Speakers at a seminar hosted by BDF member Nordic Investment Bank called for concrete projects to be identified for improving the health of the Baltic Sea.
Financing Concrete Actions to Save the Baltic Sea
The seminar “From Source to Sea: Financing Concrete Actions to Save the Baltic Sea”. was organised by BDF member Nordic Investment Bank (NIB), together with the Nordic Environment Finance Coorperation (NEFCO), within the framework of the World Water Week in Stockholm in early September.
During the discussion at the seminar, Harro Pitkänen, Senior Director at NIB, said that the Nordic finance institutions put a lot of hope that the national implementation plans would become a major tool for identifying projects eligible for financing. Furthermore, the identification of project owners is a key for the international financial institutions to successfully channel finance. The national implementation plans give the basis and mark the political will on which to build upon.
Gabriella Lindholm, the Chairperson of the Helsinki Commission, HELCOM, urged the states and organisations involved to start identifying concrete projects. She emphasised the role of the financial institutions in the implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan. In her opinion, it is very positive that the IFIs give increasing attention to the Baltic Sea in their programming, and are now linking their activities to the political processes, hence supporting to the implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan.
Mathias Bergman, Secretary-General at Baltic Sea Action Group, agreed and noted that HELCOM can call for action but cannot enforce it. According to Bergman, there exist abundant opportunities for environmental business in various sectors, for instance, in the waste management.
Professor Daniel J. Conley from Lund University spoke on reducing nutrient discharge into the Baltic Sea. He said that sewage treatment, less fertilisers and manure treatment in agriculture as well as less polluting shipping should be the major priorities, towards which the limited resources should be aimed in dealing with the ecological status of the Baltic Sea.
Karl-Johan Lehtinen from the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation—NEFCO presented the Baltic Sea Action Plan Fund jointly managed by NIB and NEFCO. It is a technical fund aimed at supporting different phases of projects to prepare them for financing.