«Baltic Sea Day» — One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

that was the impression I got on March 23rd after attending the traditional annual conference THE DAY OF THE BALTIC SEA. 
       It usually brought the general public, experts and officials from the Baltic States together in St. Petersburg. This year the traditional participants from the Baltic neighbouring countries did not even participate online. 
       Thus, the united Baltic Sea ecological region has been divided by politicians into two parts. And this happened against the background of serious environmental challenges for our common Baltic!
      The roundtable discussion «Marine Spatial Planning. Steps forward» brought together experts, officials and the public from Russia, the USA and China. 
      The organisers of the discussion (Ermak Northwest Institute) invited experts who shared their experiences in promoting marine spatial planning (MSP) in different countries and parts of our planet.


Unfortunately, Russia lags behind other countries in introducing the MSP and ecosystem approach to harmonise relations with the habitat. There is still a lack of political will to adopt legislative norms at the federal and regional levels.

       The need for a systemic view on the ecological safety of the Gulf of Finland and ensuring balanced development was mentioned by deputies of the legislative assemblies of St Petersburg (D.V. Dmitriev) and Leningrad Oblast (N.A. Kuzmin). Creation of the interregional ecological laboratory and carrying out of the complex ecological assessment in the Gulf of Finland region are the key decisions to be taken in the nearest future! That was the opinion of the legislators of the two subjects of the Russian Federation who made a joint report.

        Dr. Andrey Talevlin (Russian Socio-Ecological Union) and Oleg Bodrov (Public Council of the South Coast of the Gulf of Finland) supported the regional deputies in their speech, proposing priority steps for passing federal and regional laws on MSPs.

         Dr. Nathaniel Trumbull from the University of Connecticut (USA) spoke about the experience of two US states using the MPP toolkit in port construction and promoting a major energy infrastructure project. This experience could be used in the development of similar facilities in the Russian part of the Gulf of Finland.

       Dr. Li Xuefeng (PRC) spoke about the plans to use the MSP in the Arctic and Antarctic, in areas not under the jurisdiction of any country.  Ecologists from different countries and continents who participated in the MSP roundtable showed their willingness to cooperate.

It is very difficult, but still one would like to believe that despite the political turbulence politicians will listen to environmentalists, and those only to the military.

the panelists at the round table discussion (from left to right): — Dmitry A. Dmitriev, St Petersburg Legislative Assembly; — Nikolay A. Kuzmin, Leningrad Oblast Legislative Assembly; — Oleg V. Bodrov, Decomission Ltd; — Gennady V. Shabarin, Public Council of the South Shore of the Gulf of Finland.