Annual Forum 2021

The Annual Forum of the Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region is the largest event of the Strategy. It brings together all the stakeholders implementing the EUSBSR as well as other participants who would like to contribute to managing the common challenges the Baltic Sea Region faces. The 12th Annual Forum will take place from 27 September to 1 October. It will focus on green recovery and will invite the participants to REVITALISE the Strategy, to RECOVER after COVID-19 together and to RECHARGE for greener and more resilient Baltic Sea Region.

Dear participants,

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the 12th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region!
In line with the motto “Revitalize – Recover – Recharge”, the EUSBSR Annual Forum 2021 aims at fostering green transition in the Baltic Sea Region through close partnerships and more active involvement of different stakeholders and civil society, in particular youth and local communities. The EUSBSR is a good example of how we can shape the future of our region through enabling local communities and through intensifying our cooperation.

The Annual Forum 2021 will be an opportunity for open and thorough discussions on the possibilities of the EUSBSR to contribute to the green transformation of the region and at the same time to implement the three objectives of the Strategy: Save the Sea, Connect the Region, Increase Prosperity.

The organizers – the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania, Kaunas City, Klaipėda City, and the Union of the Baltic Cities – have prepared a rich agenda of almost 40 events for you to choose from.
The Annual Forum 2021 will provide an opportunity for young professionals to contribute to the discussions on the post-pandemic recovery of the region. In addition, cities, playing a key role in green transformation, will be provided with a platform to present themselves and to foster cross-border cooperation. Finally, we will introduce Kaunas City, the European Capital of Culture 2022.

I wish you inspiring, enriching, and forward-looking discussions during the week of the Annual Forum 2021!

Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania
Ingrida Šimonytė

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions

the 12th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region will be virtual. The Annual Forum will take place online from 27 September to 1 October 2021. The agenda of the Annual Forum will be full of interesting, engaging and inspiring discussions, workshops and presentations. You are most welcome to join!

We invite you to read the short descriptions and register for as many events as you wish by filling in the information in the registration form


After the registration you will receive the automated confirmation.

Personal link to the virtual Annual Forum will be sent to the registered participants one day before the event, on 26 September. We kindly ask you to keep this link as it will help you access the event.

Please note that if you answer “no” to the statement “I consent that my name and organisation will be published in the forum participant list”, you will not be able to use the networking tools during the Forum.



    Jyrki Katainen

    Name Surname 2

    Name Surname 3

    Name Surname 4

    Vladas Vladislovas

    Virginijus Sinkevičius

    Geneviève Pons

    Name Surname 2

    Name Surname 3

    Name Surname 3

    Name Surname 2

    Six major events

    Planned to take place daily from 13:00 to 14:30 CET:


    High-level opening event/ strategic panel discussion on 27 September with the main focus on economic recovery through green and digital transformation.


    1st plenary session on macro-regional strategies’ role in setting EU agenda on 28 September. The macroregional strategies have shifted from being a pure platform for regional cooperation to being the hub for identifying challenges a particular region faces and for looking for common solutions. The ongoing embedding process strengthens this change. Therefore, it is important to discuss the ways to increase the EUSBSR’s ability to ensure the relevant issues are included in the EU agenda.


    The presentation of the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme 2021-2027 on 28 September. The participants of the Annual Forum 2021 will be the first to learn about the possibilities of the EU funding for transnational projects tackling the challenges the Baltic Sea Region face. The kick-off event will focus on the importance of cooperation across borders in order to develop an innovative, climate-neutral Baltic Sea region and to increase resilience of its society.



    2nd plenary session on macro-regions’ contribution to the Conference of the Future of Europe (focus on social agenda) on 29 September. This session will create links to the ongoing Conference on the Future of Europe. Taking into account the fact that the aims of the Conference of the Future of Europe and the EUSBSR in terms of involvement of citizens coincide, we aim at ensuring EUSBSR’s contribution to this important wide-range debate. This plenary session will focus on the social dimension and the challenges the youth encounters due to COVID-19 pandemic. The participants will search for the ways the multilateral cooperation could contribute to enabling the young people to participate more actively in the decision-making process.


    3rd plenary session on green recovery on 30 September. It will be devoted to possibilities of the EUSBSR to significantly contribute to the Green Recovery of the EU.


    Closing event on 1 October. It will be fully owned by the young people. They will be looking for solutions for the environmental issues the Baltic Sea Region encounters. As in the case of opening event, some of the participants will come to a studio in Klaipėda, the other speakers will join online.

    Annual forum 2021
    Networking village

    It is important that you register for all events you find interesting for you. You can find the list of events below.
    Specific instructions are available in registration section.
    Make sure you have a suitable device available, such as a mobile phone, a laptop or a desktop computer. If you wish to video chat with other participants, your device should have a working camera.

    Follow the instructionstions in the Registration section

    First, you will receive an automated confirmation email with a link that you can use to change your personal details or cancel your registration.
    You will also receive all updated information.
    A day before the event, on 26 September 2021, you will receive an email with a personal link to the Online Annual Forum. Please keep this email, as it will help you access the Annual Forum.

    You can choose if you want to follow the Annual Forum via the Live Stream page or Mobile Application. Therefore, you either need a desktop computer, a laptop or a mobile phone. All options offer you the same opportunities for watching the programme, participating in the interactive sections and networking. Please keep in mind that if you want to participate in chats, you’ll need a device you’re comfortable writing with. If you want to participate in video calls, your device needs a camera. Please note: You should not use Internet Explorer as your browser when you visit the live page of the EUSBSR Annual Forum.

    We are happy to announce more than 30 workshops and other events are being organized by the EUSBSR Policy Areas and other stakeholders. All these events are included in the Forum’s agenda and thus, you are invited to register to the ones you find interesting. Registrations are already open.

    Despite the virtual type of the Annual Forum 2021, the organizers will make efforts to ensure as many networking possibilities as possible. Therefore, along with 5 major events, 30 partners’ and stakeholders’ events, cultural programme, the participants are invited to 3 networking villages. What is more, we will also provide the platform for bilateral/ multilateral discussions.


    Along with three networking villages, that will be facilitated by a moderator, the participants will have the possibility to meet other stakeholders (in the break-out rooms) and to discuss the following topics among themselves (the break-out rooms will be open for all three topics on 28, 29 and 30 September 12:00-13:00 CET):

    1. Funding possibilities and requirements
    2. Partnerships and collaboration
    3. Implementation of the revised EUSBSR Action Plan

    All you need to do is to register for a respective networking village: you will be able to either stay in a moderated discussion or go to a respective break-out room.   

    The Annual Forum aims at providing the stakeholders of the EUSBSR with the platform for presenting themselves in order to foster more active cross-border cooperation, sharing best practices and ideas. The organizers of the Annual Forum provide a platform for the presentation of the stakeholders’ organisations. You are invited to tell the audience how your organization contributes to the objectives of the EUSBSR. Do not miss the opportunity to present your organisation and to find new partners in the region!

    The organizers provide the opportunity to schedule bilateral/ multilateral meetings with the registered participants of the Annual Forum 2021. Meet, discuss, consult, cooperate!

    The Annual Forum 2021 is all about GREEN. We aim at sharing best practices and experiences of green transition in the region. Therefore, we provide a platform for the researchers, entrepreneurs to present their green innovations for the audience of the event. This networking village will be held right before the Plenary Session on Green Recovery and will definitely inspire the speakers of the Session.

    This plenary session will focus on the social dimension and the challenges the youth encounters due to COVID-19 pandemic. The participants will search for the ways the multilateral cooperation could contribute to enabling the young people to participate more actively in the decision-making process.

    The 3rd Plenary session will focus on the green recovery and its regional dimension. Particular attention will be paid to the role the education, the development of the skills as well as inclusive process could play in strengthening public support for green transformation and ensuring involvement and ownership of societies and businesses.
    September 27
    September 28
    September 29
    September 30
    October 01
    09:00 - 09:30

    Youth event

    09:30 - 10:00
    10:00 - 10:30
    10:30 - 11:00
    11:00 - 11:30
    11:30 - 12:00
    12:00 - 12:30
    12:30 - 13:00
    13:00 - 13:30


    Quality education, jobs opportunities for youth, fostering of innovations, sustainable cities and communities, fight against climate change, strengthening of the global partnership are only a few among 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), approved by the United Nations in 2015. They are part of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and determine the direction of the global actions. It is evident, that no country can achieve these goals alone. The question is whether the Baltic Sea Region contributes to these goals and what more can be done in order to increase its input.

