Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

 

Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

HELCOM contributes to the preparation of the UN's second World Ocean Assessment

Attending the Regional Workshop on UN World Ocean Assessment II, at Malta University on 27 August 2018 (from the left): Irina Makarenko from the Black Sea Commission Secretariat, Lena Bergström and Monika Stankiewicz from the HELCOM Secretariat, and Jo Foden from the OSPAR Secretariat.A HELCOM team presented its expertise on marine management and sea assessment during a United Nations-led regional workshop held in Valetta, Malta from 27 to 28 August 2018. Preparing for the Second Global Integrated Marine Assessment (WOA II, or World Ocean Assessment II), the workshop specifically covered the North Atlantic, the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea regions.The are part of the so-called Regular Process – short for the United Nations . According to the UN, the assessments aim “to improve understanding of the oceans and to develop a global mechanism for delivering science-based information to decision makers and [the] public.”While the first cycle of the Regular Process focused on establishing a baseline for measuring the state of the marine environment, the second cycle, WOA II, was extended to evaluate trends in the marine environment and identify gaps. WOA II was launched by the UN General Assembly in December 2015, and runs from 2016 to 2020. During the Valetta workshop, HELCOM presented the findings from its recently concluded Second Holistic Assessment of the Baltic Sea (HOLAS II), an in-depth analysis of the ecological state of the Baltic Sea and the pressures it is affected by. The results were published in the newly released .The HOLAS II process and the HELCOM report already cover the majority of the aspects foreseen in WOA II for the Baltic Sea. HELCOM not only possesses deep knowledge about the Baltic Sea’s ecological state, but also about the management of a complex and regional sea assessment process. The Valetta meeting was opened by Carmelo Abela, the Maltese Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion. It has been attended by some 30 experts, with participants from Sweden, Estonia and the HELCOM Secretariat representing the Baltic Sea region. Alongside HELCOM for the Baltic Sea, three other regional seas conventions were covered by the workshop, namely OSPAR for the North-East Atlantic, the Mediterranean Action Plan, and the Black Sea Commission. WOA II aims to support informed decision-making and thus contribute to managing in a sustainable manner human activity that affect the oceans and seas, in accordance with international law, including the and other applicable international instruments and initiatives.

A HELCOM team presented its expertise on marine management and sea assessment during a United Nations-led regional workshop held in Valetta, Malta from 27 to 28 August 2018.

At UN conference in Canada, HELCOM shares its insights on marine litter and the management of sea areas

Plenary session considering conference room papers. © IISD/ENB | Franz Dejon HELCOM shared its insights on both marine litter and the management of sea areas in the Baltic Sea region during a UN conference held in Montreal, Canada earlier this July – the 22nd meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice of the Convention on Biological Diversity ().”Marine litter including plastics is a major priority on the HELCOM agenda,” said Monika Stankiewicz, HELCOM’s Executive Secretary, during the SBSTTA-22 side-event on marine litter and microplastics. “The regional goal agreed in HELCOM is to significantly reduce the amount of marine litter by 2025 and prevent harm from litter in the coastal and marine environment.”Stankiewicz presented the , and stressed the importance of regional coordination for monitoring of marine litter and developing indicators with quantitative threshold values.At a second side-event on area-based management tools (AMTs) and their role in achieving the and , Stankiewicz also advocated for a holistic approach to the management of sea areas to halt the decline of marine biodiversity in the Baltic Sea. Her presentation was based on the findings of the recently concluded “Second HELCOM Holistic Assessment of the Baltic Sea”, summarised in the that was just updated in July 2018. As highlighted during the side-event, various human activities impacting the state of the sea need to be considered in area-based management, and, when necessary, mitigated for the benefit of ecosystem functionality. This is particularly relevant for sea areas burdened by pressures such as eutrophication and chemical pollution.The current challenge in area-based management is to reconcile the different tools to form a coherent, ecosystem-based planning and management structure. Current legal means – such as marine protected areas (MPAs) and maritime spatial planning (MSP) – need to be closer integrated with softer planning approaches, such as Ecologically or Biologically significant Marine Areas (EBSAs), and with other non-spatial conservation measures.

