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  • 2017 April 11 15:33

    Baltic Sea Region goes green – progress check

    BPO says the newly released HELCOM report dedicated to measuring the progress in implementing of sustainable development goals (SDGs) in the Baltic Sea region shows that HELCOM’s work already contributes to reaching these objectives. As a member of the HELCOM Maritime Working Group, the Baltic Ports Organization (BPO) welcomes the fact that efforts of the parties involved in improving the environmental conditions of the Baltic Sea region are showing results.

    The report, marking the ten year anniversary of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan, is an overview of HELCOM activities in relation to the SDG no. 14, i.e. the conservation and sustainable usage of oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. It also highlights how these activities contribute to achieving of other SDGs. The activities mainly revolve around different kinds of pollution, such as nutrients, hazardous substances and marine litter. 

    Among HELCOM’s accomplishments to achieve a healthy marine environment are setting up a nutrient reduction scheme, curbing airborne emission and discharges from shipping, tackling some hazardous substances, piloting ecosystem approach in maritime spatial planning and covering nearly 12% of the Baltic Sea with marine protected areas. 

    IMO’s recent approval of the proposal to limit the NOx emission from ships in the Baltic Sea, issued by the HELCOM countries, can be viewed as a direct contribution to achieving the SDG no. 14. IMO’s decision has been mentioned in the report: “As proposed by HELCOM countries, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has agreed to limit nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from ships’ exhaust gases in the Baltic Sea. A similar proposal from the North Sea countries was also approved in October 2016. These two decisions will create a larger Nitrogen Emission Control Area (NECA) for new ships built in or after 2021. The estimated cut in airborne deposition of nitrogen will be significant. According to estimates, the annual reduction in total nitrogen deposition to the Baltic Sea catchment area will be 22,000 tons as a combined effect of the Baltic and North Seas NECAs and compared to a non-NECA scenario”. 

    The BPO recognizes HELCOM’s role in meeting the SDGs. It is clear that stricter restrictions related to emissions from maritime transport in the Baltic region contributed significantly to achieving said goals. At the same time, the need for the development of port infrastructure and fleet overhauls necessary for meeting these goals has to be kept in mind. The BPO is active in coordinating the efforts of various stakeholders leading to the ultimate objective – a cleaner and sustainable Baltic region.

    The BPO retains its status as an observer at HELCOM and is an active member of the HELCOM Maritime Working Group.




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