    The revised Action Plan of the EUSBSR (February 2021) has a clear reference to the SDGs. It not only emphasizes the need for sustainable development, but also determines which SDGs each of the EUSBSR Policy Areas contributes to. This is an important step to ensure that the global political ambition leads to concrete projects “on the ground” and brings tangible results for citizens, local communities, cities, countries and regions.

    The Annual Forum 2021 of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) pays particular attention to the involvement of the youth. Young professionals have been invited to the plenary sessions of the Annual Forum, while the last day of the event has been dedicated to this group of society.

    The closing event of the Annual Forum will summarize its discussions, be it green, digital, resilient and inclusive economic recovery, social challenges for youth after COVID-19 pandemic or green recovery. It will focus on the ways the young people could be more actively involved in the implementation of the EUSBSR Action Plan and in this way would contribute more to the sustainable future of the Baltic Sea Region.

    What role the youth could play in fostering sustainable solutions in the Baltic Sea Region? How the young people already contribute to the sustainability goals and how to encourage more of them join the efforts to tackle common challenges the cities and countries around the Baltic Sea Region face? Does the EUSBSR need new frameworks of cooperation with young professionals or is it only the question of communication and stronger cooperation? How to encourage the experienced implementers of the EUSBSR projects open up for the ideas of youth? These are the questions the participants of the closing session of the Annual Forum 2021 will reflect on.

    The last day of the Annual Forum 2021 will not only feature the plenary session on youth’s involvement, but will also suggest a variety of presentations. The audience will hear more about Klaipėda as the European Youth Capital 2021, the role of youth in implementing ambitious green agenda of the EU, the presentation of Lithuanian Sea Museum, creative workshop on SDGs, presentations of sustainable solutions of businesses and many more.          


    The project is co-financed by Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme  

    13:30 - 14:00
    14:00 - 14:30
    14:30 - 15:00

    Youth event

    15:00 - 15:30
    15:30 - 16:00
    16:00 - 16:30
    16:30 - 17:00
    17:00 - 17:30
    17:30 - 18:00
    09:00 - 09:30

    CULTURE 4CLIMATE “How the cultural sector can help to tackle Climate Crisis”

    Organiser – PA Culture

    Bridging the old with the new: How can we built a better Baltic Sea future for 2040 and beyond?

    Humans have long wished to be able to predict the future and prepare ourselves for unexpected developments. Developing shared visions and setting joint goals is crucial for thriving in our territories, strengthening the resilience of our communities, as well as of places we live and work in or just enjoy. Participants of this workshop will discuss the vision for the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) in 2040 based on the four metaphors that were identified already in the first VASAB vision in 1994:

    • the pearls (the urban networking, urban-rural partnerships and functional regions),
    • strings (the internal and external digital and physical connectivity),
    • patches (selected types of uses supporting dynamism and quality of life)
    • systems (spatial planning in function).

    In this workshop, we will explore the extent to which current developments can be drivers for developing a clear vision for a more sustainable, thriving and modern BSR.

    The VASAB Long-Term Perspective for the Territorial Development of the Baltic Sea Region is a strategic document that provides a territorial dimension to the EUSBSR framework and macro-regional cooperation in the region. The workshop will feed in the work of the update of the VASAB Long-Term Perspective, which has been initiated in order to adapt to arisen global and regional challenges, such as a pandemic reality, demographic trends, impacts of the climate change, territorial patterns of activities, digitalization, etc. This event kicks-off a series of workshops and other stakeholder engagement activities that will take place in 2021-22 throughout the update process.

    The workshop will be organized as a forecathon (a forecast marathon) – a sprint-like event and off-the-shelf participatory tool, which allows for speedy forecasts through a quick design and operationalisation of a participatory approach. The participants will follow a co-creation approach to explore how the BSR could look like in 2040 and the relevant trends that may influence the spatial development.


    Organiser – VASAB/ PA Spatial Planning

    Ventilation and indoor microclimate as a health issue. Requirements – best practices; experience, research and lessons learned from COVID-19 crisis


    PA Health/ NDPHS/

    PA Energy/ Ministry of Economics of the Republic of Latvia

    Sustainable development, UN SDGs, Biodiversity, UNESCO Biosphere Reserves

    The Biosphere for Baltic Network comprises 9 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, that are located on the Baltic Sea coast:

    Møn (DK), West Estonian Archipelago (EE), Archipelago Sea (FI), Südost-Rügen (DE), North Vidzeme (LV), Słowinski (PL) and Kristiansstads Vattenrike, Nedre Dalälven River Landscape, Blekinge Archipelago (SE).


    Based on the “Man and the Biosphere (MAB)-Program of the UNESCO, these areas are dedicated to function as model regions for sustainable development and implementation of the UN SDGs.


    Main objective of the event is to gain political awareness for the potentials of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves as well as to find stakeholders interest and partners for possible future joint activities.


    The BfB-event will present the main objectives of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves and – with regard to the EUSBSR Action Plan (Version 15 Feb 2021) – it will show examples from three areas and give time for questions and discussion:


    Introduction: Biosphere for Baltic Network; Function of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves; MAB-Program, UN SDGs


    Three examples will be given on how the Biosphere Reserves contribute to Themes of the EUSBSR Action Plan:

    • Reduce nutrient emissions from agriculture and other diffuse sources

    (PA Nutri / Action 1)

    • Protection and sustainable utilization of cultural heritage and natural resources in tourism destinations

    (PA Tourism / Action 3)

    • Promoting Baltic Sea region culture and European values, using culture for sustainable development

    (PA Culture: Action 2)


    The event will be rounded up by 30 Minutes time for Questions and for Discussion


    Organiser – Biosphere for Baltic Network

    09:30 - 10:00
    10:00 - 10:30

    Co-created NEW R&I agenda for the Baltic Sea and the North Sea enhances sustainable blue/ green growth in the Baltic Sea Region

    The workshop contributes directly to the greening of the region and the EUSBSR ‘Save the Sea’ goal. Major R&I funders of ten EU member states and two countries associated to EU’s research and innovation framework (BE, DK, EE, FR, DE, LV, LT, NL, NO, PL, SE, UK), and four transnational strategic partners – HELCOM, OSPAR, ICES and JPI Oceans – joined their forces in an EU-supported Baltic and North Sea Coordination and Support Action (BANOS CSA, 2018–2021). Together, they have developed preconditions for the future joint Baltic and North Sea Research and Innovation Programme – BANOS. The NEW Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda – the BANOS SRIA co-created with over 200 knowledge & innovation end-users – the policy makers, including key actors in EUSBSR – and other stakeholders is in the core of BANOS. The SRIA highlights current knowledge gaps and bottlenecks in marine and maritime R&I and presents R&I objectives and themes with concrete descriptions and outcomes for overcoming the challenges facing the neighboring regions of the Baltic Sea and North Sea, and enables the green transition of the blue economy. It aims to deliver a decisive boost and benefits to the sustainable marine and maritime economy. Regional collaboration is of key importance. Thus, a collective R&I capacity of the Northern European region needs to be elevated to the next level through a scientifically, administratively, and financially firmly integrated R&I programme. BANOS SRIA marks a clear path forward for the region and through regular review and update, allows space for response to the emerging needs for enquiry by scientists and innovators.  The workshop brings key actors together for an open discussion. It also fosters Open Science, -Data, -Access, Citizen Science, and close links with the wider public.


    Organiser – BONUS EEIG

    10:30 - 11:00
    11:00 - 11:30
    11:30 - 12:00
    12:00 - 12:30

    NETWORKING VILLAGE I: Meet the stakeholders

    28th of September, 12:00-13:00

    I Networking village: “Meet the stakeholders”

    The Annual Forum aims at providing the stakeholders of the EUSBSR with the platform for presenting themselves in order to foster more active cross-border cooperation, sharing best practices and ideas. The organizers of the Annual Forum provide a platform for the presentation of the stakeholders’ organisations. You are invited to tell the audience how your organization contributes to the objectives of the EUSBSR. Do not miss the opportunity to present your organisation and to find new partners in the region!