HELCOM shared its insights on both marine litter and the management of sea areas in the Baltic Sea region during a UN conference held in Montreal, Canada earlier this July.

More needs to be done: EUSBSR Annual Forum in Tallinn addresses Baltic Sea environmental challenges

​HELCOM’s Monika Stankiewicz adressing the third plenary session on marine environment at the EUSBSR Annual Forum in Tallinn, Estonia on 5 June 2018. © HELCOMMarine environmental issues were high on the agenda of the 9th ESBSR Annual ForumOverall consensus: more needs to be done on Baltic Sea marine mattersThe Baltic Sea Action Plan will be updated after 2021Marine environmental issues were a high priority at the  (EUSBSR) held in Tallinn, Estonia from 4 to 5 June 2018. HELCOM participated in the plenary session on safeguarding the ecosystems of the Baltic Sea, as well as in other events, notably a seminar on updating the Baltic Sea Action Plan beyond 2021.The overall consensus at the forum was that despite good progress on marine environmental matters in the Baltic Sea region, more needs to be done to achieve good environmental status for the Baltic Sea in a foreseeable future.”We have to step up our efforts for the Baltic Sea. Following the recent [HELCOM] assessments, the Baltic Sea is not in a good shape. We need to reduce [our] impacts on the sea,” said the Prime Minister of Estonia Juri Ratas during the opening session.His comments resonated with the , European Commissioner on Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries on the occasion of the opening of the third plenary session about the EUSBSR and marine environment. The major pressure on the Baltic Sea remains eutrophication caused by excessive nutrient discharge into the sea from agriculture and other land-based sources. New threats to the marine ecosystem were also mentioned during the event, especially stemming from hazardous substances such as micro-plastics and pharmaceutical residues, and underwater noise.At the EUSBSR Annual Forum, HELCOM Executive Secretary Monika Stankiewicz presented the State of the Baltic Sea report, stressing that good environmental status for the Baltic Sea hasn’t been achieved yet, and that the current reduction of pressures on the sea aren’t enough.The  assesses the state of the Baltic Sea and the pressures it is affected by. The first results were published in 2017 and the assessment will be finalized by the end of June 2018.Stankiewicz also indicated that the , the main strategic tool to achieve a healthy Baltic Sea, will not end after its initially set deadline of 2021. “Based on outcomes of the Brussels HELCOM Ministerial meeting and analysis of measures and results, the Baltic Sea Action Plan will be updated past 2021,” she said, paving the way for future actions. The update of the Baltic Sea Action Plan coincides with the update of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region Action Plan which gives opportunity to find further synergies between the work of HELCOM and EUSBSR.The Forum was hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia together with the Baltic Development Forum in close cooperation with the European Commission, Ministry of Environment and other partners. About 770 participants from governments, international organisations, NGOs, universities, local and regional administrations and businesses came together to discuss developments and challenges in the Baltic Sea Region. The Annual Forum was co-financed from the programme of Interreg Baltic Sea Region.

Marine environmental issues were a high priority at the 9th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) held in Tallinn, Estonia from 4 to 5 June 2018.

