Under the motto "Working together for our Sea - the Baltic Sea", Germany published its priority program for its chairmanship on 1 July 2020:
- Strengthening ocean governance
- Updating and implementing the BSAP -making progress on specific requirements
- Trying new solutions for well-known, pressing challenges
- Strengthening marine biodiversity
- Climate change and the Baltic Sea - Understanding and responding
Excessive nutrient inputs, warfare material in the sea, marine litter, underwater noise and climate change are the pressures on the marine ecosystems of the Baltic Sea that Germany will be addressing during its chairmanship. A further aim is to strengthen the protection of marine species and habitats and to further develop, for this purpose, both the network of marine protected areas and their effective management. The economic recovery following the Corona crisis should be used to make progress on marine protection and climate issues.
The updated Baltic Sea Action Plan will define for the 2020 decade the measures to which the Contracting Parties and HELCOM commit themselves. The Action Plan is intended to make a significant contribution to the recovery of the Baltic Sea.
Germany took over the HELCOM chairmanship as a team from both the Federal Government and two coastal Federal States. Dr. Lilian Busse, Head of Division "Environmental Health and Protection of Ecosystems" at the German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt, UBA), is the HELCOM Chair. Dr. Johannes Oelerich (Schleswig-Holstein) was Vice Chair for the first year until June 2021. Dr. Andreas Röpke (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) is Vice Chair from July 2021 until the end of the German Presidency in June 2022.
For decades, the German Environment Agency has been working with experts from the Baltic rim in different HELCOM committees on uses and pressures for protecting the Baltic Sea. In addition to monitoring and assessing both, pressures and the state of the marine environment, UBA takes part in developing regional measures and ecological principles to reduce the negative impacts of human activities on the Baltic Sea.