Baltic Sea action plan short on actions



Posted on 15 November 2007  | 
Sunset over the Baltic Sea. Finland.
Sunset over the Baltic Sea. Finland.
© WWF / Paivi RosqvistEnlarge
Krakow, Poland – A plan to achieve a good ecological status of the Baltic Sea lacks strong commitments to protect one of the world’s most threatened marine ecosystems, says WWF.

The Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP), intended to ‘drastically reduce pollution to the Baltic Sea and restore its good ecological status by 2021’ was adopted today by Ministers of the Environment and Senior Government Officials from the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM) Member States and the European Community in Krakow, Poland.

According to WWF, the BSAP plan being celebrated today falls far short of its lofty ambitions.

“Originally, the proposed text of the plan did indeed include many of the ambitious actions and tough decisions that are so urgently needed. Over time, however, the plan has been successively weakened due to political and economic disagreements between HELCOM governments and the European Community,” said Pauli Merriman of WWF.

“Instead, the BSAP is now high on rhetoric but devoid of the very actions and commitments which were the reason the BSAP was originally conceived. What is left is yet another declaration which promises to ‘save the Baltic’ but offers little in the way of binding commitments” says Pauli Merriman of WWF.

According to WWF, the BSAP rarely steps beyond actions which have already been agreed and negotiated in other fora. In some cases, it is even weaker than previously negotiated texts.

In their position statement WWF outlined what they believed to be some of the major failures of the plan and traced these failures to the lack of political will and leadership of the governments.

“Without the support of the highest level of government of each Baltic Sea state the environmental challenges of the Baltic Sea cannot be tackled by the BSAP in a comprehensive and integrated way. Ministers from Denmark, Germany, and Latvia didn’t even attend the meeting, indicating just how prioritized this process is for their governments” said Jochen Lamp from WWF.

Despite the plans overall shortcomings, WWF maintains that the original intention of the BSAP remains valid and urges Prime Ministers/Presidents around the region to take responsibility to initiate a process to actually deliver what was originally promised by their governments – to take dramatic action to save the Baltic.” says Jochen Lamp from WWF.

For further information:

Jochen Lamp, Tel. +49 162 29 144 27, lamp@wwf.de
Pauli Merriman, Tel. +46 70 105 30 54, pauli.merriman@wwf.se

Notes to the editors:

  • HELCOM launched the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) process nearly two years ago and WWF has been an active participant in the ongoing stakeholder process to develop the plan. WWF participated as an official observer to the Ministerial meeting today, in a statement made on behalf of the environmental NGOS, stated its concern that this plan lacks the very tough actions and commitments which are needed to achieve its objectives.
  • WWF’s position statement on the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan is available on: www.panda.org/balticmarinerescue
  • For more detail on the background, goals and objectives of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan please visit: http://www.helcom.fi/BSAP/en_GB/About_BSAP/



Sunset over the Baltic Sea. Finland.
Sunset over the Baltic Sea. Finland.
© WWF / Paivi Rosqvist Enlarge

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