HELCOM agreement reached on next steps for a healthy Baltic Sea

​With three years remaining to reach the original deadline for a healthy Baltic Sea in 2021, the Ministers of the Environment and High-Level Representatives of the nine Baltic coastal countries and the European Union, meeting today in Brussels, Belgium, have agreed on new commitments for the Baltic marine environment. The ocean-related UN Sustainable Development Goals form a framework for the commitments.After intensive discussions, the Baltic Sea community today decided on renewed efforts for a healthy marine environment. Convening at the HELCOM Ministerial Meeting in Brussels, the responsible Ministers, the EU Commissioner, and other high-level representatives reached an agreement that includes an update of the Baltic Sea Action Plan, intensified efforts to reach the goals of the existing Plan, and a regional strategy for nutrient recycling.High-level representatives at the 2018 HELCOM Ministerial Meeting, from left: Jānis Eglīts (Vice Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, Latvia), Camilla Gunell (Deputy Head of Government and Environmental Minister, Government of Åland), Karmenu Vella (Commissioner for the Environment, European Commission), Kęstutis Navickas (Minister of Environment, Lithuania), Barbara Hendricks (Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Germany), Siim Kiisler (Minister of the Environment, Estonia), Kimmo Tiilikainen (Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing, Finland), Nuritdin Inamov (Director of the Department for International Cooperation and Board member of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, Russia), Anna Moskwa (Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation, Poland), Esben Lunde Larsen (Minister for Environment and Food, Denmark), Marianne Wenning (Chair, HELCOM), Monika Stankiewicz (Executive Secreatary, HELCOM), Karolina Skog (Minister for the Environment, Sweden).Updated roadmap to a restored marine environmentThe Ministerial Meeting today agreed to update the (BSAP) – the concrete roadmap for restoring the ecological balance of the Baltic Sea – by 2021. The updated BSAP will include new measures that are needed to achieve the existing goals: a Baltic Sea unaffected by eutrophication, a Baltic Sea with life undisturbed by hazardous substances, maritime activities carried out in an environmentally friendly way, and favourable conservation status of the Baltic Sea biodiversity. Recognizing that some actions agreed upon in the original BSAP are yet to be completed, the Meeting also decided on renewed efforts to fulfil the existing BSAP by 2021. Particular focus will be put on addressing those pressures that the report identified as most widely-distributed and harmful, including excess nutrients, contamination, underwater noise, invasive alien species, excessive extraction of fish, and physical disturbance of the seabed. Among other things, the Meeting decided to elaborate regional and national actions to limit the impacts of underwater noise on sensitive marine species.In a significant move towards curbing eutrophication, the Meeting participants committed to developing a Baltic-wide nutrient recycling strategy by 2020, aiming for reduced nutrient inputs to the Baltic Sea and for more efficient use of nutrients. The regional policy will support countries in creating a sustainable and environmentally safe scheme for recycling nutrients in agriculture and from sewage sludge.”HELCOM is a true example of successful regional ocean governance,” states Mr Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment. “The Baltic Sea Region is leading the way with marine protected areas now covering more than 12% of the Sea. It has been designated as Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) Emissions Control Area. But we need to step up efforts to address other challenges such as eutrophication, marine litter and underwater noise. The Declaration adopted under EU Presidency by the HELCOM Ministers confirms the commitment by its members to work together to achieve a healthy Baltic Sea.”  HELCOM to coordinate the workA common thread to the decisions made at the Meeting were the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations Agenda 2030. The countries around the Baltic Sea have previously agreed to use HELCOM as the regional arena for coordinating work on those SDGs that relate to marine and water issues. The Meeting agreed that the SDGs will be used as a framework when updating the BSAP. The Meeting participants also higlighted the cooperation within HELCOM as a good example that has much to give to other regional seas in the world.The outcome of the Meeting – the Ministerial Declaration – forms the concrete framework for the following years’ work for a healthier Baltic Sea. The work will take place within the long tradition of regional HELCOM cooperation, based on best available expertise, and involving all countries and the EU and various sector ministries within countries.The Ministerial Meeting was chaired by HELCOM Chair Ms Marianne Wenning. Representing HELCOM members were Mr Karmenu Vella (Commissioner for the Environment, European Commission), Mr Esben Lunde Larsen (Minister for Environment and Food, Denmark), Mr Siim Kiisler (Minister of the Environment, Estonia), Mr Kimmo Tiilikainen (Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing, Finland), Dr Barbara Hendricks (Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Germany), Mr Kęstutis Navickas (Minister of Environment, Lithuania), Ms Karolina Skog (Minister for the Environment, Sweden), Mr Jānis Eglīts (Vice Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, Latvia), Ms Anna Moskwa (Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation, Poland), and Mr Nuritdin Inamov (Director of the Department for International Cooperation and Board member of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, Russia).The entire Ministerial Declaration is available online at: Twitter hashtag: * * *More information (PDF) (first version 2017 – to be updated 2018)Note for editorsThe 2018 HELCOM Ministerial Meeting will be held on 6 March in Brussels, Belgium, under the EU chairmanship of HELCOM. 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. The outcome of the 2018 Ministerial Meeting is expected to revolve around new actions to meet the Sustainable Development Goals in the Baltic Sea, strengthening implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan by 2021, and adjusting the Baltic Sea Action Plan based on new knowledge and future challenges. More information on the .The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as HELCOM, 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, please contact:Ms Monika Stankiewicz Executive Secretary HELCOM +358 40 840 2471 monika.stankiewicz(at)helcom.fiMs Sara Estlander Communication Coordinator HELCOM +358 40 482 6103 sara.estlander(at)helcom.fi

