The Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference is a forum of parliamentarians from 11 national parliaments and 11 regional parliaments in the Baltic Sea area. All the Nordic countries are represented, though neither Iceland nor Norway directly border the Baltic Sea.
This year’s conference took place 26–28 August in Mariehamn, Åland. Jorodd Asphjell and Hanne Dyveke Søttar participated on behalf of Norway’s parliament, the Storting. On the last day of the conference, Asphjell – the Storting’s representative on the BSPC Standing Committee – was selected as the new president. Next year’s conference will be held in Oslo 25–26 August 2019.
The Baltic Sea: not healthy
The conference heard that the health of the Baltic Sea is not especially good. The hot summer, with sea temperatures rising to 27 degrees C, has exacerbated the problem of algae growth stemming from overuse of agricultural fertilisers. Sanctions against Russia, meanwhile, have led to a halt in funding for joint environmental projects.
Stop the use of disposable plastic!
The BSPC adopted a resolution stating that the parliamentarians strongly welcome prohibitions or regulations limiting the use of single-use plastic products that contribute to marine litter. They also seek to raise awareness in the general population of the adverse effects of using disposable plastics.
Priorities for the Norwegian presidency
At the initiative of the Norwegian presidency, the BSPC adopted four topics for the 2018-2019 Work Programme:
- Migration and integration
- Digitalisation of working life
- Pursuit of UN Sustainable Development Goals
- Neighbourliness and cooperation based on democratic values, the rule of law, human rights and equal opportunities for all.