The CBSS gives young people a voice at the upcoming youth camp and new regional youth forum

Upcoming Baltic Sea Youth Camp and new Baltic Sea Region Youth Forum “elevate the voices of youth so that they can be heard by decisionmakers” in the Baltic Sea Region.

A youth event, the Baltic Sea Youth Camp, will be held in Lappeenranta, Finland on 15 to 19 August 2022. The camp will offer young people five days of workshops and activities to help them implement their ideas and solutions for improving cooperation on the pressing issues the Baltic Sea Region is currently facing.

Initiated by and aimed at 18- to 29-year-olds interested in creating an impact in the region, the Baltic Sea Youth Camp is part of a wider effort by the CBSS to engage young people in the politics and the development of the Baltic Sea Region. 

First organised in 2019 and funded by the Project Support Facility of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), this year’s edition is supported by the City of Lappeenranta and the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme

As recently highlighted by the CBSS ministers in their Vilnius II Declaration, the CBSS supports young people to “participate and [be] represented in a meaningful way in institutions and decision-making processes” in the Baltic Sea Region, “giving impetus to efforts to reach a more resilient, gender equal and safe region.”

Since its beginnings, the camp has notably produced youth input to the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR). The outcomes and recommendations from this year’s camp will be presented at the EUSBSR Annual Forum 2022 that will be held in Lappeenranta, Finland, on 28-29 September 2022. 

Further on youth, the CBSS has recently brought to life the Baltic Sea Region Youth Forum, or BSRYF, which will officially start on 1 January 2023. 

“With the forum, we aim at elevating the incredibly valuable voices of the youth so that they can be heard by decisionmakers,” said Aline Mayr, the Project Coordinator at CBSS overseeing the BSRYF, which builds on the structure and work of the “Baltic Sea Youth Platform”, an Erasmus+ project led by the CBSS.

“The BSRYF will educate young people on decision-making in the Baltic Sea Region and, in the other direction, show policymakers how meaningful and valuable youth participation can be ensured,” she added. 

Participation in the new platform is open to pan-Baltic organisations and networks, national and regional youth councils, and youth organisations in the Baltic Sea Region. Individuals or groups engaged in activities related to the purpose of the forum can also participate.

The CBSS is also due to organise the 9th Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue which will take place in Hamburg in November 2022 and focus on youth involvement in civil protection. The event is organized in partnership with the Federal Foreign Office of Germany and the Hamburg Fire and Rescue Service. 

Over the last decade, the youth topic has become a key pillar of CBSS work, supporting the global efforts to integrate youth more closely in political processes, as recently urged by UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the occasion of the International Youth Day celebrated on 12 August.

“We need to integrate [young people] into decision-making mechanisms at the local, national and international levels,” he said.