The Annual Report of the Norwegian Presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) 2021-2022 has recently been published, presenting the accomplishments, the activities and projects in which the CBSS was involved under the lead of Norway from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022.
On 1 July 2021, Norway took over the presidency of the CBSS for one year, at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic still continued to pose a challenge to the Baltic Sea Region.
Furthermore, during the Norwegian tenure, Russia, a former CBSS member, started its war of aggression against Ukraine, leading to its suspension on 3 March 2022 from the Council. On 17 May 2022, Russia formally withdrew from the CBSS.
Against this backdrop, the CBSS work under the Norwegian Presidency 2021-2022 went on unmoved, with Norway attaching particular importance to:
- Accelerating cooperation on the green transition, with an emphasis on innovation and best practice in industry, sustainable transport, clean energy and the circular economy;
- Fostering regional identity and cooperation, working with young people, civil society, and city and subregional authorities across the Baltic Sea Region;
- Supporting the current mandates on civil protection, children at risk and trafficking in human beings, with a strong focus on organised crime and cybercrime.
During the Norwegian Presidency, and for the first time since their last official meeting in 2013, the ministers of foreign affairs and other high-level representatives from the Baltic Sea Region met in Kristiansand, Norway at the 19th Ministerial Session of the CBSS.
In Kristiansand, the ministers agreed on a joint declaration, the Kristiansand Declaration, which, among other things, expresses strong solidarity and support for Ukraine and reaffirms the validity of the Vilnius II Declaration.
Alongside the main Annual Report of the Norwegian Presidency, the CBSS Expert Group on Children at Risk has also released its annual report on its work on children’s rights and child protection in the Baltic Sea Region.