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Women In Marine Governance: Marta Ruiz

#WIMG is a PERMAGOV campaign designed to celebrate the role of women in marine governance. Case studies take the form of short interviews where participants share their background, interests, ideas and recommendations for improving the way in which ocean affairs are managed. Each story is unique. By spotlighting our WIMG stars, we hope that readers from all walks of life will be inspired to make their contribution in support of a sustainable ocean. Featured in this case study is Marta Ruiz, Associate Professional Secretary at HELCOM.

Marta Ruiz | women in marine governance | PERMAGOV

Current job

I am based in Helsinki, at the Secretariat of the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM), working on marine litter, underwater noise and non-indigenous species issues. In relation to marine litter, my work is to support HELCOM on monitoring and assessment activities as well as on the implementation of the HELCOM Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter.

Study and career path

Prior to joining HELCOM in May 2013, I worked as a Technical Secretary of the Spanish Technological Platform for the Protection of the Coast and the Marine Environment (2011-13). Before that, I was a technical advisor on marine pollution, working in the Spanish Ministry of Public Works (2010-11, 2006-08) and the private sector (2008-09). Both my MSc and PhD are in the field of marine sciences, and I did my postdoctoral degree at the Technical University of Crete (2004-2006).

Participation in PERMAGOV

Within PERMAGOV, I am involved in the case study related to marine litter in the Baltic Sea, which aims at evaluating the interactions between different sectoral governance regimes and identify lessons learned and conclusions that could be helpful for the HELCOM approach in addressing marine litter. My role in this case study is to serve as a bridge between the project consortium and the HELCOM EG Marine Litter and Working Group on Reduction of Pressures from Sea-based Sources, which is responsible for following up on the implementation of the Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter, as well as on the commitments articulated in the Baltic Sea Action Plan that relate to marine litter.

Marine governance

Marine governance is about ensuring harmony in the marine environment. It is about managing and using marine environment and resources without jeopardizing its health, and about achieving long-lasting sustainability. Even though this is a process to be led by governments, the general public also has a role to play. In fact, it’s everyone’s responsibility since eventually all of us will either benefit or suffer from marine environment, depending on whether its environmental status is good or bad.


I am not in the position to give advice to women/girls who are looking to study, research or work in marine governance, but can just share my experience. The truth is that I am happy with what I do, because it has a meaning, a purpose, and because that purpose is not only for myself, but aims at leaving things better than I found them in relation to the marine environment. I know it may sound naive, but please follow your dreams and try not being selfish, it is more rewarding than you could ever imagine.

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PERMAGOV has received funding from the European Union's Horizon Europe research and innovation programme HORIZON-CL6-2022-GOVERNANCE-01-03 under grant agreement No 101086297, and by UK Research and Innovation under the UK government’s Horizon Europe funding guarantee grant numbers 10045993, 10062097, 101086297.

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