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Helsinki Commission – Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission

The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (“HELCOM or Helsinki Commission”) is an international organization governing the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic sea area also known as Helsinki Convention.  It works on protection of the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all forms of pollution by intergovernmental cooperation.  The member organizations of HELCOM are Denmark, Estonia, the European Community, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden.

Its objective is to build healthy Baltic sea environment with different biological elements functioning in balance that result in a sound ecology.  It also supports a wide range of sustainable economic and social activities.  In order to achieve the objectives, the riparian countries jointly pooled their efforts in HELCOM that works as an:

(I) environmental policy maker for Baltic sea area by developing common environmental objectives and actions, (II) an environmental focal point providing information about (i) the state of/trends in the marine environment, (ii) the efficiency of measures to protect it and (iii) common initiatives and positions which can form the basis for decision making in other international fora, (III) a body for developing, according to the specific needs of the Baltic Sea, Recommendations of its own and Recommendations supplementary to measures imposed by other international organizations, (IV) a supervisory body dedicated to ensuring that HELCOM environmental standards are fully implemented by all parties throughout the Baltic Sea and its catchment area; and (V)a coordinating body, ascertaining multilateral response in case of major maritime incidents.

Helsinki Commission meets annually.  It adopts recommendations for the protection of marine environment that should be adopted by the contracting parties to their national programmes and legislation.  The working structure of Helsinki Commission is supported by the Secretariat that comprises of the meetings of Helsinki Commission, Heads of delegation and five main groups.  The five groups are monitoring and assessment group, land based pollution group, nature protection and biodiversity group, maritime group and response group.

Inside Helsinki Commission – Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission