In Helsinki the Baltic Sea was given a helping hand when the political leadership – Heads of State and Governments around the Baltic Sea – made the strongest political commitment so far to save the polluted Sea. Focus was on action. Time is for implementation, Matti Vanhanen, the Finnish Prime Minister said: – “tomorrow is the most important day – when we begin to implement our commitments”.
Besides the Prime Minister, President Tarja Halonen and the Baltic Sea Action Group were hosts of this summit, solely dedicated to the common Sea.
As one of the commitment makers, BDF has participated in the Baltic Sea Action Summit (action through commitments) together with company representatives and international organisations who joined the call for commitments to improve the state of the Baltic Sea.
Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, also participated and was committed to action. He highlighted the situation in Kaliningrad and appreciated the support that had been given from neighbouring countries in introducing waste water treatment facilities in Kaliningrad. Dialogue and concrete projects were presented as remedy for the Baltic Sea region and a post Kyoto process for the global arena.
The Summit organizers have received close to 140 commitments from companies, non-governmental organizations and individuals before the Baltic Sea Action Summit. Businesses have promised innovations to recycle nutrients from waste-water or to improve communications between vessels and local authorities to enhance safety at sea.
Environmentalists say countries need to set aside national agendas in favor of the best interests of the Baltic Sea. “What has been obvious over the years is that practically no country speaks with the voice of the Baltic Sea; they all speak with the voice of their own country and national interests,” said Sampsa Vilhunen, head of Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF). After the Baltic Sea Action Summit the countries seem more committed than ever before to protect and listen to the voice of the Sea.
This process will continue on 1-2 of June at the BDF Summit in Vilnius where new commitments will be presented.