Baltic Sea Action Summit in Helsinki a success

Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Office of the President of the Republic of Finland
Prime Minister’s Office
Baltic Sea Action Group

Press Release 37/2010
10 February, 2010

PM Matti Vanhanen, President Tarja Halonen and the Chairman Ilkka Herlin arrive at BSAS. Photo: Petri Krook. PM Matti Vanhanen, President Tarja Halonen and the Chairman Ilkka Herlin arrive at BSAS. Photo: Petri Krook.

The Baltic Sea Action Summit that was held in Helsinki on Wednesday, 10 February was a success in the opinion of the arrangers. The summit attracted a large and high-level group of participants to Finlandia Hall to tell about their commitments to protect the Baltic Sea. All in all around 500 persons were on hand for the event.

The summit was hosted by President of the Republic Tarja Halonen, Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen and Mr Ilkka Herlin, the Chairman of the Baltic Sea Action Group, who together convened the summit. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs took charge of preparations and arrangements.

The summit was attended by heads of state and government and ministers from eleven countries around the Baltic Sea. Participants included King Carl XVI Gustaf and Minister of the Environment Andreas Carlgren of Sweden, President Valdis Zatlers of Latvia, President Dalia Grybauskaité of Lithuania, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of Norway, Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen of Denmark, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip of Estonia, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of Russia, Deputy Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak of Poland, Federal Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection Ilse Aigner of Germany, Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Vitali Kulik of Belarus and EU Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn.

Numerous NGOs and businesses also took part in the summit and made commitments to protect the Baltic Sea. This was the first time such a summit focusing on concrete commitments and bringing together the private and public sectors has been arranged in Finland.

About 140 commitments were made at the summit, which is a considerable number. The purpose of all the commitments is to promote the protection of the Baltic Sea and to improve its ecological condition. The commitments are concrete and the Baltic Sea Action Group will monitor their implementation.

"I am very glad that the Baltic Sea countries were represented at such a high level. The participation of NGOs and businesses on such a broad front also made this an entirely new type of summit. All actors are needed in this cooperation. I thank the participants for all the commitments that were made to protect the Baltic environment. We don't expect miracles but we do expect hard work, of which this summit was a demonstration," said President of the Republic Tarja Halonen.

"This was an important step forward in protecting the Baltic Sea. Our common sea needs action and not just talk. Hopefully as many people as possible will be encouraged by this summit's example and make a commitment to protect the Baltic Sea in their own activities. In the future paying attention to environmental values will also be a competition edge for businesses," noted Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen.

"Now promises have been made and measures must be taken to fulfil them. We will go on working and monitor the situation constantly, since protecting the Baltic Sea is a continuing process," emphasized Mr Ilkka Herlin, the Chairman of the Baltic Sea Action Group.

More information: Head of Press Relations Eila Nevalainen, Office of the President of the Republic, tel. +358 40 350 3830, Head of Communications Mikko Norros, Prime Minister's Office, tel. +358 40 547 6280, BSAS Content Director Saara Kankaanrinta, tel. +358 50 545 0323, BSAS Secretary General Jari Luoto, tel. +358 40 545 2524

 Photo: MFA/Eero Kuosmanen