The Baltic Sea Region (BSR) Conference for Agriculture and Environment - "A Greener Agriculture for a Bluer Baltic Sea" - was arranged already the 5th time in Helsinki on 27-28 August. The event attracted nearly 300 participants to get together for 2 days to discuss under the theme "Visions for Nutrient Management". The vision aimed to join agricultural, business and environment interests to hear and discuss how smarter and more sustainable measures could be implemented in agriculture with a view of contributing to a healthier Baltic Sea.
Plenary session, Interested and smiling audience. Photo by Anu Suono
In the respective opening addresses to the Conference, the Minister of Environment of Finland Mr. Ville Niinistö and State Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture of Finland Mr. Risto Artjoki both raised the importance of nutrient use efficiency and praised the benefit of international cooperation and joint efforts.
Topics of the plenary sessions ranged from the need of applying a systems perspective into nutrient recycling to personally experienced success stories about farming in the BSR. The importance of starting to regard products containing plant nutrients as a resource instead of waste was a matter raised several times. The need for more targeted nutrient reducing measures and approaches was also stressed, as were research, information and communication.
Group work sessions were arranged in line with three of the current priority topics in agri-environment discussion: manure handling, nutrient circulation and water management. Presentations dealt with holistic perspectives on manure handling and technical solutions such as biogas production and separation; ways to close the on-farm nutrient cycle; and how to keep agricultural land well drained and at the same time avoid nutrient losses to the Baltic Sea. Main focus day one was practices and technical solutions on the farm and day two was devoted to recommendations from policy makers and society.
The leaders of the three main organizers, EU Baltic Sea Region Programme projects Baltic Deal, Baltic Manure and Baltic Compact were all pleased with the high quality of the presentations and profound and active engagement of the participants at the Conference. When asked to pin down the way for the region's agriculture towards a more sustainable future in just few words, the keys are business and innovation, smart regulation, cooperation and communication.
The conference's closing speech was given by the Head of Chief Inspectorate for Environmental Protection in Poland, Mr. Andrzej Jagusiewicz, who is the Head of the Polish delegation to HELCOM, as well as the co-coordinator of Priority Area Nutri in the EU Strategy for the BSR. He praised the good work done by the BSR agri-environment projects in surfacing the good solutions and examples and creating this common platform for dialogue and exchange. His message to the conference was that in the end: we all eat and we all have responsibility.
Download conference report
Read more about the speakers and download presentations here