EUSBSR Annual Forum 2022: over 400 participants are moving towards “putting plans into practice” for a better Baltic Sea Region

At the EUSBSR Annual Forum 2022 in Lappeenranta, Finland, one of the largest pan-Baltic policy events, decision makers and experts focused on the concrete implementation of the current strategies and action plans on “Saving the sea”, “Connecting the region” and “Increasing prosperity”, amid the backdrop of the current multiple crises.

Policy makers from the Baltic Sea Region met in Lappeenranta, Finland at the EUSBSR Annual Forum 2022 on 28-29 September 2022 to put “plans into practice” on the current issues affecting the region such as energy, climate change and security. The forum was co-organized by the CBSS.

“We have no time to waste,” said Grzegorz Poznanński, the Director General of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), in his opening remarks at the forum, urging participants to step up their efforts in implementing the agreed-on strategies and action plans for a more prosperous, safer and sustainable Baltic Sea Region.

The Baltic Sea Region is particularly affected by the current crises, especially in security, energy, climate change and biodiversity loss.

Attended by more than 400 participants including leading policy makers such as Finnish Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Pekka Haavisto, and of the Interior, Krista Mikkonen, and representatives from the EU and other organisations operating in the Baltic Sea Region, the event placed a special focus on the implementation of the EUSBSR, or EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region

The EUSBSR’s implementation is guided by its action plan based on three priorities, namely “Saving the sea”, “Connecting the region” and “Increasing prosperity”. 

At the forum, youth representatives also presented the Baltic Sea Youth Declaration 2022 which contains concrete recommendations for implementing the EUSBSR strategy and action plan and, in general, improving the state of the Baltic Sea Region. 

Reflecting their current preoccupations, over 200 young people were involved in the preparation of the declaration. It also contains the outputs of the Baltic Sea Youth Camp 2022 that was held in Lappeenranta earlier in August 2022, as a build-up to the forum.

“Youth is more than a box that is kept under the bed,” said Silva Laure, the youth representative of the CBSS-run Baltic Sea Youth Platform who also attended the forum. “Unlock that box and use youth as a resource to help solve the challenges the Baltic Sea Region is currently facing.”

The forum was co-organized by the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), in conjunction with the City of Lappeenranta, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and Let’s Communicate, the EUSBSR’s communication point. 

The CBSS also moderated the parallel session on “Contribution of EUSBSR cities and regions to combating climate change.”

Launched in 2009, the EUSBSR is the oldest of the four macro-regional strategies of the European Union for the development of a wider transboundary region through a holistic and cross-sectoral approach. It covers 

The CBSS is co-leading one of the policy areas (PA) of the EUSBSR, PA Secure, which deals with civil protection aspects in the Baltic Sea Region, and is involved in several other policy areas.