The countries around the Baltic Sea face common challenges such as a polluted sea, climate change and cross-border crime. With the EU enlargement in 2004, when Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland became EU members, the Baltic Sea almost became an inland sea in the European Union. The importance of eight of the nine countries around the Baltic Sea now being EU members was highlighted early on. The European Parliament had proposed already in 2006 that a strategy for the Baltic Sea Region be drawn up.
The EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR), adopted in 2009, is about joint problem solving in the countries around the Baltic Sea – to take advantage of the opportunities that increased cooperation provides. No country alone can solve the environmental problems of the Baltic Sea, but together the countries can make progress to e.g. stop eutrophication, reduce emissions of hazardous substances and prevent oil spills.
In addition to maritime issues, the strategy includes many other common challenges and opportunities. Whether it is about transport solutions, joint education initiatives or environmental issues, the starting point is always the same: we solve our common challenges in a better way if we work together. The countries share the responsibility for implementing the strategy. Collaborations are being carried out around the region that aim to achieve the goals of the strategy to save the sea, connect the region and increase prosperity.
Every year, the region gathers to discuss what has been achieved so far and to reflect on future work. The 12th EUSBSR annual forum will be held from September 27 to October 1, 2021 – for the second time online. Around 40 different activities will be arranged and more than 1000 participants have already signed up.
The EUSBSR annual forum will focus on green recovery and will invite the participants to revitalise the Strategy, to recover after COVID-19 together and to recharge for a greener and more resilient Baltic Sea region.
The Swedish Institute arranges a webinar on 29 September together with Nordregio, the secretariat of the Union of the Baltic Cities and the secretariat of the Euroregion Baltic. The webinar focuses on how to increase the engagement of various stakeholders to participate in new initiatives within the EU strategy for the Baltic Sea Region relating to the green transition. The webinar provides an overview of the committment to the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea region today and current collaboration models. It also takes up practical examples, tools and methods from the Umbrella 2.0 project. The aim of part one is to provide a good overview of both theoretical and practical examples for cross-sectorial and multi-level stakeholder engagement, including horizontal approaches, such as youth participation to boost a green transition. The webinar also includes an interactive part where participants are invited to reflect with each other based on their own experiences.
The Swedish Institute supports cooperation in the Baltic Sea region by, among other things, fund organizations that want to initiate project collaborations that contribute to achieving the objectives of the EU strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. In addition, the Swedish Institute actively contributes to the implementation of the strategy with leadership programmes such as the Baltic Leadership Programme
The Swedish Institute is organizing a seminar entitled “Improving stakeholder and citizen engagement within the EUSBSR Green Transition” on 29 September at 10-12. Sign up via the website of the EUSBSR annual forum.