The Ministers of the Environment and High-Level Representatives of the nine Baltic coastal countries and the European Union, meeting today in Brussels, Belgium, have agreed on new commitments for the Baltic marine environment.

HELCOM to test first pharmaceutical indicator and focus on improving the Marine Protected Area network

The HELCOM State & Conservation group meeting endorses the first HELCOM pharmaceutical indicator for testingImproving the effectiveness of the network of important marine areas in the Baltic Sea tied to global processes and management of human activitiesThe Seventh Meeting of the HELCOM (STATE & CONSERVATION 7-2017) took place in Sopot, Poland 23–27 October. The Working Group is set up to thake a two-pronged approach, linking topics related to monitoring with biodiversity and conservation issues. The key theme of the meeting was the continuing work to update and further improve the holistic . The initial version of the report was published in June 2017 and gives a comprehensive overview of the health of the Baltic Sea, ranging from physical to biological to social and economic aspects. Most of the assessment results in the report are based on indicators, and the meeting agenda included a draft for a new indicator on the drug diclofenac – the first HELCOM indicator for pharmaceuticals. The meeting endorsed the use of this indicator as a pre-core test indicator, meaning it will be included in the updated report using a descriptive approach, as opposed to a quantitative approach based on decided threshold values. The final version of the report, including final results based on 2011–2016 data, will be released in June 2018.Another step forward was the agreement to focus efforts on further improving the HELCOM Marine Protected Area (MPA) network, specifically the necessity for updating the guidance provided by HELCOM on how MPAs are to be designated and managed. Clearer guidelines are needed in order to better link the MPA network to the planning of human activities at sea (often referred to as Marine Spatial Planning) and to current international commitments, as well as to ensure that the network lives up to its full potential.  Current network of HELCOM Marine Protected AreasParallel to the continued work to improve the effectiveness of the MPA network, the work on marine spatial planning and MPAs will take another major step forward, both in a regional and a global context, at a high-level workshop aimed at describing Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs). EBSAs are special areas in the ocean that serve important purposes to support the healthy functioning and the many services that the sea provides (for more background information, see ). The designation of EBSAs in the Baltic Sea is an important step in linking the region to the global network of areas already identified under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UN CBD). The workshop will take place in Helsinki on 19 to 24 February 2018, hosted by Finland and convened by the Secretariat of the UN CBD in cooperation with HELCOM.The meeting also updated HELCOM Recommendation 19/3 on ‘The Manual for the Marine Monitoring in the Combine Programme of HELCOM’ and HELCOM Recommendation 24/10 ‘Implementation of Integrated Marine and Coastal Management of Human Activities in the Baltic Sea Area’, both of which will be submitted to HELCOM Heads of Delegation 53-2017 in December for a decision.. All documents will be public after the meeting.* * *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.HELCOM covers the monitoring and assessment functions as well as nature conservation and biodiversity protection in HELCOM. The group works across the monitoring-indicators-assessment chain for the coordinated development of HELCOM thematic assessment tools, as well as for a coherent holistic assessment of the ecosystems health.* * * For more information, please contact:Jannica Haldin Professional Secretary HELCOM Tel. +358 40 485 5905 E-mail: jannica.haldin(at)helcom.fi ​

