The BSAS-process for saving the Baltic Sea, which has started in Helsinki in 2010, will continue 5.-6. April, when prime ministers from the Baltic Sea countries will gather in St. Petersburg. BSAG is responsible for monitoring commitments of the states and will take part in planning the content of the event. A high-level conference on the Protection of the Environment of the Baltic Sea is also one of the most important events within the presidency of Russia in the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS).
“Improving the state of the Baltic Sea is strategically important for Russians. For businesses, it is also a significant opportunity,” says Ilkka Herlin, Chairman of the Board of BSAG.
Keeping the Baltic Sea on the agenda at a high political level is a necessity, as rescuing the sea is a process that will take many generations. “The BSAG’s role is to put together all parties that have concrete solutions for saving the Baltic Sea,” Herlin underlines.
The problems of the Baltic Sea are complex and solutions are needed on several fronts.
“Saving the sea is, of course, an end in itself but it also provides the countries and businesses in the Baltic Sea region an excellent opportunity to strengthen their image as environmentally advanced actors and develop new solutions, products and technologies for cleaning the sea. It pleases me to notice that a growing number of businesses have already seized the opportunity…” comments Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen. “I find this very encouraging as efficient action to improve the state of the Baltic Sea calls for international cooperation on a wide front.”
In February 2011, the event received a jump start when a Follow-up on the Commitments was organized in Helsinki on the first BSAS anniversary. There, President Tarja Halonen conveyed to the participants Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin’s willingness to organize the next BSAS in Russia.
Putin’s invitation has launched a two-year preparation work of the BSAG for bringing up key issues of the Baltic Sea to the agenda of the event. This work now culminates with the upcoming April event that brings together heads of the Baltic Sea states, companies and environmental experts. It is organized in St. Petersburg by the invitation of the Prime Minister of Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev.
Convokers of the BSAS process, launched in Helsinki, were President Tarja Halonen, Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen and the BSAG. A Baltic Sea Commitment was a ticket to the BSAS. The amount of Commitments announced in 2010, over 140, has three times exceeded the expected number. At present, more than 200 Commitments have been collected. Their progress is being reviewed for the summit in St. Petersburg.