    12.00 Introduction speech I: “Key features of EUSBSR” 

    12.10 Interactive map of stakeholders

    12.20 How my organisation sees EUSBSR and can contribute to it?

    12.45 Q&A – UBC guest

    12.55 Quiz

    13.00 Closing of the session

    12:30 - 13:00
    13:00 - 13:30


    13:30 - 14:00
    14:00 - 14:30
    14:30 - 15:00
    15:00 - 15:30

    Interreg Baltic Sea Region presentation (kick-off)

    In the next seven years, we will offer more than 250 million euros to shape an environment for working together across borders. With our support, public and private partners from countries around the Baltic Sea will come up with new solutions to demands in the region. These solutions will build more innovative, water-smart, climate-neutral societies in the Baltic Sea region.


    Are you interested in receiving funding? Attend the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme Kick-off event to find out:

    • Under which topics you can receive funding
    • When the calls for applicationsare planned
    • How you can find partners



    15.00-15.05 Opening and moderation

    Mr Ronald Lieske, Director of the Managing Authority/Joint Secretariat (MA/JS) of Interreg Baltic Sea Region


    15.05-15.25 Welcome speeches

    Ms Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms (video message)

    Mr Arnoldas Abramavicius, Vice Minister of the Interior of Lithuania (tbc.)

    Ms Deimantė Jankūnaitė, Chair of Joint Programming Committee, Lithuania


    15.25-16:35 The Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme 2021-2027

    Introduction to the thematic framework

    Mr Ronald Lieske, MA/JS

      • Programme Priority 1: Innovative societies

    Ms Marta Ślężak-Warszycka, MA/JS

    Ms Eeva Rantama, MA/JS

    Mr Jens Kurnol, Joint Programming Committee Member for Germany

    Ms Iruma Karavale, Joint Programming Committee Member for Latvia


      • Programme Priority 2: Water-smart societies

    Ms Elena Kolosova, MA/JS

    Ms Eeva Rantama, MA/JS

    Ms Margarita Golovko, Joint Programming Committee Member for Estonia

    Ms Ann Irene Saeternes, Joint Programming Committee Member for Norway


      • Programme Priority 3: Climate-neutral societies


    Mr Sebastian Hentsch, MA/JS

    Mr József Attila Darabos, MA/JS

    Ms Eeva Rantama, MA/JS

    Mr Matti Lipsanen, Joint Programming Committee Member for Finland

    Ms Teresa Marcinów, Joint Programming Committee Member for Poland


    16.35-16.50 New Programme: All you need to know for the start

    Ms Anna Gałyga, MA/JS


    16.50-17.00 Closing

    Mr Ronald Lieske, MA/JS

    Learn more about agenda and new Interreg Baltic Sea Region 2021-2027:



    What is the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme about?

    Interreg Baltic Sea Region 2021-2027 creates an environment for public authorities, NGOs, companies, academia and others to work together across borders. With some 250 million euros of EU funding, partners from countries around the Baltic Sea bring solutions to tackle existing and rising challenges, and to grasp opportunities for growth.


    The Programme shapes innovative, water-smart and climate-neutral societies of the future. Resilient communities, economies and responsive public services prepare the region for upcoming changes and challenges. Sustainable water management helps improve the environmental state of the Baltic Sea and inland waters, whereas blue economy remains an inexhaustible spearhead for innovative business and sustainable growth. With envisioned climate-neutral societies, the Programme supports circular approaches, a transition to low-carbon energy systems and smart green mobility.


    Cooperation in Interreg projects will make the Baltic Sea region smarter and greener. It will also help advance actions in many policy areas of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. By funding fresh smart ideas as well as taking stock of Interreg achievements in place, new partnerships will make innovative, water-smart and climate-neutral solutions a common practice.


    Organiser – Interreg BSR

    15:30 - 16:00
    16:00 - 16:30
    16:30 - 17:00
    17:00 - 17:30
    17:30 - 18:00
    09:00 - 09:30

    Innovative water protection measures for agriculture – gypsum, structure lime and other ideas

    The Baltic Sea is highly affected by eutrophication: according to HELCOM (2018), 97% of the sea area is below good status in regard to eutrophication. A major part of the anthropogenic nutrient loading originates from diffuse sources, which are difficult to control and where fewer nutrient load reductions have been achieved. In agriculture, however, there are promising new methods for curbing nutrient loading, namely gypsum and structure lime. Apart from these two innovations, also other solutions are urgently needed. The EUSBSR participants are invited to learn about experiences with gypsum and structure lime, and to present their own nutrient reduction methods and innovations.

    For more information, please contact PA Nutri or John Nurminen Foundation: or


    Organiser – PA Nutri and John Nurminen Foundation

    Plastic Pollution in the Baltic Sea. A circular economy approach on reduction, recovery and recycling of plastic waste in the Baltic Sea

    Plastic pollution in our waters is global and regional problem. Even though the Baltic Sea appears to suffer less than other waterways, plastic pollution is an issue. The high number of people living directly at the Baltic Sea leads to a significant potential for human induced plastic pollution in the Baltic Sea. To solve this problem a joint approach that combines different stakeholders from different locations within a circular reflection of the issue is needed.
    The post covid “restart” of different industries needs to be more responsible than before. To successfully implement a green recovery, the involvement of industry is essential. A circular approach for different issues like plastic pollution will help us, to develop more sustainable solutions throughout the complete lifecycle of products and processes by integrating various stakeholders at different stages of the circle. Together with the city of Rostock the team of researchers will show, why this is a problem, how it is created and how it can be addressed.


    Scope of the workshop:
    • Defining the litter problem in the Baltic Sea
    • Establishing cooperation between research and industry by matching industrial needs with the scientific methods developed


    Hosted by:
    • VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
    • RISE Research Institutes of Sweden
    • Fraunhofer Germany


    Part 1 – Plastic Pollution in the Baltic Sea (Kick-Start presentations) – 50 min
    Sources and State of Plastic Litter in the Baltic Sea
    Monitoring Macroscopic and Microscopic Plastic Litter
    Reduction and Recovery of Plastic Litter
    Recycling of Plastic Litter


    Part 2 – Interactive discussion and conclusions – 40 min
    Opening: An Environmental Protection Perspective on Plastic Litter in the Baltic.
    Discussion and interactive live polls between:
    • The Audience
    • Speakers and Institutions from Part 1
    • Invited companies, institutions and NGOs who propose solutions or identify further research needs

    Key questions that will be discussed are:
    • What are the key challenges to overcome, how big is the problem in the Baltic Sea?
    • Who will drive and invest in technical solutions?
    • Where do you see the highest potential mid- and long term?
    • What could solutions look like if budget was no problem?
    You should participate, if
    … you are interested in new technological concepts on aquatic litter monitoring
    … have business interest in aquatic litter detection and cleaning
    … do research in the field and seek for cooperation partners
    … would like to engage in this topic and pro-actively work towards minimizing the effects of one of the biggest ecological challenges.

    Organiser – Fraunhofer Gesellschaft Germany

    Acoustic Ecology in the Baltic Sea region

    This workshop intends to inaugurate a regional, interdisciplinary network of professionals interested in the history, present condition, and future of acoustic environments and sonic heritage in the Baltic Sea region. The overarching aim of this forum is to collectively work towards building awareness about the importance of sound regarding many domains of life that pertain to both human and other-than-human species. As many studies demonstrate, the increase in sound pollution affects our well-being. Moreover, underwater noise has been proven to cause devastating effects on multiple ecosystems and marine species. Simultaneously, conscious use of sound and its various expressions have been crucial to local identities, regional cultural conducts, and practices in the coastal areas of Baltic Sea. The aim of our network will be to bring attention to those intended and unintended sonic realms, and we believe that by working across disciplines and national boundaries we are able to address our vision. Following principles of the already established World Forum for Acoustic Ecology, this regional initiative will work through coordinating cultural and research activities inclusive of artists, scholars, environmentalists, activists, and youth. These activities will include soundscape studies, cultural and environmental soundwalks, sound mapping among other actions. We plan to organize a series of workshops engaging wider audiences in collective listening to diverse environments that constitute the richness of the Baltic Sea region. This inaugural workshop is open to any individuals and groups who share similar concerns about the Baltic Sea region and who would like to get involved.