HELCOM State & Conservation group meeting endorses the first HELCOM pharmaceutical indicator for testing – Improving the effectiveness of the network of important marine areas in the Baltic Sea tied to global processes and management of human activities

First version of the HELCOM ‘State of the Baltic Sea’ report is now available

​The comprehensive HELCOM overview of the state of the Baltic Sea follows up on the status of the Baltic Sea environment, saying that management is improving but that the environmental objectives of the Baltic Sea Action Plan will not be reached in time.The ‘State of the Baltic Sea’ assessment, now made available as a first version for consideration, is an outcome of a large scale collaboration among Baltic Sea countries. It provides a scientific evaluation of the environmental status of the Baltic Sea during 2011-2015, and assesses pressures and impacts from human activities, as well as social and economic dimensions, in the entire Baltic Sea.The summary report, and its underlying material, can be accessed via its . The next step will be to subject it to a regional consultation carried out by HELCOM. The final report will be published by June 2018, and will include one additional year of monitoring data.The assessment is based on an extensive set of materials, including the HELCOM core indicators and Baltic-wide maps, covering aspects such as eutrophication, contamination, marine litter, underwater noise, fishing, hunting, and effects of habitat loss. The assessment of benthic and pelagic habitats, fish, marine mammals, and birds indicate that biodiversity status is inadequate for most assessed species, and that continued efforts to support biodiversity are of key importance.The results are made available for use in analysing progress in relation to the goals of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan, namely: to achieve a good environmental status in the Baltic Sea. They will also provide background for negotiations in the next HELCOM Ministerial Meeting to take place on 6 March 2018 in Brussels under the European Union chairmanship of HELCOM.Additionally, the assessment results are available for national consultation in EU Member states, forming a regional umbrella report for reporting under the EU Marine Strategy Framework directive. The assessment can also provide a baseline for future work to reach UN Sustainable Development Goals.The ‘State of the Baltic Sea’ is a regionally coordinated assessment and a major undertaking of all Baltic Sea countries as well as the European Union. The results are the outcome of the committed work of HELCOM experts and national representatives, whom have developed and worked to improve a regionally agreed on monitoring and assessment system, used as a shared knowledge base for developing Baltic Sea environmental management.The results and materials underlying the assessment can be accessed at .* * *Note for editors:The State of the Baltic Sea assessment is carried out by the  (2014–18). The project develops common concepts and methods for the status assessment based on core indicators, creates and tests the tools for aggregated results, and performs assessments at a regional scale. The development of the assessment methods is supported by other projects, including a number of EU-co-financed projects.HELCOM is an intergovernmental organization made up of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union. Founded in 1974, its primary aims as a governing body are to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution, as well as to ensure safe maritime navigation. The official name of HELCOM is the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission; it is the governing body of the .HELCOM Heads of Delegation, nominated by the Contracting Parties to the Helsinki Convention, which are the nine Baltic coastal states as well as the EU, usually meet twice a year. The highest decision-making body of HELCOM, the Annual Meeting, convenes usually in March. Approximately every three years the Commission meets at .* * *For more information, please contact:Lena BergströmHOLAS II Project CoordinatorHELCOME-mail: lena.bergstrom(at)helcom.fiTel: +358 40 080 3428Jannica HaldinProfessional Secretary for Gear and State and Conservation groupsHELCOME-mail: jannica.haldin(at)helcom.fiTel: +358 40 485 5905​​

The comprehensive HELCOM overview of the state of the Baltic Sea follows up on the status of the Baltic Sea environment, saying that management is improving but that the environmental objectives of the Baltic Sea Action Plan will not be reached in time.

