GLOBE Germany legislators review implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan
As a key European economy with a Baltic coast, Germany is interested in protecting the Baltic Sea. On 7 October, GLOBE Germany hosted a workshop in the Bundestag to review progress made.
The the parliamentary workshop “Challenge Baltic Sea: Marine Environmental Protection” was co-chaired by Hon. Andreas Jung MdB, GLOBE Germany President, and by Hon. Bärbel Höhn MdB, President of the Environment Committee of the Bundestag. The session was attended by GLOBE Germany Members and other MPs from coastal constituencies from all the main parties represented at the Bundestag.
The Baltic Sea provides a habitat to 85 million people and numerous wildlife species in Northern Europe. However, its nature as a shallow closed sea with a vast international catchment area makes it a fragile environment under increasing pressure due to human activity. Coastal communities around it are also particularly affected by the consequences of global warming.
The workshop reviewed the state of progress in the implementation of the international Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) of 2007, whose objective is a good environmental status for the Baltic Sea by 2020, and Germany's delivery on its commitments under the BSAP. The workshop was attended by MPs from coastal Baltic constituencies from all the main parties represented in the Bundestag, and received input from experts, civil society and delegates from the Federal and regional governments.
Legislators took note of the message from experts and civil society delegates that progress towards the 2020 objective of a healthy Baltic Sea is being too slow, and that fresh political momentum across the region will be needed to deliver it.
Drawing on the policy conclusions of the regional policy seminar hosted by GLOBE Sweden at the Swedish Parliament last May "The Baltic Sea – Implementing Sustainable Economic Development in Cities and Municipalities", the role of innovative business models driving the environmental restoration of the Baltic Sea was a topical focus of the workshop.
Mr Steffen Lüsse from the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Schleswig–Holstein presented the results of the Submariner project, an EU project outlining the road for furthering environmentally friendly as well as economically appealing innovative uses within the Baltic Sea region. Mr Lüsse also presented the policy road map proposed by Submariner recommending necessary policy steps to promote beneficial uses and mitigate against negative impacts, including suggested legal interventions on spatial planning, environmental regulations and economic incentives.
The planned measures of the Federal Government on the issue were presented by Ms Heike Imhoff, Head of Unit responsible for marine environmental protection and international sea law at the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety. Ms Imhoff announced that measures to advance the management of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Germany's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the Baltic Sea would be proposed within the coming months, in fulfillment of the policy commitments laid down in the Contract agreed by the two political parties members of the Government coalition.
After the workshop, Environment Committee President Hon. Bärbel Höhn MdB stated:
"It is clear that we Baltic nations are not on track to win the challenge of restoring the environmental status of the Baltic Sea by 2020. There is difficulty in galvanizing sufficient political support behind this goal across the region. That is why it is all the more necessary that national legislators ensure that the regulatory frameworks we put in place remove perverse incentives and empower as much as possible progressive non-government actors, such as local and regional authorities and the clean technology sector, to contribute to the delivery of a healthy Baltic Sea."