Harro Pitkänen and Gabriella Lindholm at the World Water Week in Stockholm. Photo: Kyra Koponen

Speakers at a seminar hosted by NEFCO and NIB in Stockholm on 7 September called for concrete proposals to tackle the ecological problems afflicting the Baltic Sea.

Gabriella Lindholm, the Chairperson of the Helsinki Commission, HELCOM, emphasized the role of the financial institutions in the implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan.

During the seminar,Harro Pitkänen, Senior Director at NIB, reiterated that Nordic finance institutions hoped that the national implementation plans would become a major tool for identifying ecological projects eligible for financing. He also pointed out that the identification of project initiators is a key prerequisite for international financial institutions to release capital. Pitkänen also emphasized that the national implementation plans were an indication of the collective political will, which is vital for building trust and confidence.

Gabriella Lindholm, the Chairperson of the Helsinki Commission, HELCOM, urged the national states and organisations involved to begin identifying concrete projects and proposals to habilitate and improve the environmental condition of the Baltic Sea, and emphasized the crucial role of the financial institutions in this task. Overall, she was impressed by the willingness of the IFIs to support the implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan.

Mathias Bergman, Secretary-General of the Baltic Sea Action Group, reminded the participants that although HELCOM can call for proposals and inititate action programmes, the organization has no power or authority to enforce them. He also pointed out that there were tremendous opportunities for environmental business in various sectors such as waste management.

Professor Daniel J. Conley from Lund University, spoke on reducing nutrient discharges into the Baltic Sea, and pointed out that this could be achieved by better sewage treatment, less fertilizer use and more efficient manure treatment on farms as well as reliance on less polluting shipping techniques.

During the occasion, NEFCO’s Senior Manager, Karl-Johan Lehtinen, took the opportunity to introduce the Baltic Sea Action Plan Fund, a financial instrument, which is jointly managed by NIB and NEFCO.

The seminar “From Source to Sea: Financing Concrete Actions to Save the Baltic Sea” was organised by NEFCO and NIB, within the framework of the World Water Week in Stockholm.

Read more about the World Water Week

Learn more about the Nordic Investment Bank

Learn more about HELCOM