Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

Healthy Baltic Sea and sustainable growth discussed by the Ministers

​​HELCOM high level session spoke strongly for cross-sectoral and integrated approach in maritime policies High level participants from the Baltic Sea countries and EU, including the European Commissioner Karmenu Vella and Minister of Agriculture and the Environment of Finland Kimmo Tiilikainen, debated yesterday in a HELCOM session in Turku Finland, about how to protect the marine environment while enabling sustainable use and blue economy. ​ HELCOM Executive Secretary Monika Stankiewicz, European Commissioner Karmenu Vella and Minister of Agriculture and the Environment of Finland Kimmo Tiilikainen​.It was pointed out that the economic activities from our seas and oceans that respect environmental boundaries – blue growth – is a great opportunity. The economy depends on healthy seas and there is vast untapped potential for sustainable growth at sea. Protecting our seas and oceans can only be effective if it is seen as a common task within sectorial policies. Moreover, evaluating and demonstrating economic benefits derived from a healthy Baltic Sea is a key factor for ensuring environmental sustainability in economic growth. There is a role to play for RSCs such as HELCOM in reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals adopted last fall also by all the Baltic coastal states. The participants brought up many examples from marine sectors such as marine litter, shipping, fisheries and maritime spatial planning, among others, where successful national practices have taken place – and also where regional governance, and integrated policies, should be of particular concern.                                                                                           “Working with HELCOM brings all Baltic countries and the EU together in their efforts to protect the marine environment in the Baltic Sea and to ensure that it provides a sustainable future for marine life and people who earn their living from it,” said Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner of Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. “HELCOM is a great example of effective regional ocean governance and during our forthcoming Chairmanship we intend to make it even stronger.  During our HELCOM presidency over the next two years we will focus on three main priorities: improving our response to the challenges the Baltic Sea faces; managing its resources sustainably; and promoting knowledge and innovation.” Kimmo Tiilikainen, Minister of Agriculture and the Environment of Finland said that only if all countries bordering the sea continue to work actively, engage private actors and companies likewise – and find clever and effective ways to take the action that is needed – will the Baltic Sea become and remain clean and healthy. A lot has already been achieved but there is still a great challenge ahead of us – which can also be seen as an opportunity. The Minister also reminded that the high-level HELCOM session of today facilitates the preparations and way forward to the next HELCOM Ministerial Meeting scheduled for 2018.  The HELCOM Ministerial Session, hosted by the Finnish Environment Minister, was open for public and attracted a large audience. The event was arranged simultaneously with the 2016 European Maritime Day. The video recording of the event will be made available through the event web page by the end of May.​Session participants:Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, European Commission Kimmo Tiilikainen, Minister of the Environment of Finland Harry Liiv, HELCOM Chair, Ministry of the Environment of EstoniaJan Olsson, Environment Ambassador, Ministry of the Environment and Energy/Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden Heike Imhoff, EU Water Director at the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear SafetySilver Vahtra, Head of Delegation for HELCOM, Ministry for the Environment of EstoniaJoanna Kopczyńska, Head of Delegation for HELCOM, Ministry of the Environment of Poland * * * Note for editorsThe Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as , is an intergovernmental organization of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union working to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region. Since 1974, HELCOM has been the governing body of the ‘Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area’, more commonly known as the Helsinki Convention.  * * * For more information, please contact:Johanna LaurilaInformation SecretaryHELCOMTel: +358 40 523 8988Skype: helcom70​E-mail: johanna.laurila(at)

High level participants spoke strongly for cross-sectoral and integrated approach in maritime policies in HELCOM Ministerial Session.