Upcoming State of the Baltic Sea report to be in focus in the 2018 HELCOM Ministerial Meeting

The First version of the HELCOM State of the Baltic Sea report – June 2017 was approved by the 52nd Meeting of the HELCOM Heads of Delegation held on 20-21 June 2017 in Brussels. The 52nd Meeting of the HELCOM Heads of Delegation was hosted by the European Union in Palais d’Egmont, Brussels.The ‘State of the Baltic Sea’ report provides a scientific evaluation of the environmental status of the Baltic Sea during 2011-2015 from a holistic perspective. Pressures and impacts from human activities, as well as social and economic dimensions in the whole Baltic Sea are also assessed. The first results of the status report including the underlying data will be published on a dedicated website in a few weeks’ time. The results will be subject to a regional consultation to be carried out in 2017 by HELCOM. The report will be updated and finalized by June 2018, and the final report will include one additional year of monitoring data.The ‘State of the Baltic Sea’ is a regionally coordinated assessment and a major undertaking of all Baltic Sea countries as well as the European Union, the ten HELCOM members. The assessment will be used to analyse the progress for achieving good environmental status in relation to the goals of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan.The results will provide background for negotiations in the next HELCOM Ministerial Meeting to take place on 6 March 2018 in Brussels under the European Union chairmanship of HELCOM. The HELCOM Heads of Delegation meeting continued preparations for the HELCOM Ministerial Meeting, which will aim at strengthening the implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan until 2021, and to embark on the process of updating the Action Plan until 2030, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.The Heads of Delegation also agreed on the final steps needed to publish the HELCOM Maritime Assessment 2017. The comprehensive publication and the underlying datasets, covering maritime transportation but also other topics such as fisheries, aquaculture, and off shore wind energy, will be released early in the autumn.Another important decision by the Heads of Delegation was to approve the publication of the HELCOM core indicator of input of nutrients to the sea, the first product of the sixth HELCOM Pollution Load Compilation project (PLC-6) launched in 2013. HELCOM data on air- and waterborne inputs of nutrients cover the period from 1995 to 2014. The latest assessment revealed substantial progress towards fulfilling the target of maximum allowable input values identified by HELCOM. In the last three-year assessment (2012-2014) the average normalized input of nitrogen was reduced by 13% and phosphorus by 19% compared with the reference period (1997-2003). The input of nitrogen was below the maximum allowable input (MAI) in the Kattegat, Danish Straits and Bothnian Sea, while for phosphorus MAI was fulfilled in the Kattegat only. The indicator and assessment dataset will be published within a week on the .The Meeting was chaired by HELCOM Chair Ms Marianne Wenning, DG Environment, European Union., where all HOD 52-2017 meeting documents can be found.************Note for editorsThe State of the Baltic Sea assessment is worked on by the (2014–18), which develops common concepts and methods for the status assessment based on core indicators, creates and tests the tools for aggregated results and, finally, performs assessments at a regional scale. The development of the assessment methods is supported by other projects, including a number of EU-co-financed projects.HELCOM is an intergovernmental organization made up of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union. Founded in 1974, its primary aims as a governing body are to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution, as well as to ensure safe maritime navigation. The official name of HELCOM is the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission; it is the governing body of the .HELCOM Heads of Delegation, nominated by the Contracting Parties to the Helsinki Convention, which are the nine Baltic coastal states as well as the EU, usually meet twice a year. The highest decision-making body of HELCOM, Annual Meeting, convenes usually in March. Approximately every three years the Commission meets at . For more information, please contact:Lena Bergström HOLAS II Project CoordinatorHELCOMlena.bergstrom(at)helcom.fiTel: +358 40 080 3428Skype: helcom71

The First version of the HELCOM State of the Baltic Sea report – June 2017 was approved by the 52nd Meeting of the HELCOM Heads of Delegation held on 20-21 June 2017 in Brussels.

