Press releases

Thursday 05 Jun 2003

Towards sustainable development in the Baltic Sea Region

This long looked-for product of many months of intense work of the entire Baltic 21 network delivers comprehensive information regarding sustainable development of the Baltic Sea Region and addresses the three dimensions of sustainable development - environmental, economic and social.

The report will be submitted to the Ministers for Foreign Affairs, the Ministers for the Environment and sector Ministers from the Baltic Sea Region for their decisions, and will also provide the background for the ongoing work aimed at developing Baltic 21 policy and strategy for the future. The latter is supposed to culminate with the Baltic 21 submission to the Prime Ministers’ Summit that will take place in the middle of the next year.

Main findings of the report

The Region’s advancement towards sustainable development

As far as the economic dimension is concerned, the Baltic Sea Region performs quite well as shown by the economic indicators, on average displaying a comparatively wealthy area. However, the differences between the two main groups of countries, i.e. the old democracies and the new democracies, are still vast. Within the social dimension the indicators also confirm the divide between the two groups of countries and additionally display the effects of the economic resession in the beginning of the 90-ies in some countries. When it comes to the environmental dimension, for example, the load of nutrients to the Baltic Sea, a common treasure of the entire region, has shown a consistent decline due to improvements within various sectors of economies of the bordering countries, but the nutrient load is still a serious threat to the Baltic Sea.  The increase in road traffic at the expense of a progressive decline in the use of rail and other public transport indicates an unsustainable trend in the transport sector.

The implementation of the Baltic 21 Actions

The Baltic 21 Report reveals good progress in the work of some Baltic 21 sectors (Education, Energy, Fisheries, Industry and Spatial Planning) as well as work toward sustainable development in cities and communities. Further on, it also discloses difficulties in Baltic 21 sectors such as Agriculture, Tourism and Transport.

As to the conclusions, the report, for example:

  • Praises the multi-stakeholder character of Baltic 21 and its ability to involve sectors in the work for sustainable development, and recommends further involvement of the NGO community and private sector in this work.
  • Stresses that increased commitment, allocation of resources and support of sector ministries are instrumental in the pursuit of sustainable development within each sector.

Formal launching of the report

Baltic 21 will formally launch the report simultaneously in all 11 Baltic 21 Member States. This will be done on 5 June 2003, the World Environment Day. The report is available in a hard copy and will also be presented in a special announcement on the Baltic 21 web site from which it will be available for downloading. Interested mass media are welcome to contact the Baltic 21 Secretariat if they would like to obtain personal copy of the report in pdf format before the formal launch (NB: further distribution of the report is embargoed until 5 June 2003).

Baltic 21 is…

Baltic 21 is a multi-stakeholder forum for co-operation for sustainable development in the Baltic Sea Region initiated by the Heads of Government in the Region. The Baltic 21 Members include Governments of all the 11 countries from this Region, the European Commission, Intergovernmental Organisations, International Financial Institutions as well as Non-governmental Organisations. Baltic 21 includes (i) the Baltic 21 Action Program featuring actions for seven economic sectors, education and spatial planning, and cross-sectoral actions, (ii) an overall and sector goals for sustainable development in the Baltic Sea Region, and (iii) indicators to monitor the progress of the Region towards sustainable development.

The Baltic 21 Action Program is a regional response to the global Agenda 21 and is also in line with the requirements of the Plan of Implementation (PoI) that was adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg last year. The co-operation ongoing within Baltic 21 was also acknowledged by the global community in the PoI.

Further information

To obtain further information or download the report, please visit the Baltic 21 web site at: www.baltic21.org or contact:

Baltic 21 Secretariat
Phones: +46 8 440 19 38/41
Fax: +46 8 440 19 44
E-mail: baltic21@cbss.st

For information in national languages please contact the Baltic 21 Senior Official Group Member(s) in your country. The complete list of the Members and their coordinates are available at the Baltic 21 web site under “Network / Contacts”.

 

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