Race For The Baltic submitted a written statement at the HELCOM Ministerial Meeting 2018 in Brussels on 6 March, together with KIMO (Local Authorities International Environmental Organisation).

As HELCOM now works to intensify efforts and pursue stronger follow-through on the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP), in order to reach regional goals and fulfil the Agenda 2030, Race For The Baltic underscored the involvement of local stakeholders as fundamental to achieving concomitant sustainable economic growth and good environmental status in the Baltic Sea.

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Race For The Baltic’s oral statement to the meeting highlighted that opportunities can be captured for the region by restoring the Baltic Sea through the engagement of local authorities with the broader business community of entrepreneurs, investors and solution providers, and other actors from science, networks and NGOs.

“There are win-win situations and  great potential for innovation and sustainable economic growth where solutions are circular, digital, scalable – in short a sustainable blue economy is achievable, and we ask HELCOM to support and join these cross-sectoral efforts,” stated Marc Klaus, Director of the Baltic Sea Accelerator Programme at Race For The Baltic, when invited to speak at the Meeting

Present at the meeting were the Delegations from the Contracting Parties, including the Ministers of the Environment from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden, as well as the European Union and HELCOM Observers.

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Race For The Baltic and KIMO presented recommendations to HELCOM as concrete ways to support and facilitate the crucial work of municipalities . These key recommendations drew on conclusions from a pilot project Baltic Sea Pioneers for better Pollution Monitoring and Reporting, led by SIWI Swedish Water House, in partnership with Race for the Baltic and The Action Platform for Source-to-Sea Management (S2S platform).  Also instrumental to the recommendations were feedback from ongoing consultations with the 180 municipalities and organisations which KIMO International represents. A full list of the recommendations presented to HELCOM can be found here.

Attending the HELCOM Ministerial Meeting 2018 was a landmark occasion for Race For The Baltic, following on from the organisation’s attendance at the previous Ministerial Meeting in Copenhagen 6 years ago. In 2013, Niklas Zennström – founder of Zennström Philanthropies and Race For The Baltic – presented the signatures of 27,000 people from around the Baltic Sea, who had signed a petition to improve the environmental situation of the Baltic.