HELCOM to develop regional economic and social analyses on the marine environment

​HELCOM members are promoting further regional
development of economic and social analyses (ESA) to show the linkages between
society and the marine environment, with focus on how the Baltic Sea
contributes to human well-being and national economies. These analyses provide
tools for examining the economic impacts from the use of marine waters, and the
benefits of achieving a healthy marine ecosystem. HELCOM has established an expert network on economic
and social analyses, which will enhance regional cooperation on the economic
and social aspects of the Baltic Sea marine environment. The expert network
serves as a platform for discussion and information exchange on the ongoing and
planned work and develops and agrees on regional approaches for the economic
and social analyses, according to a HELCOM Roadmap on economic and social
analyses. The analyses are needed for the implementation of the Baltic Sea
Action Plan, as well as Marine Strategy Framework Directive for the EU
countries in the region. Overall, the analyses will contribute to
ecosystem-based marine management, marine spatial planning, pollution
mitigation, and integration and implementation of various policies.Results
on the economic contribution from marine activities in the Baltic Sea and on the
economic damages to citizens from the deterioration of the marine environment
will be included in HELCOM’s ‘State of the Baltic Sea’ report, to be published
in June 2017.  HELCOM and the BONUS BALTICAPP research project are
organizing a in Stockholm 29-30 March, with economic and social
analyses of the marine environment as one of the main themes. The workshop will
present latest results on the contribution from the use of marine waters to the
economy, the losses in citizens’ well-being from the deterioration of the
marine environment, and marine ecosystem services, such as recreation. The
workshop will discuss challenges, gaps of knowledge and solutions in providing
science-based information based for the implementation of marine policies.Further information on the work on economic and social
analyses can be found on the .More information about the BONUS BALTICAPP project can
be found on the .***Note for editors
HELCOM is one of the Regional Sea Conventions and
Action Plans around the world, working for healthy oceans and sustainable us of
marine resources. HELCOM consists 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. The BONUS BALTICAPP project (Wellbeing from the Baltic
Sea – applications combining natural science and economics) uses state-of-the-art
modelling tools and data to identify strategies to safeguard ecosystem services
provided by the Baltic Sea.***For more information, please contact:Heini Ahtiainen
Project Researcher
HELCOM
Tel. +358
40 621 3612
Skype: heini_ahtiainen
Email: Heini.Ahtiainen(at)helcom.fi

HELCOM members are promoting further regional development of economic and social analyses (ESA) to show the linkages between society and the marine environment, with focus on how the Baltic Sea contributes to human well-being and national economies.

Governments to step up the regional efforts to implement ocean-related UN Sustainable Development Goals in the Baltic Sea

