The first day of Baltic Sea Forum in St. Petersburg made it clear that ecological state of the Baltic Sea ranks high in the political agenda of participating countries. High ecological standards are seen as smart economics. The Baltic Sea Action Summit process, started in Helsinki 2010, was praised for its concrete approach and the Baltic Sea Forum in St. Petersburg was thanked as a timely continuation of the process.
The representatives of the Baltic Sea countries were close to unanimous that a lot has been achieved in the BSAS process in a very short time –and that a lot remains to be done. The countries reported on the progress of their Commitments. New concrete Commitments were also made on how to proceed after the two-day summit has passed.
The hosting country of Russia committed to taking care of the waste water treatment in the Leningrad oblast area. The quality of wastewater treatment in the city of St. Petersburg ranks high in the whole Baltic Sea region. The company behind this, Vodokanal of St. Petersburg, made a Commitment to enhance the treatment of various nutrient loads in the Leningrad oblast area. Russian Prime Minister Medvedev stated in the first plenary that the Federation supports this process and promised that 77% of the wastewater in the area will be treated within the next few years.
“We have lobbied the concrete solutions and for the high political level in Russian and Finland for two years. And at the same time we have looked for knowhow and solutions for the challenges from the business sector. The Forum is a tip of the iceberg, a visible part of the work that has been done, but organizing the conference works as an accelerator for the work that has to be done in order to save the Sea”, says Ilkka Herlin, Chairman of the Baltic Sea Action Group.
The second day is expected to bring more tools to continue the work for the Baltic Sea.