Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

Negotiations enter final straight for major high-level commitments for the Baltic Sea

3 September 2013, Copenhagen, Denmark – The
members of the Baltic Sea Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM),
formed by the nine coastal countries and the EU, have today started their 42nd
Heads of Delegation Meeting particularly focusing on the precise contents of the
2013 Ministerial Declaration, set to be adopted in exactly one month. The
Declaration will cover a wide selection of topics covering biodiversity and
ecosystem services, eutrophication, hazardous substances, shipping, preparedness
and response to pollution at sea, along with monitoring, assessment and marine
knowledgeOne of the major issues of the Meeting is related to new and
updated targets for reducing nutrient inputs to the Baltic Sea in order to reach
the Baltic Sea not affected by eutrophication. The new proposed limits for
nutrients inputs are the result of a few years of work supported significantly
by the Baltic Nest Institute in Sweden and involving national experts in the
HELCOM countries. The Meeting will be an important stepping stone towards
reaching a Ministerial agreement on sharing the burden of the needed pollution
reduction between the Baltic Sea countries and also reflecting the reduction
potential from sources outside the HELCOM area. The most recent data on
pollution inputs to the Baltic Sea, included in the Pollution Load Compilation
5.5 report, will give insight into the progress achieved so far by the countries
in cutting nutrient loadsThe concise thematic assessment on the Eutrophication status
of the Baltic Sea 2007–2011 will also be discussed in the Meeting as a major
background document for the Ministers. The report states that the inputs of
nutrients to the Baltic Sea have decreased since the late 1980s. However, nearly
the entire open sea area is still affected by eutrophication except for the
Bothnian Bay. Trends for the whole Baltic Sea show that currently, the level of
nutrient inputs equals the levels of loads in the early 1960s. However, despite
the reductions in inputs, the concentrations of algal biomasses and nutrients
have not declined accordinglyAs a part of the Ministerial documents under the section on
biodiversity and ecosystem services, an overview report on the network of Baltic
Sea Protected Areas will be addressed. The network of protected areas continues
its expansion and there are more management plans, also in force, for such
areas. However, both ecological coherence and the enlargement of the network in
off-shore areas are yet to meet the targets set in 2010The HELCOM-VASAB Working Group on maritime spatial planning
has proven to be an effective forum to discuss the high and rapidly increasing
demand for maritime space and the potential to plan its future. The Heads of
Delegation are expected to endorse a Baltic roadmap for maritime spatial
planning 2013–2020, for adoption by the Ministerial Meeting. Equally proposed is
the draft HELCOM Recommendation on e-navigation solutions in order to enhance
safety of navigation and protection of the Baltic Sea regionAnother draft Recommendation, to be discussed at policy level
concerns reduction of discharges from marine and fresh water aquaculture. Follow
up on joint activities by Poland and Finland related to phosphogypsum waste
piles in Poland is also in the Meeting agenda, based on new information that has
recently become available  * *Note for editors: will be held on 3 October 2013 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The Ministers of the Environment of the nine Baltic coastal states and the EU
Environment Commissioner will gather to discuss the status and the future of the
Baltic Sea marine environment – reviewing the progress in implementing the
Baltic Sea Action Plan (2007–2021), and setting priorities for action. The
outcome of the 2013 Meeting is expected to revolve around the still
unsatisfactory status of the Baltic Sea; the ecosystem approach as the basis for
blue and green growth, the opportunities for more coherent policies and
implementation, as well as committing to do more for a healthier Baltic Sea he Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually
referred to as , is an intergovernmental organization of
the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union. HELCOM has worked
since 1974 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  * For further information:All the Meeting documents [Heads Of Delegation (HELCOM
HOD/HOD 42, 2013] can be accessed by 5 September 2013, without any log-in, at The ongoing negotiation process towards HELCOM Ministerial
Declaration can be followed at: Contact:Johanna LaurilaInformation SecretaryHELCOMTel : +358 40 523 8988E-mail : Skype: helcom70

The members of the Baltic Sea Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM), formed by the nine coastal countries and the EU, have today started their 42nd Heads of Delegation Meeting.