Baltic Sea governments get bad grades for marine protection



Posted on 22 August 2007  | 

Stockholm, Sweden – Baltic Sea governments are failing in their efforts to protect and conserve the unique sea, according to a WWF "scorecard" presented at a regional seminar coinciding with the International Baltic Sea Festival.

The scorecard measures and grades the performance of the nine coastal Baltic Sea governments on a number of international and regional agreements in five areas of crucial importance to the Baltic Sea: maritime transport, pollution from hazardous substances, biodiversity protection, fisheries management and eutrophication.

“The results are bad news for the Baltic Sea," said Lasse Gustavsson, CEO of WWF-Sweden.

"Only on the issue of pollution from hazardous substances has any significant progress been made. With respect to delivering on international or regional commitments to address shipping, biodiversity, fisheries and eutrophication, progress is extremely disappointing.”

WWF’s analysis clearly illustrates that the current patchwork of government approaches and regulatory frameworks in and around the Baltic have proved inadequate to meet the challenges faced in the Baltic.

“The Baltic Sea deserves better," Gustavsson continued. "In order to reverse the current negative environmental trends, real leadership, immediate concerted action and a new approach to save the Baltic Sea is urgently needed. Only with strong leadership and commitment from the highest level of governments will we be able to turn the tide.”

To address this current crisis, WWF launched today its Manifesto for the Baltic Sea to draw attention to the current catastrophic state of the sea.

According to the manifesto, future efforts to conserve the sea must include an integrated, legally-binding governance framework for the entire Baltic Sea with a concrete implementation plan secured through political commitment and strong leadership at the highest possible level.

"Fortunately for the Baltic Sea, there are some examples of real leadership by individuals, governments and the private sector," highlighted WWF International Director General James Leape, who bestowed the first-of-its-kind WWF Baltic Sea Leadership Award prizes.

"Today, we honour these leaders for inspiring others, and for demonstrating that it is possible to conserve the Baltic Sea's unique resources."

The award winners include:

• The Federal Republic of Germany for its leadership in designating a significant portion of their Baltic Sea waters as Natura 2000 marine sites, especially in their exclusive economic zone.

Björn Carlson for his leadership and initiative to form the Baltic Sea 2020 Foundation, which stimulates creative interdisciplinary and international collaboration in a variety of areas, intended to result in political, economical and physical measures taken to improve the environment of the Baltic Sea in the coming 10–15 years.

Alfa Laval/Wallenius Water for its leadership in developing a groundbreaking new technology for the treatment of ballast water, one of the insidious problems threatening the Baltic Sea with invasive species. The company's ballast water technology not only provides a groundbreaking solution to the problem of ballast water treatment, but does so without the use of harmful chemicals.

For more information:
Pauli Merriman, Programme Manager
WWF Baltic Ecoregion Programme
Tel. +46 8 624 74 00
E-mail: Pauli.merriman@wwf.se

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