International efforts to protect the Baltic Sea

Baltic Sea underwater

On 20 October 2021, a ministerial conference organised by the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission – Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) was held in Lübeck, Germany.

The meeting was attended by high-level representatives of Poland, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia and the European Union. Poland was represented by the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Marek Gróbarczyk.

The main theme of the conference was actions aimed at restoring the good environmental status of the Baltic Sea, which will be the focus of the work of the Helsinki Commission in the coming years.

During his speech, Minister Marek Gróbarczyk said that international cooperation in the Baltic Sea region for the protection of the marine environment is constantly topical and necessary.

– Pollution and other forms of degradation of the marine environment know no borders and sunken hazardous objects, in particular wrecks and conventional and chemical weapons, continue to pose a serious threat to the marine environment. The Baltic Sea is our common good, its protection therefore requires a comprehensive ecosystem approach,” said Deputy Infrastructure Minister Marek Gróbarczyk.

The risk posed by hazardous objects lying on the bottom of the Baltic is currently being assessed in Poland. The result of the analyses will be the development of an action plan, which will make it possible to neutralise the threats. This does not change the fact that at the same time coordinated, harmonised regional actions are also needed. Joint initiatives under HELCOM may certainly contribute to working out appropriate solutions on the scale of the whole Baltic Sea.

Minister Gróbarczyk proposed that within the framework of implementing the objectives and tasks of the updated Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) we should jointly respond to the problems of the Baltic Sea, among which the issues of hazardous objects lying on the seabed should certainly be taken into account.

The event culminated in the signing of the Ministerial Declaration and the adoption of the updated Baltic Sea Action Plan. The ministerial declaration signals the most important issues that remain in the circle of interest of HELCOM (eutrophication, hazardous substances, biodiversity). It also underlines the need to implement the updated BSAP, which has been developed on the basis of the latest scientific knowledge and constitutes HELCOM’s strategic programme to achieve good environmental status of the Baltic Sea within the horizon of the next decade. The Declaration also highlights the role of HELCOM in the regional and global context of marine and ocean protection.



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