin. “The main principle of OECMs is that they must provide a positive outcome for biodiversity.” 

“Using a measure as a starting point is what differentiates the OECM process from traditional conservation approaches, and enables us to consider the effect of measures that weren’t initially put in place for conservation purposes,” added Haldin. 

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) defines other effective area-based conservation measures as areas other than protected areas including MPAs that “achieve positive and sustained long-term outcomes for the in-situ conservation of biodiversity”, which in turn contributes to preserving “ecosystem functions and services” and in some cases “cultural, spiritual, socio–economic, and other locally relevant values”.

The workshop was attended by a broad range of stakeholders dealing with issues related to the marine environment, bringing together representatives of government agencies, non-governmental organization and academia.  

The Baltic Sea Day Forum 2022 will focus on the Baltic Sea Action Plan

The XXII International Environmental “Leonid Korovin” Baltic Sea Day Forum 2022 will be held in Saint-Petersburg (Russia) on 22-23 March 2022. The central theme of this year’s edition will be the updated HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP).

Other topics will notably include environmental monitoring of the Baltic Sea and the ongoing HOLAS 3 assessment, elimination of the HELCOM hot spots, and marine litter.

Organized every year since now over 20 years, the forum fosters cooperation on current issues related to the Baltic Sea’s environment. The forum has established itself as a regional meeting place for a wide array of stakeholders including policy makers, researchers, experts, authorities, businesses and NGOs, who gather each year to address the pressing issues the Baltic Sea is facing and to identify cooperation opportunities.

A youth event will also be held back-to-back, the Youth Day of the Baltic Sea that will be take place on 24 March 2022. The event will promote a dialogue among young people of the Baltic Sea region. It will also seek to engage youth in Baltic Sea related policy- and decision-making and activities related to the HELCOM BSAP and CBSS Baltic 2030 Action Plan priorities. It will also facilitate a mutual and cross-generational understanding of the challenges the Baltic Sea is facing, and what solutions young people have to offer.

The Baltic Sea Day 2022 will be conducted in a hybrid format, with the possibility to attend online.  HELCOM, CBSS, John Nurminen Foundation and SWAM are due to attend, among other regional and national stakeholders.

Registration is open until 10 March 2022.

For more details, programme and registration, please visit the Baltic Sea Day Forum 2022 website (in English): http://helcom.ru/baltic_sea_day/BSD_2022_year

Climate change in the Baltic Sea: state of play and solutions will be addressed at international conference



In a bid to improve our understanding of climate change in the Baltic Sea and identify regional solutions to a global emergency, an international conference will be held online from 9 to 10 March 2022 – the HELCOM Stakeholder Conference 2022 on Climate Change in the Baltic Sea (HSC2022). Parts of the conference will be open to all.

“The HSC2022 conference will not only shed some light on what is currently going on in the Baltic Sea in terms of climate change, but also look at our options for dealing with it in our regional context,” noted Haldin.

Spread over two days, the conference will include an open-to-all webinar on 9 March 2022 presenting the findings of the recently published Climate Change in the Baltic Sea Fact Sheet. A closed workshop (by invitation only) with key stakeholders on 10 March 2022 will then focus on concrete climate change adaptation and mitigation measures and address the science, policy and management components of climate change action.

“Water temperatures of the Baltic Sea have been increasing during the past 100 years and are projected to rise further during the 21st century,” said Prof. Markus Meier from Baltic Earth, and who coordinated the publication of the fact sheet and is a leading authority on climate change in the Baltic Sea. “The current projections suggest that the Baltic Sea will be largely ice-free during normal winters by the end of the century.”

The conference will also build on the results of a previously held workshop on blue carbon – the carbon sequestered and stored in coastal and marine ecosystems –, as a starting point for identifying mitigation and adaptation measures particularly suited for the Baltic Sea. 

“In addition to blue carbon, at the HSC2022, we will also look at measures that strengthen the Baltic Sea’s overall resilience so that it can better cope with the effects of climate change,” said Dr. Lilian Busse, the current chair of HELCOM and vice-president of UBA.

More info and registration details can be found at https://helcom.fi/hsc2022.


