Convention Helsinki Commission
on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic
Sea Area (Helsinki Convention) entered into force in 2000.
The riparian states, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia,
Lithuania, Poland, Sweden and the Russian Federation, are
Contracting Parties. The objectives of the Convention are
and eliminate pollution in order to promote the ecological
restoration of the Baltic Sea and the preservation of its
the precautionary principle;
the use of Best Environmental Practice and Best Available
the polluter-pays principle;
ensure that measurements and calculations are carried out
in a scientifically appropriate manner; and
that the implementation of the Convention does not cause
transboundary pollution in areas outside the Baltic Sea
to reduce ship-generated wastes have also been called for
in Ministerial Decisions and Declarations of the Environment
Ministers of the Baltic Sea States in 1994 and 1998.
According to Annex
I (hazardous substances) to the Convention, Contracting
Parties shall, in their preventive measures, give priority
to substances which are generally recognized as harmful substances.
Oil and petroleum of natural origin are listed among the groups
of hazardous substances. Other Annexes that deal with oil
IV on prevention of pollution from ships Annex
VI on prevention of pollution from offshore activities
VII on Response to pollution incidents.
HELCOM decisions on measures are mainly made as Recommendations
to be implemented by the countries through their respective
national legislation. See Recommendation
19/17 on measures in order to combat pollution from offshore
20/5 on minimum ability to respond to oil spillages in
oil terminals. Recommendation
23/8 on reduction of discharges from oil refineries.
In addition to the obligations laid down in the Convention
and its Annexes, efforts to reduce pollution from shipping
and from ship-generated wastes have also been called for in
Ministerial Decisions and Declarations, most recently in the
Declaration on the safety of shipping (as a follow-up
of the Baltic Carrier incident).
routes will be mapped out: the deep-water route northeast
of Gedser in the Kadetrenden will be extended in January
amendments to existing shipping traffic separation schemes
will be made and new deep-water routes are to be designated
in the Gulf of Finland and off Gotland.
increased use of pilots will promote safe navigation in
the high-risk areas "Route T" the Sound.
surveys of the main shipping routes will be regularly carried
out to avoid groundings by providing ships with most actual
updated information on water depths.
use of the state-of-the-art ECDIS (electronic charts display
and information system) navigational tool will be promoted,
especially on ships whose cargoes pose a particular risk
to the marine environment. Electronic navigational charts
will cover all major shipping routes by the end of 2002,
and be accepted as an equivalent to paper charts.
Automatic identification systems (AIS) monitoring systems
will be installed to monitor shipping. Denmark and Germany
will set up 24-hour AIS monitoring for the Kadetrenden.
also more on HELCOM and shipping:
Environment Protection Commission (Helsinki Commission,
HELCOM) is the governing body. The
work of the Commission is carried out by five subsidiary bodies
and a Programme Implementation Task Force (for the Action
Programme JCP) and complemented by different working groups
Response works to ensure swift national and international
response to maritime pollution incidents; to ensure that
in case of an accident the right equipment is available
and routines are in place to respond immediately and in
co-operation with the neighbouring states; to analyze the
developments in maritime transportation in the Baltic and
investigates possible impacts on the international response
cooperation; and to coordinate the aerial
surveillance of maritime shipping routes to provide
a complete picture of the sea-based pollution in the area
and to reveal suspected polluters. The implementation of
the Baltic Strategy is co-ordinated by HELCOM Response.
Maritime works to prevent any pollution from ships (from
operational discharges as well as accidental pollution).
It works to ensure that adopted regulations are carried
out in an efficient and harmonized way, including close
cooperation in enforcing violations of the regulations;
to identify and promote actions to limit sea-based pollution
while ensuring safe navigation; to promote the adoption
of international regulations at regional and international
Land identifies current and emerging issues related
to point and diffuse sources of land-based pollution, proposes
actions and promotes investment activities in order to reduce
emissions and discharges.
of particularly serious point sources of sewage and waste
water discharge is included in the 20-year Baltic
Sea Joint Comprehensive Environmental Action Programme.
The 1971 Copenhagen
Agreement (revised in 1993) between Denmark, Finland, Iceland,
Norway and Sweden, addresses marine oil pollution. The Contracting
Parties agree to cooperate on surveillance, investigations,
reporting, securing of evidence, combatting and assistance in
combatting, as well as general exchange of information in order
to protect the marine environment from pollution by oil or other
hazardous substances. (Site only available in Swedish. Text
of the agreement available in Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian
Strategy on Port Reception Facilities for Ship-generated Wastes
was adopted in March 1996 by all the countries around the Baltic
Sea as a means of international co-operation to stop discharges
of wastes from ships in the Baltic Sea. It was adopted as HELCOM
and the implementation of the Strategy is co-ordinated through
the framework of HELCOM. The Strategy has been further elaborated
through a number of
March 2001, an additional Recommendation (22/3)
on unified interpretation to ensure harmonized and effective
implementation of the Strategy was adopted.
network of reception facilities for oily wastes, garbage and
sewage will be established in the ports around the Baltic
Sea. These facilities are to be easily accessible and modernly
equipped. The handling of waste from shipping will be monitored
through an international control and surveillance system.
