It is 30 years since KIMO International was founded in Esbjerg, Denmark on 22nd August 1990.
KIMO is an international network of local authorities working together for healthy seas, cleaner beaches and thriving coastal communities. With more than 80 members in eight countries, KIMO represents more than five million European citizens from around the North and Baltic seas.
KIMO President Jerry Ahlstrom said: “While we have had to postpone physical celebrations until a safer date, we will not delay our work to prevent pollution and protect our seas and coastal waters. KIMO’s member municipalities have worked hard to protect the seas we depend on for thirty years. This work is more important now than ever before.”
“Today, we would simply like to thank everyone who shares our vision and who has supported our work to prevent pollution and to protect, preserve and enhance the seas and coastal waters of the North-East Atlantic and Baltic regions for future generations.”
A modest start
Aberdeenshire Council was due to host a 30th birthday celebration before the coronavirus outbreak. Together with Shetland Islands Council in Scotland, Esbjerg in Denmark and Vågsøy in Norway, Aberdeenshire founded KIMO in 1990. The four municipalities shared a concern for the state of the environment at the time. They set up KIMO in response to a series of emerging environmental threats.
The name KIMO is an abbreviation of the Danish name ‘Kommunenes Internasjonale Miljøorganisasjon’, which means ‘International local government environment organisation’.
From its modest start KIMO has grown in size to represent over 80 members. Alongside independent members, KIMO has national networks in Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium, Norway, Sweden and the UK.
For 30 years KIMO has been a pioneering environmental force, contributing to a steady reduction in pollution in Europe’s seas.
KIMO is perhaps best known for conceiving of ‘Fishing For Litter’. This open source and widely replicated project engages local fishing fleets to retrieve and responsibly dispose of marine litter.
A home in Shetland
Shetland Islands Council hosts the organisation’s International Secretariat in Lerwick.
Council Convenor, Malcolm Bell, said: “We are happy to have played such a crucial role in this international organisation since its very beginnings and we look forward to continuing to work together for many more years to come.”
KIMO International Executive Secretary, Arabelle Bentley, said that while a celebration would not be safe or appropriate at this time, the current pandemic shows why KIMO’s work is important:
“Sadly, many single-use masks and gloves are finding their way into our seas and washing up on our beaches. We would ask everyone to consider choosing a reusable mask or to ensure that single-use models are disposed of appropriately.”