International conventions with relevance to the Baltic Sea
Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area (Helsinki Convention)
First signed in 1974 by the then seven Baltic
coastal states. For the first time ever, all the sources of pollution around an
entire Sea were made subject to a single convention. In the light of political
changes, and developments in international environmental and maritime law, a
new convention was signed in 1992 by all the states
bordering on the Baltic Sea, and the European Community. The Convention covers
the whole of the Baltic Sea area, including inland waters as well as the water
of the Sea itself and the sea-bed. Measures are also taken in the entire
catchment area of the Baltic Sea to reduce land-based pollution.
One of the CBD programmes addresses in particular marine and coastal
biodiversity that relates also
to the conservation of biological diversity and sustainable use of the Baltic
Sea. Elements of this programme include: Integrated marine and coastal
management, marine and coastal living resources, marine and coastal protected
areas, mariculture and invasive alien species. The 10th Conference
of the Parties decided to take into account the special characteristics
of enclosed and semi-enclosed
seas that are affected by multiple direct and indirect human induced influences
originating from the watershed area, and where the biodiversity issues require
an integrated holistic approach and co-operation.
In effect since 2004, it aims to prevent,
minimise and ultimately eliminate the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms and
pathogens through the control and management of ships’ ballast water and
From 1973 (and 1978 and later Annexes), the central convention addressing safe and clean shipping, contains six annexes that deal with prevention of different forms of marine pollution from ships: oil, noxious liquid substances carried in bulk, harmful substances carried in packaged form, sewage, garbage, and air pollution.
From 1994, sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the
climate change challenge. Under the UNFCCC, the member governments gather and
share information on greenhouse gas emissions, national policies and best
practices. In addition, national strategies for addressing greenhouse gas
emissions and adapting to expected impacts are developed, including a provision
of financial and technological support to developing countries and cooperation
in preparation for adapting to the impacts of climate change.
Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context
From 1991, also known as the 'Espoo Convention' entered into force in 1997. It sets out the obligations of Parties to assess the environmental impact of certain activities at an early stage of planning. It also lays down the general obligation of states to notify and consult each other on all major projects under consideration that are likely to have a significant adverse environmental impact across boundaries.
also known as ‘Geneva convention’ obliges its contracting parties (51 state) to
mitigate the emissions and exchange information in regard the air pollution
having adverse effect at such long distances that it is not
possible to distinguish the source. It calls i.a. to initiate and co-operate in
research into development of, among other, technologies for reducing emissions
of sulphur compounds and other major air pollutants and instrumentation and
other techniques for monitoring and measuring emission rates and concentrations
of air pollutants. This convention serves as a certain promoter of
technological innovation in its specific field.
From 1998, also known as ‘Aarhus
Convention’, is a new kind of environmental agreement. It links environmental
rights and human rights, states that sustainable development can be achieved
only through the involvement of all stakeholders, links government
accountability and environmental protection; and focuses on interactions
between the public and public authorities in a democratic context. The Aarhus
Convention grants the public rights and imposes on Parties and public
authorities’ obligations regarding access to information and public
participation as well as access to justice.