    Organiser – Baltic Forum for Acoustic Ecology

    Engaged society – examples of active collaboration between project partners and local society for green recovery and more sustainable regions

    The event will be a joint discussion of five projects engaged in:


    1. green technologies and environmental protection,
    2. skills and labour development and education services for different target groups
    3. connecting and involving institutions to establish future partnerships


    The discussion aims to present and inspire participants on how the cross-border cooperation projects can effectively involve local society, youth, and local authorities in activities for green recovery on different levels. The variety of invited speakers will allow leading the discussion towards many fields and threads. Invited to the discussion are representatives of such projects as WASTEMAN, Baltic for All, Umbrella, ArchaeoBalt and SEAPLANSPACE who will present concrete examples of what they did in the context of local community collaboration and their engagement, as well as the impact of the communities’ activities on the sustainable development of their regions. They will discuss options for cross-border training, and networking – all aiming at greener future of small regions and establishing partnerships. After this session, participants will be able to identify which option for close partnership is suitable for their organisation, a project, or a cluster and how to engage local society for green recovery and more sustainable regions.


    Organiser – Interreg South Baltic Programme 2014-2020

    09:30 - 10:00
    10:00 - 10:30

    Energy efficiency measures: the key role on the implementation of national energy and climate plan for 2021-2030

    Fit for 55 is a goal set by Europe to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030, (compared to 1990 levels), as a milestone on its way to reaching the 2050 climate neutrality target. In July this year, the European Commission adopted a comprehensive package of interconnected policy activities that allow delivering on the climate and energy ambitions – the European Green Deal. Currently, European countries have adopted the existing policies, including the national energy and climate plans. However, the countries should assess and adjust the plans in order to fulfill the fit for 55 aims.

    Energy efficiency is a key area of action, which is critical for the decarbonisation of the European economy. It should be noted that the annual energy savings obligations target has almost doubled from the current level of 0.8% to 1.5%. The European Union will also require its member states to reduce the primary and final energy consumption in 2020-2030 by 39% and 32% respectively. The transport and buildings sectors are facing the greatest challenge. Together, both sectors consume almost 80% of final energy and will have to implement most of the foreseen measures.

    The effective use of all measures (technological, innovative, economic, also in education and consultation, etc.) and incentives to change consumer behavior are crucial to achieving the targets for energy efficiency and emission reduction.

    It is also essential to develop cooperation between stakeholders at regional level through the exchange of experience and good practices, awareness-raising initiatives to solve energy efficiency issues.

    The meeting will highlight examples of energy efficiency measures related to the contribution to the objectives of the National Energy and Climate Plans. Participants will also have the opportunity to reflect on the examples presented and to connect back to their national contexts through identifying their needs and possible future steps.


    Organiser – PA Energy/ Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Lithuania


    Note: The date of the event has been changed from September 28th to September 30th.

    Teaching and learning powered by digital technology

    Few groups have been less vulnerable to the coronavirus than school children, but few groups have been more affected by the policy responses to contain this virus. The crisis has exposed many of the inadequacies and inequities in our school systems – from access to the broadband and computers needed for online education, the supportive environments needed to focus on learning, up to a failure to enable local initiative and to align our resources with the needs. However, as the pandemic amplifies educational inequities, this moment also holds the possibility that we will not just go back to the status quo when things return to “normal”. It is the nature of our collective and systemic responses to the disruptions that will determine how we are affected by them.


    When countries closed their schools in early 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, all teaching became mediated by digital technologies. In the year since, teachers, students and administrators have done, what is effectively, a collective crash course on digital education. There have been many downsides to it, from screen fatigue and adaptation stress to the falling behind of those ill-equipped for digital learning or unprepared to learn on their own. But the experience has catapulted education systems, traditionally laggards when it comes to innovation, years ahead in what would have been a slow slouch towards smart schooling.


    In this workshop, we will take a closer look at the lessons learned from distance education in the Baltic Sea Region. In addition, we will discuss what we should expect from a post-COVID reality. What will our new “normal” look like?


    Organiser – PA Education

    Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage: an essential technology for achieving carbon neutrality

    The deployment of full-scale carbon capture (utilisation) and storage (CC(U)S) on a global scale is key to achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement and mitigating climate change. In the power sector, CC(U)S is key for fossil fuel-based generation, for delivering the deep emission reductions needed for fossil fuel-based power and many industrial applications, while this technology offers opportunities for “negative emissions”. It could also help ensure a secure supply in a clean electricity system with an increased number of variable renewable energy shares.

    Although much potential exists in the Baltic Sea region (BSR) for CC(U)S with potential storage sites localized in the Baltic Basin in several countries, such as Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Russia, the BSR is still lagging behind in deploying a large-scale CC(U)S due to the national policy and regulatory frameworks, which create unfavorable conditions for the technology integration, as well as the public’s low awareness and acceptability in most of the countries of the region.

    This event will consist of three talks, which will give an overview of the current state of play of the CC(U)S technology in the BSR.


    Organiser – BASRECCS

    10:30 - 11:00
    11:00 - 11:30
    11:30 - 12:00
    12:00 - 12:30

    NETWORKING VILLAGE III: Foster green innovations

    30th of September, 12:00-13:00

    “Foster green innovations”

    The Annual Forum 2021 is all about GREEN. We aim at sharing best practices and experiences of green transition in the region. Therefore, we provide a platform for the researchers, entrepreneurs to present their green innovations for the audience of the event. This networking village will be held right before the Plenary Session on Green Recovery and will definitely inspire the speakers of the Session.



    12.00 Introduction speech: Why green innovations are necessary today?” 

    12.10 OPEN SPACE TECHNOLOGY (initiatives presentations, debates, project introductions– in the form of small group work or one-to-one meetings) 

    12.50 Reporting 

    12.55 Quiz & awards

    13.00 Closing of the session

    12:30 - 13:00
    13:00 - 13:30


    The European Green Deal, presented by the European Commission in December 2019, is set to lead the European Union to the first climate-neutral, modern and competitive economy by implementing its key factors: carbon neutrality, a circular economy, zero pollution and the restoration of biodiversity. Furthermore, this ambition should be implemented in less than 30 years (by 2050).

    The COVID-19 pandemic not only affected the health sector, but also raised challenges to economic, social, foreign and other policies.  However, it also provided the European Union with possibilities to accelerate the European green agenda. The European response to this crisis has been solidarity, stronger cooperation and political will to ensure the continent becomes more resilient and better prepared for possible crisis in the future.

    The European Council agreement on 1,8 trillion EUR financial packaged (Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 and recovery plan “Next Generation EU”) created conditions for swift and sustainable recovery, GREEN being the keyword as one third of these financial resources will be allocated to green transformation.

    Taking into account that the national recovery and resilience plans are already being adopted, the focus now is on their swift and efficient implementation.

    Therefore, the European Union has the plan (“what?” – The European Green Deal), the tools (“how”? -“Next Generation EU”) and the political ambition and determination. However, the key question is whether the element “who” is fulfilled. Do our societies and businesses understand the need of green “revolution” and inevitable changes as well as implications it might bring? What role the education, skills development and inclusiveness play in the process? How more intense cross-border cooperation, including at the macro-regional strategies’ level, can accelerate the green recovery?

    While EU Member States are focused on national strategies of implementation of green agenda, it is also important to consider the role closer cooperation at the macro-regional level could and should play in the process of green transition. Do the objectives of the Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and the European green agenda coincide? Could they supplement each other? How the Strategy and stakeholders implementing it can become key players in accelerating green agenda? How the public support for green initiatives should be gained and how a participatory process could be ensured? Social dimension, including education and skills, of development of sustainable economy in the EU also requires thorough discussion.

    The 3rd Plenary session will focus on the green recovery and its regional dimension. Particular attention will be paid to the role the education, the development of the skills as well as inclusive process could play in strengthening public support for green transformation and ensuring involvement and ownership of societies and businesses.


    The project is co-financed by Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme

    13:30 - 14:00
    14:00 - 14:30
    14:30 - 15:00
    15:00 - 15:30

    The importance of collaboration between regional Clusters in the Baltic Sea Region and the impact of BSR Cluster Manager Education

    This session will be an interactive panel discussion with multilevel experts and stakeholders. The aim is to highlight the importance of collaboration and education for Cluster Managers, both on an EUSBSR level and for single Cluster Managers and companies and how the Erasmus+ project ´BSR Cluster Manager Education´ is contributing to this.

