Press release|17 Mar, 2021

Ambition, concrete actions and commitment: key elements to save the Baltic Sea

WWF Pauli Merriman

March 17th 2021 This year will mark a milestone for the protection of the Baltic Sea since the updated Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) [1] will be adopted by HELCOM and its members, with the aim to achieve good environmental status by 2030. Throughout the updated process, Coalition Clean Baltic and WWF have stressed the importance of rigorous action and bold commitment from contracting parties, and presented a joint Shadow Plan [2] with recommended actions across all themes addressed by the current Action Plan.

Today, on the occasion of the 42nd Meeting of the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM), we call once again on all Baltic countries to focus on raising the ambition for the implementation of the updated BSAP. This Plan must include measures set to reduce all relevant pressures on the Baltic Sea and to fulfil the goal of the original BSAP – which unfortunately has not been met by 2021 [3] – assuring our sea and environment the stability and the protection to heal.

“The need and sense of urgency is very clear. Our sea is failing and fish stocks are collapsing. We can make a change and we must make a change but it must start from the same place. Any plan must start with a common understanding that the functioning of the ecosystem must come first. We, citizens of the Baltic Sea countries, have jointly offered such a Plan to the Baltic politicians and countries to implement”, affirms Aija Caune, CCB Chairperson.

Some trends of the marine environment have shown important progress [4] as a result of the measures implemented by the BSAP in the last years. This indicates that we have a valid platform and tools to adopt a revised and action-oriented plan that must include an ecosystem based approach and cross-cutting issues such as climate change.

“Fulfilling the 2030 target of changing the current environmental state of the Baltic Sea is one of the hardest things we collectively must achieve. But the consequences of inaction will be even harder to shoulder,” says Ottilia Thoreson, Director, WWF Baltic Ecoregion Programme. “Given the interconnected nature of climate change, loss of biodiversity, eutrophication, land, air and water pollution, it is essential that these problems are tackled together.”

A future-proof plan is fundamental to tackle the environmental issues in the Baltic Sea, but we need all countries to take their responsibilities and be part of the process, with high ambitions, concrete and effective measures, and regular monitoring of the actions taken.

Therefore, we rely on all HELCOM representatives to take into account our recommendations and keep their commitment to protect and save the Baltic Sea, through the implementation of an updated BSAP that benefits both nature and people.

—END—

Notes to editors:

CCB – Coalition Clean Baltic is a politically independent, non-profit association, which unites 23 member organizations and 1 observer, with over 850,000 members in all countries around the Baltic Sea. The main goal of CCB is to promote the protection and improvement of the Baltic Sea environment and its natural resources. More info at www.ccb.se.

WWF Baltic Ecoregion Programme – is an ambitious and highly influential force working to conserve and restore the health of the Baltic Sea. The programme is comprised of WWF and NGO partners in each of the nine coastal Baltic Sea countries. Representing the region’s largest membership network, the programme’s approach has been to work with public and private sector partners toward ensuring a healthy, productive Baltic Sea through sustainable, ecosystem-based management.

More info at: https://www.wwfbaltic.org/

https://helcom.fi/media/documents/Strategic-plan-for-the-BSAP-update-as-agreed-by-HOD-54-2018_clean-version.pdf

[1] The update process – The plan is currently being updated and negotiated by the ten HELCOM members – the nine Baltic Sea countries plus the European Union – and is due to be adopted at the Ministerial Meeting in October 2021:

[2] Coalition Clean Baltic and WWF BEP – The Baltic Shadow Plan: For the future of the Baltic Sea:

WWF link: https://bit.ly/2uxOqp5

CCB link: https://ccb.se/2020/02/the-baltic-shadow-plan-for-the-future-of-the-baltic-sea/

[3] The objectives of the current BSAP have not been reached and countries have missed the 2021 deadline: https://helcom.fi/baltic-sea-action-plan/bsap-update-2021/

And http://stateofthebalticsea.helcom.fi/

[4] Implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan 2018, HELCOM: https://helcom.fi/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Implementation-of-the-BSAP-2018.pdf

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