Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

Marine litter, protected areas and monitoring among key priorities of Estonian Chairmanship of HELCOM

Estonia has released its for the 2-year of the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, also known as Helsinki Commission or , which officially began one week ago. The main components addressed in the new Chairmanship priorities are pollution management; planning, management and marine protected areas; as well as assessment of environmental status and information. The nominated new Chairman is Harry Liiv, the Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of the Environment of Estonia.  Improved plans in water management and rural development for more effective        nutrient reduction, as well as reducing the impact of hazardous substances are parts of the overall first priority of pollution management.  Moreover, drawing up a joint regional action plan on reducing marine litter in 2015 at the latest, as was agreed by the region’s countries in the 2013 Ministerial Declaration, is listed as a priority.  Other priorities for the next two years include the use, conservation and protection of the Baltic Sea regional coastal and marine areas; further work for well arranged network of marine protected areas; as well as developing of ecosystem based management principles for fish stock and other environmental resources. Monitoring of high standards, reliable data and indicator work form the third pillar of the Estonian priorities, as well as the implementation of HELCOM communication strategy adopted last spring. “I am looking forward to the labour-intensive season of fully putting into practice the plentiful Ministerial commitments from October 2013, in the path of reaching a Baltic Sea in good environmental status. There are important deadlines ahead especially concerning HELCOM monitoring programme and guidelines, as well as the major effort to describe the status of the entire Baltic Sea in the 2nd HELCOM holistic assessment”, says the new HELCOM Chairman, Mr. Harry Liiv.   “In general terms, 2014 is a major year for Estonia with regards to regional cooperation thus providing concrete opportunities for even deeper synergies. In addition to the HELCOM Chairmanship, this month Estonia has assumed the yearly presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea. For the whole calendar year Estonia is leading the Nordic-Baltic cooperation (NB8), the Baltic Council of Ministers as well as the Baltic Assembly”, says Harry Liiv.   Mr. Harry Liiv has succeeded Ms. Helle Pilsgaard of Denmark, who chaired the Helsinki Commission in 2012–2014. The Chairmanship of HELCOM rotates between the Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union according to the alphabetical order every two years. Mr. Liiv will lead, as the Chairman, the work of HELCOM up until 30 June 2016.  the document HELCOM priorities during the Estonian Chairmanship. * * *Note for editors:The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as , is an intergovernmental organisation 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.HELCOM is the governing body of the “Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area,” more usually known as the Helsinki Convention, from 1974. * * *For further information, please contact:Johanna LaurilaInformation SecretaryHELCOMTel: +358 40 523 8988E-mail:  Pille RõivasPublic Relations CouncellorMinistry of the Environment of EstoniaTel: +372 626 2811, +372 506 4608E-mail:

Estonian priorities for the 2-year HELCOM Chairmanship also cover pollution management, improving the network of marine protected areas and data reliability, among others.