    We will talk about:

    -The benefits of regional clusters

    -The importance of well-educated Cluster Managers in EUSBSR

    -Skills needed for a Cluster Manager – with representatives from Educational Organisations in the project BSR Cluster Manager Education

    -Participation in the pilot education

    -Needs from companies, members in clusters in Baltic Sea Region


    Facilitator: Kevin Sanikidze and/or Katarina Hansell


    Organiser – PA Education, PA Innovation

    Hazardous Objects in the Baltic Sea – management options

    Dumped chemical and conventional munitions are a problem for the environment and industry. Over 40 000 t of chemical munitions and roughly 500 000 t of conventional munitions are located in the Baltic, some of them on marked dumpsites, and some dispersed. This creates an environmental pressure by leaking military material, and hinders offshore development. Future trends are unknown, since some of the material is still contained in corroding containers. A common solution is needed to address this issue – a set of management options which would include monitoring, identification of munitions that are no longer a threat to the Environment and remediation of those which are most dangerous or in conflict with offshore economy.

    The seminar will include a block of presentations focused on following questions:

    The seminar plans to answer the question, how Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) and Discarded Military Material (DMM) affect the environment and economy – in terms of its influence on fisheries, tourism, navigation and offshore development. An attempt to evaluate the possible management strategies will be made

    Assesment of EU potential to act in case of DMM and UXO related accidents – as ie. massive release due to corrosion or anthropogenic disturbance will be discussed, and means to raise such potential discussed.

    Existing tools for munition management, such as toolboxes for risk assessment or Decision Support Systems will be presented, and their utilization discussed.

    This presentation block will be followed by a panel discussion, where speakers and organizers will discuss possible future developments and answer questions from the public.


    Organiser – Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Sciences

    Connect the Baltic Sea Region with the Arctic Region – Ways forward to unlock the potential for sustainable development and to realise the ambitions of the EU Green Deal

    Moderation: Mr Nicolas Brookes, CPMR Executive Director

    Introduction 15:00-15:10, Mr Tomas Mörtsell, Vice-President of the CPMR Baltic Sea Commission, Chair of the BSC Arctic Task Force, Region Västerbotten

    A connected Arctic and Baltic Sea Region as driver for sustainable development and to realise the Green Deal (15:10-15:50)

    • Mr Tomas Häyry, Mayor of City of Vaasa, about the Nordic Battery Belt, as great opportunity for Nordic regions
    • Ms Leena Leskinen, Business manager at Finnish Forest Centre
    • Mr Esa Kokkonen, Director of the Baltic Institute of Finland, Policy Area Coordinator, EUSBSR, Policy Area Innovation


    Ensuring the conditions for connecting the Arctic and the Baltic while fostering sustainable development 

    Connecting Baltic Sea Region with the Arctic Region requires territorial accessibility and investments in infrastructure and transport (15:45-16:30)

    • Mr Olav Jern, Senior advisor at Kvarken Council EGTC and former Chief Executive Officer of the Regional Council of Ostrobothnia
    • Ms Anne Sörensson, project manager, Green Flyway about promoting sustainable aviation as way to connect regions
    • Mr Jari Vilen, Ambassador, Barents and Northern Dimension, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland to present the Northern Dimension Partnership on Transport and Logistics

    Connecting Baltic Sea Region with Arctic Region requires multilevel cooperation (16:30-17:20)

    • Mr Anders Josefsson, Vice Chair of the City Executive Committee of Luleå City, Member of Union of Baltic Cities and Arctic Mayors Forum
    • Mr Tomas Norvoll, Chair of Nordland County, Chair of the Northern Sparsely Populated Areas network
    • Mr Olav Berstad, Representative from the Norway Presidency of Council of the Baltic Sea States, Senior Adviser of the Nordic-Baltic Section, European Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway


    Concluding remarks, Mr Michael Mann, Special Envoy for Arctic matters, European External Action Service (17:20-17:30)


    Description of the seminar:

    In light of the revision of a new Action Plan for the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) and a new EU Arctic policy in 2021, this seminar will explore how the Baltic Sea interlinks with the European Arctic, how the two macro-regional territories can connect, complement and strengthen each other to unlock potential for sustainable development in these territories and contribute to achieve the Green Deal.


    The implementation of the new EUSBSR Action Plan should consider the Arctic dimension, as the development of the Arctic in a sustainable way benefits the Baltic Sea Region and the European Union, and vice versa. Furthermore, the new EUSBSR Action Plan put emphasis on the importance of cooperation and coordination with the neighbouring non-EU countries of the Baltic Sea Region, including Iceland, Norway and Russia which are three Arctic states.


    The seminar should also feed into the reflection on a new EU Arctic policy 2021, with the publication of an EU communication expected in October 2021. The new EU Arctic policy should consider the link with the Baltic Sea Region and how to connect the two macro-regional areas further, and help to foster the green transition of the BSR.


    The seminar is also the opportunity to showcase existing examples, fostering green and sustainable development, at the gateway to the Arctic and on top of the Baltic Sea, with added value to the whole of Europe. The discussion will also focus on the need for stronger interregional cooperation, multilevel cooperation, as well as sufficient transport infrastructure to connect the Arctic with the Baltic and achieve the green transition in both areas.


    Angle of debate: How can the Baltic Sea Region benefit from the sustainable development of the Arctic? What innovative growth potential in the European Arctic entitles stakeholders to invest in innovation, transport and digital infrastructure to connect the Baltic with the Arctic? These questions will be addressed from a local, national, macro-regional and EU perspectives.


    The seminar is organised by the Arctic Task Force of the CPMR Baltic Sea Commission, chaired by Tomas Mörtsell, Region Västerbotten, Sweden.

    Cities as leaders in Green recovery

    30th of September – 15:00-18:00 “Cities as leaders in Green recovery“

    The session will be dedicated to showcasing cities’ strategic projects in advancing green projects and initiatives in terms of transport, food, ecology, smart cities and discovering the role of European and cross-border cooperation in this matter.



    15.00 Introduction to the day & Welcome speech from the UBC

    15.05 – 15.55 Session I “Infrastructure green recovery – a base?”

    16.00 – 16.50 Session II “European project and networking” 

    17.00 – 17.50 Session III “Lifestyles and cities – can we do more?”

    17.50 – 18.00 Closing remarks 


    *During each session of 50 minutes, 3 cities will present their practices (10 min each) and 20 minutes will be dedicated to Q&A and debate moderated by the UBC team.

    15:30 - 16:00
    16:00 - 16:30

    Empowering Youth for Green Entrepreneurship

    The transition towards sustainable economies, in line with the European Green Deal, requires a shift in the business models and in the way we produce and consume goods and services. Already before the pandemic outburst, young people have clearly showed commitment, competence, and good ideas to support the green transition. Policy-makers have increasingly realised the central role the youth can play to shape the future of Europe and of the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). Youth inclusion is now incorporated into the EUSBSR, the CBSS Vilnius II Declaration, the Nordic Vision 2030 and many national policy strategies and programmes. However, young entrepreneurs who hold sustainability as a core principle have faced many challenges along the way. Age and gender have often hindered them from being taken seriously, and their ideas have at times thought to be mere utopia. At the same time, many young people have found a fertile ground to promote innovative ideas, in a region that is frontrunner in generating environmental awareness. Many successful start-ups and initiatives in the BSR, often led by young entrepreneurs, are showing the way forward into the green transition. Still, the access to finance in form of loans, as well as the lack of financial instruments aiming to support young entrepreneurs, remain key challenges for green innovations to take off.

    This panel discussion will give a platform to young entrepreneurs from across the BSR to share their insights on how to start a green business and provide their experience regarding existing obstacles and barriers for receiving funding and building a business model. The panel will also give the floor to representatives of financial institutions and programmes. Potential actions will be discussed on how to improve the status quo regarding financial mechanisms and accessibility and how to provide a more supportive environment for young people to start their business in the BSR.


    Organiser – Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), Nordregio

    16:30 - 17:00
    17:00 - 17:30
    17:30 - 18:00
    09:00 - 09:30

    Improvement connectivity in the BSR aiming to promote complementary national and regional activities along the CNCs, addressing green multimodal logistics, integration of urban nodes and remote rural areas

    The Baltic Sea Region is not homogeneous and has a strong spatial diversity. This Region includes bustling metropolises and quiet areas from them. One most important tasks of the transport policy in the BSR is to improve internal connections, and help expanding cities to `cope with new bottlenecks and congestions in urban and suburban passenger transport, as well as in freight transport. What is more, it is very important to have a good transport connection with other macro regions of the European Union The revised EUSBSR Transport Action Plan therefore attaches a great importance to the development of three TEN-T core network corridors Baltic-Adriatic, Scandinavian –Mediterranean and North Sea –Baltic, crossing the territory of the BSR. The development of these corridors, using innovative transport solutions and green technologies aims to provide high quality transport services for business operating among Europe’s most important transport and logistics hubs, as well as providing passenger’s convenient and safe connections to Europe’s major tourist and cultural centers. At the same time, within the whole BSR it is very important to find and adopt rational solutions for ensuring mobility services for the inhabitants of remote and shrinking settlements

    It is obvious, that successful implementation of above mentioned ambitious tasks are incomprehensible without the involvement of stakeholders from EU, national and regional levels. Understandably, that the European Coordinators, who coordinate the actions and plans of national governments, play a key role in the development of the TEN-T core network corridors. At the same time, the representatives of regional administrations and municipalities in the BSR, as well as researchers from universities and consulting companies are becoming increasingly important actors assisting on how to successfully reap the benefits of the development of the TEN-T core corridors for local business and citizens.

