HELCOM's (the Helsinki Committee) 18 months of hard work to produce an action plan to save the Baltic Sea from ecological disaster came to an end in Krakow, Poland, on November 15, when ministers of environment met to sign the Baltic Sea Action Plan.
The BSAP represents a new stage in the effort to save the Baltic Sea, and restore its ecological balance by 2121. Although the analysis of the status of the Baltic Sea describes accurately what the problem is, the political will to do the right things is not there. However, there is now an agreed-upon minimum standard for emissions of many of the substances that are so harmful to the marine environment.
The weak action plan has one bright side: I am very glad to see that the chapter of the BSAP on agriculture and eutrophication is very concrete. The other chapters covering the maritime sector, harmful substances and bio-diversity are somewhat unclear as to concrete targets and caps.
However, the proof of the success of the BSAP lies in the implementation. It is my sincere hope that the environment ministers of all the Baltic Sea states will make good use of the BSAP and start immediately to implement the measures it describes. The cost of starting now will be lower than if we wait.
I have the support of parliamentarians from all Baltic Sea states when I urge the ministers of environment to take action now and start implementing the Baltic Sea Action Plan.
Chairman of the Nordic Council Environment Committee, and Former Chairman of the BSPC-Working Group on Eutrophication