The turning point for saving the Baltic Sea is now

The action plan linked to the ecosystem approach which the Helsinki convention (HELCOM) agreed upon in 2007 is at risk. The progress of the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) has slowed down and most of the problems that were identified 40 years ago are still there. The CCB network of environmental NGOs calls upon the 2018 HELCOM Ministerial Meeting to make a strong stand for reaching the targets of the BSAP and for the parties to follow the agreed commitments.

Since 2007 the Helsinki Convention has been aiming at fulfilling its own Baltic Sea Action Plan, based on the ecosystem approach. But despite ambitious goals set on a long original timeline, the progress of the Baltic Sea Action Plan has slowed down and most of the problems identified 40 years ago are still there. At the same time political commitment, willingness and resources to solve those problems have substantially diminished.

-With the current pace of implementation, HELCOM may no longer be seen as a front runner but risk of being seen as a failed cooperation and that is not what we want, says Mikhail Durkin, executive secretary of CCB.

Studies and reports warn for socioeconomic effects of continued ecological deterioration of the Baltic Sea. As representatives of the civil society we express serious concerns on the lack of progress. The ecosystem health of the Baltic Sea remains highly unsatisfactory; in certain cases it has even deteriorated.

Adding to lack of progress and broken promises is the unacceptable trend to question science, and established process. To claim room to negotiate when there is none and openly break established rules is not only highly questionable but also dangerous. The trust and faith in the political level cooperate and to save our environment is at great risk. This is something the environment, our institutions and the foundation of the social contract cannot afford.

-Progress has been made, but often on a local level far from Ministers. The question is how we make the overarching cross sectorial policy successful, to deliver a positive spirit that the goals are achievable, says Mikhail Durkin, executive secretary of CCB.

The good news is that we know what we have to do, we have a plan and now more than before there is a better and stronger framework in the Baltic region, supported by EU policies that acknowledge that deeper coherence and more regional focused work is called for. Both EU fisheries policy and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive need a regional approach, and has funding to back it up. The turning point is here, and the foundations and plan exists. We simply ask our Ministers to be as engaged and committed as we are to save the Baltic Sea.

#IamtheBaltic #saveouroceans #everysecondbreath #wearethebaltic

Read the alternative Civil Society Declaration here

Read the joint NGO letter to Ministers here

Press contact: Executive Secretary Mikhail Durkin, mikhail@ccb.se; +46 73-977 0793