    The transport panel discussion will provide a wide opportunity for the regional transport planners and experts of the BSR countries to share their insights and research results on the potential benefits for the regions of the development of the TEN-T transport corridors. Understandably, also by identifying the challenges that need to be overcome to maximize those benefits.


    Organiser – PA Transport (Coordination Group)

    Fertilizer leakage issue. Farming impact for Baltic Sea. What can be done? Sustainable farming practices, latest researches

    Climate change, depleting of global bioresources, the important need to supply food, clean water and energy for humanity are stimulating to promote innovations. And those innovations are inseparable from bioeconomy, offering the integrated approach to economic prosperity, social and environmental sustainability in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture. The most important advantage of bioeconomy is to create conditions for the switch from fossil fuel to the sustainably operating society. Thus, sustainable bioeconomy is closely linked with green and blue economy and is the main part of circular economy.


    Bioeconomy is not a separate segment of economy; it is a horizontal interdisciplinary area, encompassing farmers, consumers, industrial undertakings, service providers, etc.


    Climate change, bioresource depletion, the importance of a stable global food supply, access to clean water and energy stimulate innovation. And those innovation efforts are inseparable from bioeconomy, offering an integrated approach to economic prosperity, social and environmental sustainability in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture. The most important advantage of bioeconomy is the ability to create favorable conditions for a transition from fossil fuels to a sustainable society. Thus, sustainable bioeconomy is closely related with the green and blue economies, and is the main part of circular economy.


    Bioeconomy is not a separate segment of economy; it is a horizontal interdisciplinary area, encompassing farmers, consumers, industrial undertakings, service providers, etc.


    The objectives of bioeconomy: to reduce dependence on non-renewable raw materials, to increase energy safety and to cut energy costs, to create the potential for the emergence and development of innovative products, to provide opportunities for economic growth and an increase in jobs, and to create conditions for market development.


    The reviewed Bioeconomy Strategy, adopted by the European Commission in October 2018, aims to achieve these goals. To create a harmonious circular bioeconomy, joint efforts of authorities and business entities are needed. To stimulate the joint effort, the European Commission already in 2019 started implementing 14 specific measures, including an efficient deployment of the bioeconomy in Europe, ecosystem protection and perception of the ecological limitations of the bioeconomy.


    The current bioeconomy market in Europe amounts to EUR 2.4 trillion, with about 2 billion tonnes of biomass used in the production and 22 million persons employed. New types of manufacturing industries are being developed. The OECD forecasts that bioeconomy until 2055 will be the basic principle of the European economic development.


    Organiser – PA Bioeconomy/ PA Nutri

    Wetlands creating landowner benefits

    The purpose of this workshop is to initialise a long-term project aiming to increase the speed of creation and restoration of wetlands in Europe. Wetlands are multifunctional biotopes. They are rich in biological diversity, providing habitat for a plethora of plants and animals including nursery habitats for many fish; they reduce risk of flooding and drought by buffering precipitation; they reduce nutrient run-off and erosion from farmland and urban areas which reduces eutrophication; and they are carbon sinks. All these functions are highly wanted both to mitigate the effects of climate change and to reduce concentrations of greenhouse gasses. However, the present area of European wetlands is only a fraction of what it used to be. Many European wetlands have been exploited and drained for various purposes, e.g. for agriculture and establishment of human settlements. Constructing or restoring wetlands will thus be an important, perhaps even necessary, part of the EU Green recovery.

    The workshop will first give a general view of the benefits of wetlands and the challenges associated with creating more and efficient wetlands. Different activities that can give landowners incentive, e.g. economic profit, to create wetlands will be presented as a start of group discussions. Avoiding drought and flooding of farmland can increase crop yield. Hiking, fishing tourism and agritourism may also be beneficial to the landowner. For a public landowner there are additional benefits, such as increased possibilities for recreation, education and attractive environments in housing areas. During the workshop, a network will be formed with participants interested in continuing cooperation to find ways to increase wetland construction and restoration. A possible goal is that the network develops a project for a joint application to one of the macro-regional strategy funds.

    Target groups for the workshop are farmer organisations and landowners interested in constructing or restoring wetlands, NGOs and officials at local, regional, or national authorities working with wetlands, tourism, or rural development.


    Organiser – County Administrative Board of Stockholm

    Green advanced materials technologies in the hydrogen future

    Novel advanced materials research and innovation avenues exploring hydrogen as an emerging technologies concept (such as mixed ionic-electronic materials for fuel cells, mechanical materials for hydrogen storage, etc.) are addressed. The aim is to share experiences and best practices through a stakeholder exchange among researchers, innovators, regional stakeholders, need owners, industry, etc.


    The technologies will create products and services. These will be adopted by stakeholders. The research and innovation domain is facing a challenge – the routes from the emerging technologies to stakeholder and market uptake are not known. This can be better understood through an exchange of opinions on the latest developments in the field.


    The green hydrogen future depends on the advanced materials research and innovation, which is developing and introducing new key enabling technologies. This is made possible by learning to overcome barriers present in the research utilization, innovation communities, and partially societal change. For example, technologies are introduced through value chains due to technical motivation. At the same time, there are regional strategies, such as research and innovation strategies for smart specialization (S3) promoted by the European Commission. These bring together actors that in fact also address value chains. The exchange between technology and regional actors will allow more understanding of how to create synergy in their implementation. Stakeholder exchange will result in a knowledge community. It is expected to elevate the existing smart specialization strategies (S3) to the next level of smart specialization strategies for sustainable and inclusive growth (S4+).


    The overall aim is, therefore, to create mutual understanding and synergies. This is only possible by involving engaged stakeholders. This session initiates community exchange in the BSR with the purpose of involving active individuals and organizations related to green advanced materials in the hydrogen future. It will lead to cooperation, partnerships, as well as BSR and EU projects.


    Organiser – JMS Center for Research Utilisation | ALMINICA AB (Sweden), Aalto University (Finland)

    09:30 - 10:00
    10:00 - 10:30

    International assistance in emergencies and disasters – procedures and practicalities for requesting and receiving assistance in the event of a natural or manmade disaster in the Baltic Sea Region

    The 2-hour slot at 10-12 am (EEST) on Sept. 29, 2021 will comprise a short introduction followed by 5-6 expert presentations and a concluding panel discussion, which also enables Q & A with the audience. The session and the panel discussion will be moderated by Prof. Lauri Ojala, OIL SPILL Project Director.

    The session deals with Host Nation Support activities of Rescue Services and focuses on coastal and maritime incidents involving oil or chemical spills. The following themes will be covered (not necessarily in the order of appearance ) under the title “Host Nation Support and RescEU in coastal and maritime incidents involving oil or chemical spills”

    – Welcoming words by Policy Area on Maritime Safety and Security – Mr. Valtteri Laine

    – General description of EU Civil Protection Mechanism and its use in events requiring cross-border incidents, presentation by DG ECHO

    – RescEU mechanism under the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and its use in firefighting requiring cross-border action, presentation by DG ECHO/RescEU


    Focal presentations on Combatting Maritime Oil and Chemical Spills

    – A maritime authority view – Mr. Markku Mylly, frm DG of European Maritime Safety Agency

    – A HELCOM view – Executive Secretary Mr. Rüdiger Strempel

    – A Host Nation Support view from Rescue Services – Mr. Mikael Mattila, Southwest Finland Emergency Service, Project Manager of a Finnish HNS Rescue Service

    – A Host Nation Support view from Rescue Services – Swedish Rescue Services (TBC)


    Concluding panel discussion with Q & A


    Organiser – OIL SPILL and PA Safe

    New European Bauhaus Initiative in development – how can it be linked to the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region

    In January 2021, the European Commission launched a design phase of the New European Bauhaus initiative. It is an environmental, economic and cultural project, aiming to combine design, sustainability, accessibility, affordability and investment in order to help deliver the European Green Deal. The New European Bauhaus calls on all creative minds to engage into interdisciplinary process, reimagine and build together living environment that is beautiful, sustainable and inclusive.


