HELCOM shares insight on cross-sectoral cooperation to reach the SDGs in the Baltic Sea
HELCOM says it shared its experience on developing and implementing policies for ocean governance at the regional level during the Second Meeting of the Sustainable Ocean Initiative (SOI) Global Dialogue with Regional Seas Organizations and Regional Fishery Bodies. Convened by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in collaboration with the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea, the event took place in Seoul from 10 to 13 April 2018.
The goal of the SOI is to facilitate dialogue to exchange experiences and to identify options and opportunities to enhance cross-sectoral collaboration among Regional Seas Organizations and Regional Fisheries Bodies, with a view to support their key role in facilitating achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the relevant Sustainable Development Goals.
At the meeting in Seoul, HELCOM shared its knowledge on ecosystem-based maritime spatial planning and harmonized implementation of the IMO MARPOL Convention to limit discharges of sewage and air emissions from ships.
Earlier in March at the HELCOM Ministerial Meeting held in Brussels, the HELCOM Ministers already decided to update the Baltic Sea Action Plan in order to step up efforts to reach the SDGs and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets in the Baltic Sea. As demonstrated yet again at this second SOI meeting, contributions by regional stakeholders such as fisheries bodies will be key to achieving these goals.
The latest HELCOM State of the Baltic Sea assessment, to be finalized in June this year, shows that most fish, birds and marine mammal populations, as well as benthic and pelagic habitats of the Baltic Sea are still not in a healthy state.
In this context, the Baltic Sea countries and the EU earlier agreed to strengthen coordination and cooperation between HELCOM and fishery bodies active in the Baltic Sea region – in particular BALTFISH – and the Baltic Sea Advisory Council, to seek synergies with the work carried out by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). Coherence between marine and fisheries management measures is needed to reach the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the relevant UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG 14 on oceans and seas.
The SOI meeting is a follow up on the first meeting held in 2016, with this year's event focusing on concrete ways to enhance cooperation to improve the overall condition of marine biodiversity. The outcome of the SOI meeting is expected to include a roadmap to enhance cross-sectoral cooperation, synergies for effective delivery and inter-regional sharing of expertise through the SOI Global Dialogue.