The high-level representatives of the Baltic Sea countries and EU discussed a common approach to reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Baltic Sea region, in a held on 28 February 2017 in Helsinki. HELCOM members decided to coordinate the regional implementation of ocean-related SDGs in the Baltic Sea using the HELCOM platform.High-level represenatives: (back row from left) Mindaugas Gudas, Lithuania; Iveta Teibe, Latvia; Helge Wendenburg, Germany; Per Ängquist, Swden; Harry Liiv, Estonia; Vladimir Ivlev, Russia; (front row from left) Monika Stankiewicz, HELCOM; Mariusz Gajda, Poland; Marianne Wenning, HELCOM; Lisbet Ølgaard, Denmark; Hannele Pokka; Finland; Joanna Drake, European UnionThe delegates committed to strengthening the implementation of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan, to achieve a Baltic Sea in good environmental status, as a milestone to fulfil the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Further, renewing the Baltic Sea Action Plan was widely supported, to incorporate a longer term perspective and jointly address identified gaps and emerging issues. More specifically, the high-level representatives saw the need to speed up the implementation of the marine litter regional action plan, continue the battle against eutrophication, especially to cut inputs of phosphorus, and better incorporate the issue of adaptation to climate change in HELCOM work. The countries will continue the efforts to eliminate pollution hot spots and will also ensure close cooperation on any maritime spatial planning in the Baltic Sea area. Further, HELCOM has been tasked to continue supporting more sustainable agricultural practices and ecosystem-related fishery measures, and promote further regional development of social and economic analyses in support of SDGs. Furthermore, the , to be released in June 2017, is to serve as the baseline scenario for SDG implementation.The HELCOM members concluded that setting up new HELCOM priorities and targets until 2030 will be guided by the SDGs, and expressed willingness to advance partnerships with sectorial bodies as well as to boost local level action. The Baltic Sea high-level meeting was held in advance of the UN Conference “Our oceans, our future: partnering for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14” to be held on 5-7 June 2017 in New York, co-organized by Sweden and Fiji.The high-level segment starts preparatory process for the Ministerial Meeting in 2018 under the EU Chairmanship of HELCOM.The document adopted by the meeting can be found on the .>* * * Note for editors HELCOM is one of the Regional Sea Conventions and Action Plans around the world, working for healthy oceans and sustainable us of marine resources. HELCOM consists 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:Susanna Kaasinen Agri-Environment Coordinator HELCOM Tel. +358 40 536 5819 Skype: helcom85 Email: susanna.kaasinen(at)helcom.fi ​

The high-level representatives of the Baltic Sea countries and EU discussed a common approach to reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Baltic Sea region, in a HELCOM meeting held on 28 February 2017.

Baltic environment in focus of international forum held in Russia

​​​​​​The annual Intern​ational Environmental Forum “Baltic Sea Day” will be held for the 18th time on 22-23 of March 2017 in St. Petersburg, RussiaUN targets, Nord Stream 2 and Krasnyi Bor toxic waste landfill among the topics  he roundtables of the XVIII International Environmental Forum “”, held on 22-23 March 2017 in St. Petersburg, Russia, will cover global and regional challenges as well as implementation of environmental projects and programs in the light of the EU Chairmanship in HELCOM.  This year, the event is a part of the frame of the Year of Ecology in Russia and expected to attract, as usual, a high number of participants representing a wide range of experts, authorities and the general public as well as high level speakers tate of the Baltic Sea report – or, HOLAS II – and its forthcoming results mid-2017 will be one topic of the Forum roundtables.The agenda of the Forum, based on the proposals by key stakeholders, reflects the latest issues concerning the Baltic Sea environment and current regional activities assuring good environmental status of the Sea and environmental safety in the region. he agenda includes several round tables devoted e.g. to the following topics: United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan, other strategies etc. State of the Baltic Sea report (full title: Second Holistic Assessment of the Environmental Health of the Baltic Sea): HELCOM projects, trilateral cooperation for the Gulf of FinlandNord Stream 2Remediation of the toxic waste landfill Krasnyi BorMaritime traffic, agriculture, marine litter> The event is included in the list of activities of the Marine Board of St. Petersburg and activities of St. Petersburg City, being part of the 2017 Year of Ecology in Russia. As is the tradition, the Forum is supported by HELCOM countries and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation etailed information including a draft agenda and other practicalities will be made updated at the website of the organizers () articipation is free of charge. or additional information and suggestions please contact:Ms. Natalia BobylevaTel: +7 (812) 470-6012E-mail:  Mr. Dmitry Frank-KamenetskyProfessional Secretary, HELCOMTel: +358 40 630 9933E-mail: dmitry.frank-kamenetsky(at)helcom.f​ * * * 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.​​​​

The annual International Environmental Forum “Baltic Sea Day” will be held for the 18th time on 22-23 of March 2017 in St. Petersburg, Russia.