    This panel discussion aims to explore how the initiative and values promoted by the New European Bauhaus could contribute to achieving the goals of the EUSBSR. It will introduce the case studies related to holistic transformation of urban areas and will further evolve around analysing the aspects of culture and its potential to drive sustainable and inclusive living in the city.


    Organiser – Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania

    Enhancing stakeholder and citizen engagement within the EUSBSR Green Transition

    The Swedish Institute, in cooperation with Euroregion Baltic Secretariat, the Union of the Baltic Cities Secretariat and Nordregio, invite you to a webinar exploring different collaborative governance models for enhancing stakeholder engagement in the Baltic Sea Region. The webinar aims to boost stakeholder involvement within emerging EUSBSR initiatives related to the green transition. The programme consists of two parts:

    The first part will focus on:

    • A policy perspective on stakeholder and citizen engagement in the EUSBSR.
    • An overview of different EUSBSR governance concepts and practices.
    • Practical learnings from ongoing projects, focusing on concrete stakeholder and citizen involvement tools, methods and practices from the Umbrella 2.0 capacity building programme examining how to engage local stakeholders and CSOs in frameworks such as the EUSBSR.
    • Hands-on practices coming from regional city networks working on the green transition in the Baltic Sea region.

    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 green transition.

    The second part of the webinar will open up the stage to the audience. Smaller group discussions will be arranged to discuss your possible role in future Baltic Sea Region collaborations. Interactive discussions based on participants own personal experiences will be carried out, focusing on: 1) identifying alternative stakeholder engagement best practice tools and methods; 2) establishing how to overcome the challenges of stakeholder mobilisation; 3) exploring the benefits of engagement and how to incentivise stakeholder to become more proactively involved. The key take-aways part of the discussion will be reported to the Annual Forum organisers.

    For more information, please contact Gabor Schneider


    Organiser – Swedish Insititute, Umbrella 2.0, Nordregio

    10:30 - 11:00
    11:00 - 11:30
    11:30 - 12:00
    12:00 - 12:30

    NETWORKING VILLAGE II: Meet the colleagues

    29 September, 12:00-13:00

    II Networking village: „Meet the colleagues“

    The organizers provide the opportunity to schedule bilateral/ multilateral meetings with the registered participants of the Annual Forum 2021. Meet, discuss, consult, cooperate!



    12.00 Introduction speech II: “3 reasons why to cooperate macro-regionally?” 

    12.10 OPEN SPACE TECHNOLOGY (initiatives presentations, debates, project introductions– in the form of small group work or one-to-one meetings) 

    12.50 Reporting 

    12.55 Quiz & awards

    13.00 Closing of the session

    12:30 - 13:00
    13:00 - 13:30


    The COVID-19 pandemic has had huge impact not only on public health, but also on the economy and social systems. The European Union and its Member States took immediate measures to mitigate socio-economic consequences of the health crisis (such as “Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE)”). They also decided on financial tools that shall ensure greater recovery and resilience of the EU (recovery plan “Next Generation EU”). However, the long-term effects of the pandemic on particular groups of our societies will be different and thus require targeted response.

    The Annual Forum 2021 of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region aims at encouraging youth participation in the cross-border cooperation and implementation of the Strategy. In addition, it also contributes to the ongoing Conference on the Future of Europe. Therefore, the 2nd plenary session will focus on the social challenges caused by COVID-19 pandemic for the young people.

    The pandemic and lockdown measures have already severely affected young people’s work and income (Eurostat estimated the youth unemployment rate in the EU has risen from 14.9% to 17.1% since the onset of the pandemic), education and learning (distance learning; digital divide), mental health and wellbeing. All these factors are interconnected: learning disruption today can affect employment and income prospects in the future, and the latter can affect wellbeing and mental health.

    The European Council’s Strategic Agenda 2019-2024 recognises the role of young people in building a climate-neutral, green, fair, digital and social Europe. EU Council Conclusions has been adopted strengthening the multilevel governance when promoting the participation of young people in
    decision-making processes. Nevertheless, principal issues remain and need to be discussed in a thorough way.

    Is adequate political attention dedicated to tackle the challenges the youth faces in post-pandemic situation? Given that young professionals actively contributed to managing the COVID-19 pandemic (doctors, researchers, etc.), are the young people sufficiently involved in the decision-making process and if not, how their participation could be strengthened? What role more intense cross-border cooperation could play in ensuring swift overcoming of social challenges for the youth? What role the Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region could take up in order to ensure as balanced development throughout the region as possible?  

    This plenary session will focus on the social dimension and the challenges the youth encounters due to COVID-19 pandemic. The participants will search for the ways the multilateral cooperation could contribute to enabling the young people to participate more actively in the decision-making process.  


    The project is co-financed by Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme

    13:30 - 14:00
    14:00 - 14:30
    14:30 - 15:00
    15:00 - 15:30

    Digitalization efforts in ports

    Digitalization is a driver of innovation and sustainability across all sectors, and effectively addresses many of the global challenges that citizens and businesses face today. This also affects global shipping and ports, where macro-regional collaboration on maritime digitalisation, including in harbours and ports, can help turn climate and environmental challenges into new opportunities in line with the EU Green Deal, strengthen crisis management and rescue capabilities in ports and at sea, and address the rising threat of cyberattacks. The European Commission also points to the need for coordinated and optimized port calls.

    During the pandemic the digitalization efforts in the maritime domain has increased a lack of coordination and fragmented approaches run the risk becoming a bottleneck for further development and improvements in efficiency. A more harmonized and coordinated approach would make it possible to offer streamlined services throughout the region, make better use of current project results and give these results a chance to become adopted and scale.

    There is a fragmentation among the Baltic States as well as in industry and shipping in how digitalization best can be used to assist effective, seamless, and secure transport flow through Baltic ports and the linking of shipping with connecting rail and road transports. This fragmentation can be de-fragmentized with various methods that supports and guides stakeholders, projects and initiatives. To steer stakeholders clear to avoid becoming isolated digitalized islands.

    In the workshop, we will explore the gaps and learning points of existing initiatives and approaches and identify opportunities and threats. We will gain new perspectives, insights, and inputs by inviting participants from academia, industry, and governments to discuss and co-develop ideas for strategic projects that can take macro-regional collaboration on maritime digitalisation to the next level.

    The breakout sessions are titled:

    1. From project focus to more process based thinking – introduce the power of the process based thinking as compared (and not in competition) with projects.

    LISA Linking Sea and Land Flagship Process – How to utilize its potential?

    1. BSR Access Workshop – In BSR Access own suggested workshop they will include urban nodes and last mile topics. This breakout-session will illustrate the functioning of BSR Access and LISA in the transition and creation of the LISA Flagship process.


    Organiser – PA Transport

    Real-Time Economy (RTE) Community Building

    RTE can be related to any field, to all EUSBSR Policy Areas, primarily concerning topics of the twin digital and green transitions. It is about the synergy of digitalisation and the exchange of data of any area of life in real time.
    RTE is a tool to tackle societal challenges caused by the COVID-pandemic and to develop macroregional recovery measures, especially focusing on green/sustainable recovery bringing forward digitalisation and new solutions. In this way, we can build more resilient economies and strengthen the EUSBSR/BSR contribution to the EU’s Green Deal and its ambitious goals on the twin digital and green transitions.
    Regarding green recovery-related opportunities in the Baltic Sea region, one interesting opportunity is the utilisation of data generated from digitalisation to foster the interlink of the highly complex circular economy/industrial symbiosis value chains across the diverse BSR regions.
    In general, the RTE concept is a highly useful tool to facilitate digital, data-driven solutions for sustainable business.

    The workshop consists of three parts:
    1) Presentation: Introduction of RTE concept, RTE building-blocks and services (Accounting and reporting, e-logistics, Circular economy), practical examples;
    2) Invitation to join cross-border projects and initiatives;
    3) Call for Action and Discussion:
    a) compiling joint cross-border project applications- real prototypes of digital services/solutions developments;
    b) give input European Commission Technical Support Instrument project in interview format.

