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Credit: © WWF-Canon / Isaac VEGA
WWF-Spain demonstration in Madrid at the Neptun fountain of Plaza de las Cibeles on 4 December 2002. "Neptun is in mourning. No more Prestiges" 'Prestige' oil spill, Galicia, Spain
Credit: © WWF-Canon / Isaac VEGA

Bremen, 30 May 2003
Countdown to the North-East Atlantic & Baltic Ministerial Meeting

There are three weeks to go for Environment Ministers from OSPAR and HELCOM countries until they gather for a series of major conferences in Bremen, Germany, from 23 - 27 June 2003 to discuss the future of our seas.

Five years ago, at the OSPAR Ministerial in Sintra, Portugal and/or the HELCOM Ministerial in Helsinki, Finland, decision makers signed up to milestone commitments including the elimination of harmful chemicals and new obligations to protect marine wildlife and ecosystems which were warmly welcomed by WWF.

However, the human pressure on the marine environment has been remaining at an unacceptably high level since then. The loss of marine biodiversity in the North-East Atlantic and Baltic is going on. The series of nasty shipping accidents such as the Erika and/or Prestige is as alerting as the recent finding that Europe's cold water coral reefs are being progressively destroyed by trawling - just to mention two evident examples that give rise for great concern.

The upcoming joint Ministerial meeting will be the right occasion to evaluate the progress made since 1998 and to call for additional measures needed in the future to safeguard healthy oceans. To what extent have the sources of hazardous substances been reduced or eliminated? Are Goverments prepared to keep our seas clean? Download WWF's evaluation report.

What measures to protect marine species and habitats have been developed or come in place? WWF would like to see bold commitments and a strong political will to restore our oceans, prevent further ecological damage and halt the loss of biodiversity. Ministers must agree to take urgent actions to reduce the environmental impact of fisheries and shipping, and to establish a network of marine protected areas.

What is the OSPAR Convention and Commission? (WWF background briefing, 2000)

Facts about the OSPAR-HELCOM Ministerial Meeting

Download WWF's proposals for the Bremen Ministerial Declaration