Will the mysterious summit save the Baltic Sea?

Onsdag, 10. Februari 2010     0 kommentti(a)
Mia Pihlajamäki
forskare - projektet PROBALT
Internationell miljö- och naturresurspolitik forsknigsprogram

In May 2009, the Baltic Sea Action Group summoned the heads of the states as well as corporations, governmental and non-governmental organisations to commit to concrete actions in order to save the Baltic Sea. The aim is to get the private and public sectors to work towards a common goal. Today those who have made a commitment gather together in the Finlandia Hall in an event titled the Baltic Sea Action Summit.

The event does not aim to produce a new international agreement; instead it reveals the commitments made. Only those actors who have made a commitment are allowed to participate in the event. Those, who have not, can follow an online broadcast at Yle Areena (http://areena.yle.fi/).

Perhaps because the event is first of a kind, there has not been a very clear understanding of its nature. What can we expect? In the worst case we are going to hear pretty promises to save the Baltic Sea without any concrete actions to fulfil those promises. Let us hope that this is not the case, because there is much potential in the rationale behind the summit: instead of talk we need actions.

In addition to the commitments made, the event brings very important visibility for the Baltic Sea; for one day we are having some of the most powerful decision-makers around the Baltic Sea in the same room, discussing about saving the sea. This is a rather unique situation and therefore yesterday, the Academy of Finland brought together scientists and representatives from governments, the European Commission and NGOs in order to produce a clear and concise message for the participants of the summit. The message in short is: we know what needs to be done - it is time to act!

I look forward to hearing what kind of commitments have been made and, more so, seeing what happens after the summit. How do we follow the fulfilment of the commitments and do we finally have what is most needed, that is a long-term political commitment to save the Baltic Sea?

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