    Reet Reismaa – PA Innovation coordinator, Estonian Ministry of Economy and Communications,
    Sirli Heinsoo – the RTE flagship lead, Estonian Ministry of Economy and Communications,


    Organiser – PA Innovation

    Green transition in maritime industries, clean shipping, involving maritime businesses and representatives from the neighbouring countries Norway, Iceland and Russia: linking Baltic and Arctic perspectives

    Green transition in maritime industries


    The panel will address the crucial question about the Baltic Sea Region – the clean shipping with the involvement of maritime businesses – and will stress the connection of the Baltic and Arctic perspectives through the engagement of representatives of such neighboring countries, as Norway, Iceland, and Russia.

    Several institutions and organisations in the BSR are currently adopting strategic papers on the blue economy, green transition of the maritime sector, and, generally, are focusing on clean shipping, alternative fuel, as well as action plans to make the BSR a model region for sustainable maritime economy, at both regional and national levels. The purpose of the panel is to bring different stakeholders together to discuss how to implement these strategies in practice, as well as to identify common challenges and opportunities. The cross-sectorial approach is crucial to these discussions. Therefore, the event will present the perspective, involving the private sector and maritime industries, to the representatives of international organizations and academia.

    The knowledge and good practices exchanges with the neighboring countries help providing a broader perspective to the discussions, given that the sustainable development of the maritime sector is a common concern and of high relevance for both the Baltic and the Arctic regions.


    Organiser – CBSS (PA Ship, EU DG Mare, VASAB/ PA Spatial Planning)

    Baltic Sea Region Climate Change Curriculum

    Baltic Sea Region Climate Change Curriculum

    The intention of the event is to disseminate outcomes of the Swedish Institute financed project Baltic Sea Region Climate Change Curriculum (BSRCCC) to the academicians, decision makers and broad public. The project was initiated by the Baltic University Programme (BUP) and united twelve project partners from nine Baltic Sea region countries. The project team was established to answer to the growing need of a regionally based climate change education.

    With an increasing threat from Climate Change, there is a growing need for educating students and civil society in the risks and solutions of climate change. The project partners have developed a holistic, scientifically backed and regionally based climate change course module, free for any academic institution, organization or person to download and use.

    Climate Change is a complex topic that does not only focus on a single field of science. Rather, it is a transdisciplinary topic connected to several different areas, ranging between three large branches of science; natural sciences, social sciences and applied science. In order to get a comprehensive understanding of the topic, it is important to have some basic understanding of all the different fields and how they are interconnected.

    Grounded upon previous works, the project team has elaborated study materials based upon the notion, that the complexity of Climate Change can be broken down into six parts, each explaining the most crucial elements of climate change:

    1. It’s Climate – Elaborating on the climate system and its processes.
    2. It’s warming – Explaining the methods to measure climatic changes and the observations of a warming planet.
    3. It’s us – Expounding the causes of the human interference on the climate systems.
    4. We’re sure – Teaching the certainties, uncertainties and scientific methodology behind climate change research.
    5. It’s bad – Showing the projected changes impacts that climate change has and is expected to have on the natural and socio-economic systems.

    Organiser – Kaunas University of Technology (with a group of other universities)

    Cities leading positive social transformations

    29th of September, 15:00-18:00

     “Cities leading positive social transformations”

    The session will be dedicated to showcasing cities’ strategic projects in promoting positive social movements in terms of social inclusion, participatory models in communities and decision making, citizenship initiatives, debating the role of new technologies in promoting social cohesion and finally reflecting on impacts of corona crisis on social movements.


    The agenda:

    15.00 Introduction to the day & Welcome speech from the UBC

    15.05 – 15.55 Session I “Inclusion and integration processes”

    16.00 – 16.50 Session II “Participatory processes and new technologies”

    17.00 – 17.50 Session III “Cultural models for positive transformation”

    17.50 – 18.00 Closing remarks 


    *During each session of 50 minutes, 3 cities will present their practices (10 min each) and 20 minutes will be dedicated to Q&A and a debate moderated by the UBC team.

    15:30 - 16:00
    16:00 - 16:30

    Children and youth as contributors to resilient Baltic Sea Region

    Children and youth’s vulnerability to disasters is expected to increase as the intensity and frequency of natural disasters increases. Building resilience in children and youth and their communities through reducing their vulnerability to disasters is important for every country in the BSR. Children and youth represent a diverse group, both in need of protection during disasters/accidents as well as being potentially active contributors in preparing society to respond to disasters and accidents. The seminar will explore synergies between the work of civil protection authorities, educators, NGOs, social services and law enforcement protecting children and their peers working on increasing children/youth active involvement in making societies more resilient and the entire BSR more safe and secure.


    Organiser – PA Secure

    16:30 - 17:00
    17:00 - 17:30
    17:30 - 18:00
    09:00 - 09:30
    09:30 - 10:00
    10:00 - 10:30
    10:30 - 11:00
    11:00 - 11:30
    11:30 - 12:00
    12:00 - 12:30
    12:30 - 13:00
    13:00 - 13:30


    Over the years of the implementation, the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR), as well as the Region itself has become a role model of multi-level cross-border cooperation. It also established leading practices and created networks that allowed to achieve progress in green transition, economic and social development, research and innovations, digital skills development, water management, renewable resources, clean transport and many other important areas.

    The best experience of the EUSBSR is an example that in order to effectively tackle cross-border, regional and global challenges, the solution needs to be based on cooperation and common action. COVID-19 was another test case. Only common efforts at the international and regional levels led to preservation of the health system as well as mitigation of negative consequences of the pandemic for our economies, social systems, education and other vital policy areas.

    The EU took swift and decisive decisions that allowed keeping our economies alive, saved jobs while at the same time gave an absolute priority to the public health (including enormous investments in the development and production of the vaccine). In addition, by reaching an agreement on the EU Recovery Plan, the EU also sent a very strong signal to the Members States and the international partners about an ambitious recovery that should be green, digital and resilient.

    Our closed partner – the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has added inclusive recovery to this ambitious list. The OECD emphasizes the need for people to maintain their jobs and access to education, to address social inequalities (be it education, lack of digital skills, gender (in)equality, the need to empowering youth, better access to health system, etc.). In the context of this complexed puzzle of the post-COVID recovery, it is evident that more active and closer co-operation could become an impetus for a transformative and inclusive recovery for our societies.

    Hence, while ensuring political will and determination to ensure green and digital recovery as well as stronger resilience, we need to find ways to make this process even more inclusive. In this regard, the EU macro-regional strategies, having a multi-level governance structure, involving various players and stakeholders, while at the same time ensuring cross-border and cross-sectoral cooperation, could become the missing piece of the puzzle. In the wake of COVID-19, the role of the macro-regional strategies could become increasingly even more important in ensuring that the countries of the region RECOVER together through green and digital transformation.

    The macro-regional strategies are about citizens, communities, regions, cities and every one of us. They are inclusive in the sense that they address common challenges of a respective region by implementing cross-border projects “on the ground”. We need to RECHARGE, to get out of our bubbles and to use all the regional networks for further sharing of best practices and experiences, but also for filling gaps. We need to refresh and to achieve more efficient use of our resources, to create new opportunities for the newcomers, in particular for our businesses, non – governmental organizations and other key stakeholders. The question is whether the macro-regional strategies, namely, the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region could become a key player in delivering this ambitious recovery during this decade?

    Taking into account the objectives of the EUSBSR (Save the Sea, Connect the Region, Increase Prosperity), that are fully in line to the EU recovery ambition, what needs to be done to intensify the cross-border cooperation,  to encourage newcomers and stakeholders join? How to REVITALISE the Strategy?  Could the political boost and attention be part of the solution?

    The strategic Opening discussion of the Annual Forum of the EUSBSR will focus on post-COVID-19 recovery and the role the macro-regional cooperation could play in ensuring green, digital, resilient outcome and an inclusive process. It will encourage new ideas on how to make the regional cooperation a role model to achieve shared ambitions. 


    The project is co-financed by Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme


    13:30 - 14:00
    14:00 - 14:30
    14:30 - 15:00
    15:00 - 15:30
    15:30 - 16:00
    16:00 - 16:30
    16:30 - 17:00
    17:00 - 17:30
    17:30 - 18:00

    All times in Central European Time (CET)
    The organisation of workshops/ seminars, including their short descriptions, is the sole responsibility of the respective stakeholders of the EUSBSR.