Contact

Mock Employee
Dominik Littfass

Communication Secretary
dominik.littfass@helcom.fi


Notes

  1. About Baltic Earth: Baltic Earth is an international scientific network that aims at achieving an improved Earth system understanding of the Baltic Sea region as the basis for science-based management in the face of climatic, environmental and human impact in the region. Website: https://baltic.earth
  2. About HELCOM: The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission – also known as the Helsinki Commission or HELCOM – is an intergovernmental organisation that was established in 1974 to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution. Its members are the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union. Website: https://helcom.fi
  3. About the German Environment Agency (UBA): Since its founding in 1974, the German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt – UBA) has been Germany’s main environmental protection agency. It contributes to ensuring that German citizens have a healthy environment with clean air and water, and that is free of pollutants. In addition to the early detection of environmental risks and threats, UBA provides policy advice, such as to the Ministry of the Environment, on a broad spectrum of issues that include waste avoidance, climate protection, and pesticide approvals. UBA currently provides the HELCOM chairperson, Ms Lilian Busse, Vice-President of UBA. Website: https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/en/
  4. About the Baltic Earth and HELCOM Climate Change in the Baltic Sea Fact Sheet: Jointly developed by Baltic Earth and HELCOM, the Baltic Earth and HELCOM Climate Change in the Baltic Sea Fact Sheet contains information about 34 parameters ranging from air and water temperature to marine and coastal ecosystem services, grouped into six different categories: energy cycle, water cycle, carbon and nutrient cycles, sea level and wind, biota and ecosystems, human activities, and services. According to the fact sheet, in the Baltic Sea, water temperature and sea level will rise, and sea ice cover will decrease – in turn affecting ecosystems and marine species, as well as maritime activities such as shipping, fisheries and aquaculture. Empowering decision makers to carry out timely, ambitious and coordinated climate action, the fact sheet is a summary of the regional counterpart – the Baltic Earth Assessment Reports – of the global reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. About 100 experts from the entire Baltic Sea region were involved in the making of the fact sheet, which was developed by the Joint Climate Change expert network (EN CLIME) run by Baltic Earth and HELCOM.
  5. About the Blue Carbon Workshop: On 17-18 November 2021, HELCOM and Germany (via the German Environment Agency, UBA) held a joint workshop on blue carbon – the carbon sequestered and stored in coastal and marine ecosystems – to investigate its potential as a climate change mitigation option and to establish a common understanding of the meaning of “blue carbon” in the Baltic Sea region. Attended by leading climate change and marine conservation experts from the Baltic Sea region, it was part of the work under the priorities set by the German chairmanship of HELCOM on climate change, notably on strengthening scientific and policy exchange on the effects of climate change in the Baltic Sea region as well as on potential mitigation and adaptation strategies. Read the workshop report here.

Vacancy: Project Financial Coordinator

Applications are closed.

We are currently seeking to recruit an enthusiastic expert to strengthen our team at the international HELCOM Secretariat in Helsinki as a Project Financial Coordinator. The Project Financial Coordinator is responsible for financial management of externally financed projects where HELCOM is either coordinator or partner. Most of the projects are co-financed by EU, by the Interreg programme, Horizon and other EU funding instruments.

The selected candidate is expected to start preferably on 14 February 2022, or as soon as possible thereafter. The position is full-time and fixed-term until 31 December 2023, with a possibility for prolongation. The salary is 2,900 EUR per month. The salaries paid by the Commission are exempt from Finnish income tax.

Application deadline is 16 January 2022.

More information and application

HOD 61-2021: HELCOM decision makers advance on BSAP implementation and HOLAS 3

The implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) and the next Holistic Assessment of the Baltic Sea were some of the key topics on which the HELCOM decision makers advanced during their fall meeting, the 61st Meeting of the Heads of Delegation (HOD 61-2021), held online from 8 to 9 December 2021.

To facilitate the implementation of the 2021 BSAP, several measures were agreed on at HOD 61-2022, including the preparation of a technical guidance document and the review of the structure of HELCOM. Planning of the implementation of the BSAP actions has already started in some of the main HELCOM groups.

Also related to the BSAP, the decision makers agreed on the implementation procedures and prioritization of actions regarding the Revised Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter (RAP ML), which is the main instrument for achieving the BSAP’s objectives on marine litter. A workshop on the RAP ML implementation is planned for April 2022.

Following its approval at HOD 61-2022, a project on strengthening the HELCOM framework on hazardous substances will start in July 2022 for a duration of 18 months. The project will notably develop an action plan for HELCOM work on hazardous substances by 2024, as provided for in the hazardous substances and litter segment of the 2021 BSAP. More broadly, the project will also support further HELCOM assessment work.

At HOD 61-2022, the HELCOM decision makers also ensured that the Third Holistic Assessment of the Baltic Sea (HOLAS 3) remains on track, in particular by approving the updated workplan, numerous additional indicators to be used in the assessment, and the organization of several workshops in early 2022 to facilitate the assessment process.

One of the pillars of HELCOM work and policy making, the HELCOM Holistic Assessments provide a comprehensive overview of the ecosystem health of the entire Baltic Sea over a specific time span. The third Holistic Assessment of the Baltic Sea (HOLAS 3) covers the assessment period 2016–2021. The results of HOLAS 3 are expected to be published in 2023. The next HOLAS assessments will also serve to keep track of the implementation and the effectiveness of the BSAP.

Several HELCOM recommendations were also endorsed during the meeting, with a final adoption expected at the next meeting of the Helsinki Commission in March of next year. In addition, the terms of reference for several HELCOM bodies were also updated or approved. 

The organization of several events was also approved during the meeting, such as the joint HELCOM and Baltic Earth Stakeholder Conference (HSC2022), which will be dedicated to climate change and is slated to be held online on 9–10 March 2022