Time is for action! And action should be the code word among all countries, governments, littoral regions, cities, municipalities, business communities and NGOs around the Baltic Sea. After a long period of time of identifying the problems, the root causes and the needed strategies time is now for implementing recommendations and policy actions for saving the Baltic Sea – one of the most polluted seas in the world.
Finnish President Tarja Halonen, Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen and the NGO Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG) have taken the initiative to host the Baltic Sea Action Summit (BSAS) 10 February 2010 in Helsinki. All participants – private companies, business leaders or NGOs – have made a commitment to take concrete actions to restore the status of the Baltic Sea. BDF has also made a commitment to the process and encourages others to do the same.
BDF will contribute to keeping water issues high on the regional agenda. BDF will take up these issues again at the BDF Summit 1-2 June in Vilnius and offer a platform for continuing the work and the process after the Baltic Sea Action Summit in Helsinki. Thereby BDF will continue its cooperation with BSAS that started at the 2009 BDF Summit in Stockholm.
The Region is well prepared to move into a higher gear with the adoption of the EU Strategy for Baltic Sea Region in October 2009. The Strategy devotes a separate chapter to water, building on the work of the Helcom Action Plan for the Baltic Sea. Better financing of projects is needed and hopefully the EU funds can be set aside to this important issue.
BDF is not least satisfied to contribute to the Finnish initiatives given the fact that Tarja Halonen received the Swedbank Baltic Sea Award at the BDF Summit in Copenhagen-Malmö in 2008. She has made a lifelong commitment to making the Region stronger, better and sustainable. Mr. Björn Carlson was the award winner at the 9th Annual Baltic Development Forum Summit in Tallinn. Mr. Carlson is the founder of Baltic Sea 2020 which also aims at improving the environment of the Baltic Sea over the coming decade.