For the first time, the joint management plans of the Vistula Lagoon, located between Poland and Russia, is discussed by such a wide array of stakeholders, representing transport, tourism, fisheries management, environmental protection, maritime spatial planning and business sectors. The 2-day Forum in Kaliningrad, Russia is organized by and projects and brings together Polish, Russian and international stakeholders to agree upon the baseline situation and start the plans. The initiative contributes to the achievement of good environmental status for the Baltic Sea, sustaining a wide range of human, economic and social activities in the region, as an overall goal of Baltic Sea Action Plan istula Lagoon is separated from the Gulf of Gdansk by a long sandy Spit, forming a variety of landscapes. The Lagoon has unique natural features and it provides a shallow-water sink for a large catchment area, making the ecosystem of the Lagoon very sensitive to any human disturbances. The waterbody remains one of 52 HELCOM “hot spots”, as the pollution load being accumulated in the lagoon for years from its vast catchment significantly influences the water quality of the Baltic Sea. quot;There is a strong need to develop a shared comprehensive management plan for the lagoon basin and its watershed by Poland and Russia in order to counteract the water pollution. Better management will reduce concerns also for other environmental aspects, e.g. nature conservation and sustainable use of the lagoon’s resources. Meanwhile, the lagoon is an attractive area for development of various human activities, e.g. shipping, fishery and tourism, which, if environmental limitations are not considered, may compromise sustainable development of the region. By and large, water management issues deserve more attention from the general public, authorities and decision-makers in the region, and this is exactly what the new initiative aims to create,” says Saija Vuola, BASE Project Manager, HELCOM. he Vistula Lagoon and its basin will continue to be the most important area for development within the sub-region. Many local, regional, national, and international bodies and projects are already cooperating on related issues to better jointly manage the Lagoon. However, cooperation has often structured around one specific issue thus missing a more holistic, cross-sectorial approach * Note for editors: (2012-2014) supports the implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) in Russia. BASE addresses altogether three priority areas of the HELCOM BSAP: eutrophication, hazardous substances, and biodiversity and nature protection. Within BASE, monitoring activities to support and measure the progress within the abovementioned segments are also being carried out. The pilot projects (See: ) are implemented by experts from Russia with the support of EU experts, while the overall Project, funded by EU, is managed by the HELCOM Secretariat and St. Petersburg Public Organization “”. aims to identify the development potential of the Vistula Lagoon region as well as Polish- Russian socio-economic cooperation. The project will analyse the process of sustainable development on regional level, as well as the natural conditions of the lagoon and the possibilities for socio-economic growth. The project should also answer to questions about the potential forms of Polish-Russian cooperation in this area and define the regional development directions for future 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 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 further information, please contact:Saija VuolaProject ManagerHELCOM BASETel: +358 40 668 4657 Skype: helcom48E-mail: saija.vuola(@)helcom.fi Johanna Laurila Information Secretary HELCOM Tel: +358 40 523 8988Skype: helcom70 E-mail: johanna.laurila(@)helcom.fi
First time for such a wide array of sector representatives to discuss the joint management plans of the Vistula Lagoon, taking place today and tomorrow.