In early June, more than 1,000 participants gathered in Turku for the annual meeting of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and the Baltic Development Forum summit. The meeting programme highlighted the practical implementation of the Baltic Sea strategy. The John Nurminen Foundation and the Baltic Sea Challenge, coordinated by the cities of Helsinki and Turku, were amongst the organisers of the ‘Talk about water – how to save the sea’ programme section which, amongst other topics, dealt with nutrient removal.
In 2013, the Foundation and the City of Helsinki environment centre began planning the new BEST (Better Efficiency for Sewage Treatment) project, focusing on nutrient removal. The water utility of St. Petersburg and the City of Warsaw also participated in the planning of the project. In January 2014, the project received seed money for project preparation from the EU Baltic Sea Region Programme. Immediately when the new financing period begins (in 2015), financing for the BEST project will be applied from the EU Baltic Sea Region Programme. In Turku, the project was planned and discussed, amongst others, by Leszek Drogosz, director of infrastructure from Warsaw, Peteris Gailitis from the water utility of Gdansk, and Krzysztof Maciejewski and Jacek Jasiulewicz from the water utility of Szczecin.
In the spring of 2014, the Foundation has also initiated prestudies for projects on water quality trading and fish stock management. Moreover, Foundation representatives had the opportunity to acquaint themselves with fishing methods, guided by a local fisherman, and take part in a seminar reviewing the past 50 years of the Archipelago Research Institute.
Voice of the Baltic Sea – Turku in the forefront of Baltic Sea protection
At the meeting organised in Logomo, Aleksi Randell Mayor of Turku, emphasised the role of Turku as a developer of cooperation in the Baltic Sea region. Within the context of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, the City of Turku is the link to the neighbouring countries of Russia, Belarus and Norway. ’This is a role we take seriously. Turku will continue to do its best in order to ensure that our Russian, Belarusian, Norwegian and Icelandic partners will increase their cooperation. Even if the international situation may have a negative impact on the top level, official relationships of EU and Russia, contacts between the stakeholders on a regional level continue to grow in importance. We are ready to begin new projects, promoting concrete cooperation that benefits both parties.’