Sanctions in case of violations of the regulations will be
equally severe throughout the region.
also the 2000 EU Directive on
port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo
Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control
of Understanding on Port State Control consists of 19 participating
maritime administrations and covers the waters of the European
coastal states and the North Atlantic basin from North America
to Europe. It aims at eliminating the operation of sub-standard
ships through a harmonized system of port state control. Annually,
over 18,000 inspections take place on board foreign ships in
the Paris MoU ports, ensuring that these ships meet international
safety and environmental standards, and that crew members have
adequate living and working conditions. See, for example, a
list of banned ships (ships that jump detention or fail to call
at an indicated repair yard are banned: these ships will be
refused access to any port in the region of the MoU), as well
as a list with photos of number of rustbucket vessels. Similar
MoUs have been developed for the Mediterranean, Asia (the Tokyo
MoU), Latin America (the Vina del Mar MoU), and Indian Ocean
(Indian Ocean MoU).
Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses
and International Lakes UNECE
UN ECE (Economic Commission for Europe) Convention
of the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and
International Lakes (Water Convention) is intended to strengthen
national measures for the protection and ecologically sound
management of transboundary surface waters and groundwaters.
The Convention obliges Parties to prevent, control and reduce
water pollution from point and non-point sources. It also includes
provisions for monitoring, research and development, consultations,
warning and alarm systems, mutual assistance, institutional
arrangements, and the exchange and protection of information,
as well as public access to information. There is a Protocol
to the Convention on water
and health, and one on
The primary goal of the UN
Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) is to encourage
greater economic cooperation among its member States. It focuses
on economic analysis, environment and human settlements, statistics,
sustainable energy, trade, industry and enterprise development,
timber and transport. UNECE activities include policy analysis,
development of conventions, regulations and standards, and
technical assistance. It has 55 member States, and over 70
international professional organizations and other non-governmental
organizations take part in UNECE activities. The UNECE provides
the Secretariat for several environmental conventions, including
the Convention of the Protection and Use of Transboundary
Watercourses and International Lakes (see more on the UNECE
and Human Settlements Division).
Sea Regional Project
on the Baltic Sea Regional Project
on the Baltic Sea Regional Project
Bank on the Baltic Sea Regional Project
on the Baltic Sea Regional Project
objective of the World BankGEF Baltic Sea Regional Project
(BSRP) is to increase sustainable biological productivity,
improve coastal zone management, and reduce agricultural non-point
source pollution through the introduction of ecosystem-based
approaches for land, coastal and marine environmental management.
The project is based on the Large Marine Ecosystem concept.
It will provide support to integrated land, coastal and open
sea activities to strengthen the local and regional capacity
for achieving sustainable ecosystem management of the Baltic
Sea resources. Activities for the project will be undertaken
in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the Russian Federation,
along the Baltic coastal areas and in the adjacent coastal
and open sea areas. The long-term goal is to provide the three
cooperating international bodies in the Baltic Sea Region
HELCOM, the International Baltic Sea Fisheries Commission,
IBSFC, and the International Council for the Exploration of
the Seas, ICES and the recipient countries, with management
tools for sustainable agricultural, coastal and marine management,
while improving social and economic benefits for the farming,
coastal and fishing communities.
main objective of the Baltic
Ports Organization (BPO) is to improve the competitiveness
of maritime transport in the Baltic region by, inter alia,
good environmental behaviour. The task of the BPO Environment
Committee is to set guidelines for member ports in order to
improve their environmental behaviour (BPO Environmental Policy),
and to follow the international development on environmental
matters. BPO is an observer to the Helsinki Commission.
Clean Baltic (CCB) is a politically independent, non-profit
association. Currently CCB unites 27 member organizations from
Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany,
Denmark, Sweden. Together the member organisation have over
half a million 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 natural resources. CCB works
mainly through means of lobbying, information, environmental
education and other activities to raise public awareness, concrete
co-operation projects in the field, and support to member organizations.
installations and transports" is one of the CCB Priority
Areas, The goal is to protect the Baltic Sea environment from
negative impacts of harmful installations and transports. To
raise public awareness of negative consequences by existing
or planned harmful installations such as: oil terminals and
oil platforms; nuclear power plants; pulp mills; transport infrastructure;
transports (in particular of radioactive materials, oil and
other hazardous substances).
Sea Ports Organization
European Sea Ports
Organization (ESPO) aims at influencing public policy in
the European Union and to achieve a safe, efficient and environmentally
sustainable European port sector, operating as a key element
of a transport industry where free and undistorted market conditions
prevail, as far as practicable. According to ESPO, ports are
concerned about the environment. ESPO believes that maritime
transport is central to the issue of sustainable development
within Europe. The ports support measures to reduce marine pollution
and discourage dumping of waste at sea. See the ESPO Waste
Management Plan For Ship Generated Waste. See
also a compilation (PDF file, 1.5 MB) of presentations and discussions
at the ESPO/IAPH
workshop on port reception facilities for ship-generated waste
and cargo residues (June 2001).
Regional Office for Europe
Office for Europe promotes intergovernmental policy dialogue
and regional cooperation, increases national capacity for environmental
management and response emergencies, raises awareness and enhances
information exchange, and translates global policies into regional