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Big plans, little action

August 12, 2010

Prior to the HELCOM ministerial meeting in Moscow in May this year, the WWF commissioned Gaia, a consultancy, to assess the progress on the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP), adopted in November 2007. The Action Plan identifies more than 100 actions that the HELCOM members should implement over a ten-year period. Member states agreed to present National Implementation Programmes (NIPs) prior to the Moscow meeting and aim to evaluate the effectiveness of these by 2013.   

WWF’s intention was to examine the NIPs in order to evaluate the implementation progress. By 14 May, however, only two countries had completed their NIPs, Sweden a complete version and Finland a draft, the remaining seven countries (Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Russia) had only partly finished theirs. 

The report, which concerns on the status of the implementation of the Action Plan and not on the actions as such, is optimistic about the general progress of BSAP implementation but more critical when it comes to status of specific areas of the BSAP, many lagging behind schedule. It is also critical about the lack of sufficient  monitoring, making it hard for individual stakeholders to keep track of their progress.

As the Sea of Inventions project is using the BSAP to identify problem areas for which to find technical solutions, this makes very interesting reading. Our aim is to provide information on interesting technology that can be used to improve the Baltic Sea environment. Well aware that political action is essential in order achieve any significant improvement of the state of the sea, we still believe that technology will be of vital importance as a complement to more progressive environmental policies. And given the obvious synergies between innovation and new environmental challenges both inventors and friends of the Baltic Sea can only hope that politicians get their act together and start showing that their promises are more than just hot air.

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