A high-profile Baltic Sea effort

The Baltic Sea is a patient with multiple issues. The upcoming Baltic Sea Action Summit (BSAS) will speed up the practical implementation of research information and action plans.

Baltic Sea

Eutrophication is the Baltic Sea's largest problem, but the waters are also prone to sudden threats. Janne Hukkinen, Professor of Environmental Policy, says that the connectivity of the Baltic Sea makes it vulnerable. Mistakes can result in a multiplier effect.

“The Vuosaari harbour and the Natura area are neighbours, and oil tankers and passenger boats ply side by side. The Baltic Sea also has several difficult overlaps, such as bird nesting and the schedules of container ships.“

Time to act

The BSAS is being arranged by the Baltic Sea Action Group foundation in cooperation with the state. In Helsinki, the BSAS will bring together decision-makers from the Baltic Sea countries, and a large number of representatives from pioneering companies and civic organisations.

Saara Kankaanrinta, spokesperson for the foundation, says that now is the time to act. The summit agenda does not include any panel discussions, and the aim is not to produce a joint declaration or any other political paper. Instead, all the participants will make a promise related to their own field, that is, a promise to do something concrete for the benefit of the Baltic Sea.

“A suitable way to become involved has been found for everyone from the tax administration to an individual musician. The Baltic Sea can best be supported through one's own personal expertise. By only collecting money, we would not be able to achieve a similar long-term impact.”

Governmental commitments will be announced at the summit. The University of Helsinki is committed to launching a multidisciplinary education and research programme on the Baltic Sea. The university is also involved in the joint commitment regarding the use of biocarbon and the role of agriculture with respect to the strain on the water system.

The university will be represented at the summit by Professor Sakari Kuikka. He will talk about the results of the summit immediately after it at an open meeting arranged by the Helsinki University Centre for Environment (HENVI). The "Itämeri – tieteestä toimintaa" (the Baltic Sea – turning science into action) campaign will be revealed at the same time.

Baltic Sea Action Summit -website » »

Text and photo: Kirsikka Mattila
3.2.2010
www.helsinki.fi/digitalcommunications


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