CBSS at the EUSBSR Annual Forum 2023 in Riga

The 14th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region “Safe and Sustainable Baltic Sea Region for Future Generations” will take place on 4-5 October 2023 in Riga, Latvia.

The Annual Forum is the annual highlight of the macro-regional cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region. It unites policy-makers, key stakeholders and partners of the EUSBSR from local, regional, national, and EU levels.

This year’s forum aims to achieve four primary objectives:

  • exchange of best practices of cooperation,
  • stronger integration within the Baltic Sea Region and beyond,
  • forming synergies between various priority areas, and
  • creating links between the Strategy and the general public.

Special attention with the aim to encourage debate will be paid to climate affairs and green energy. And since the main agents of change and progress are young people, a strong focus will be placed on the importance of youth engagement in decision-making and having a strong youth representation.

Workshops co-organised by CBSS

Workshops will be a crucial component of the Annual Forum programme, facilitating the exchange of perspectives on topics relevant to the EUSBSR, as well as the development and dissemination of new ideas and initiatives for the region. Among the nine workshops offered, the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) will co-organise the following:

Workshop 2: Driving collaborative decarbonization and climate adaptation in the Baltic Sea Region

Main organiser: PA Innovation

Co-organisers: PA Nutri, PA Spatial Planning, PA Transport, Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS)

Description: During the workshop opportunities and need for EUSBSR-facilitated ‘collaborative decarbonization and climate change adaptation’ as an integrative approach by EUSBSR to systemic, cross-sectoral decarbonization innovations, specifically on city or regional level will be discussed. The workshop especially will focus on contribution and cooperation opportunities between BSR cities and regions under the EU missions ‘100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030’ and ‘Adaptation to Climate Change’.

Workshop 3: All hands on deck: safe and secure Baltic Sea Region through “whole-of-society” approach

Main organiser: PA Secure (Council of the Baltic Sea States and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency)

Co-organiser: Ministry of the Interior, Department for Rescue Services, Finland

Description: The workshop will showcase the whole-of-society approach to building resilient Baltic Sea Region. Participants will experience several scenarios in which different societal groups act in the face of todays’ threats. What is it like to be a volunteer firefighter? Can your children help in case of floods? Where can we learn about security? How should you, as an individual, act if a crisis strikes? Cases come from the recent research and project results.

Workshop 4: Strengthening and developing cooperation with Ukraine to empower sustainable rebuilding

Main organiser: PA Nutri / Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Southwest Finland

Co-organiser: Swedish Institute, PA Hazards, PA Bioeconomy, PA Ship, Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS)

Description: The workshop explores needs for future cooperation between the Baltic Sea Region and Ukraine, focusing on how to empower sustainable rebuilding. It will begin with a panel discussion about ongoing cooperation between EUSBSR policy areas and actors in Ukraine with reflections from a youth perspective. After the panel discussion there will be roundtables, each focusing on an environmental topic that supports the Save the Sea objective of the EUSBSR.

Workshop 8: Submerged munitions in the Baltic Sea – environmental, security and other challenges

Main organiser: Pomorskie Region

Co-organisers: Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM)

Description:  The munitions dumped in the Baltic Sea have a significant impact on both the security and environment of the region. The munitions not only can be accidentally detonated by the maritime industry, fishing boats, shipping vessels, or even recreational divers, but also the chemicals can leach into the water, contaminating the marine ecosystem and harming marine life. The panel highlights the urgent need for action to further locate and remove the dumped munitions in the sea to ensure the safety and sustainability of the Baltic Sea for generations to come.

Workshop 9: Youth and Culture driving resilient communities in the BSR

Organisers & co-organisers: PA Culture coordinators, PA Tourism coordinators, Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS)

Description: Many cities in the BSR face decreasing attractiveness, brain-drain of young people and dwindling social, political and civil society engagement. Local authorities may lack the resources to counteract this downward spiral. We bring together local perspectives, practical examples, the BSR policy perspective and an ongoing initiative to build capacity in local authorities making better use of local assets, culture and young people for revitalization and regeneration of their communities, leading to increased social resilience and attractiveness, also for sustainable touristic activities in the BSR.

During the Forum, the CBSS will also be part of the networking village, showcasing its ongoing projects and activities.

For the preliminary program of the Forum, please visit the official website of the event.

Registration for the 14th EUSBSR Annual Forum is open until 10 September 2023.

This year’s event is organised jointly by the Riga City CouncilUnion of the Baltic Cities and VASAB, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia and the Baltic Sea Strategy Point.