“There are certain promising signs that the measures taken so far have paid some environmental dividends. However, there are still several cities and municipalities that have no modern waste water treatment facilities whatsoever. Continued efforts and resources must therefore be allocated to the construction of waste water treatment plants and to modernize decaying urban and municipal sewage systems”, said Christina Gestrin BSPC Observer to HELCOM, in her introductory address at the XIV International Baltic Se Days in St Petersburg 21 April. “I would also like to emphasize the need to enhance maritime safety and emergency management capacities”, she said. “We in BSPC have urged our governments to develop real-time maritime surveillance information and e-navigation technologies in order to improve vessel traffic management and augment the joint preparedness against accidents”. She went on to commend the BSAP Technical Assistance Fund, which is managed by NiB and NEFCO. “It is clear that the Fund has served the important purpose of facilitating more than 35 project proposals with realistic goals, viable structures and sound investment plans“, she stressed. “Efforts must therefore be made to retain and refill the BSAP Fund, and I hope that all Baltic Sea countries will contribute“. “Now we hope that the HELCOM Ministerial meeting in October will be a successful manifestation of our governments’ dedication to the BSAP and of their continued commitment to take concrete action to fulfil its goals by 2021”, Gestrin concluded.