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Vytautas Grubliauskas

The study visit in the Umbrella project framework took place in November 2019, but we decided we should present you the outcomes, as it was a very fruitful and exciting meeting for our participants.

Report from Swedish Study Trip to Guldborgsund Municipality, Denmark 12/11/19 – 14/11/19 – prepared by Daniel Granello.

Background

Kalmar County is characterized by low population density and large rural areas. Many of these areas are dealing with challenges, such as depopulation and lack of employment opportunities.

Kalmar county consists of 12 municipalities and Region Kalmar County organizes a network of rural developers. Within the network, common challenges and experiences are discussed. Likewise, the public officials have many contacts and exchange of experiences with other municipalities, counties and organizations in Sweden. The contacts with organizations outside Sweden are, however, limited.

Danish society has many common traits with Swedish society. Likewise, the challenges in rural areas are often common in Denmark and Sweden.

Within the Umbrella project, Interreg SBP, a study trip was organized to Guldborgsund municipality in southern Denmark, where rural developers from Kalmar County and Guldborgsund municipality could meet and exchange experiences and discuss common challenges and possibilities for common projects.

Participants from Sweden

  • Kalmar County Administrative board
  • Högsby municipality
  • Mörbylånga municipality
  •  Oskarshamn municipality
  •  Region Kalmar County
  • Västervik municipality

Participants from Denmark

  • Gulborgsund municipality

Programme

12/11/19          18:00   Welcome dinner

13/11/19        09:30     Welcome to Guldborgsund municipality,

                            Presentation- Rural development in Guldborg municipality

Anna Topp Gustavsen and Carina Woolhead from Gulborgsund municipality gave a presentation about Guldborgsund municipality and the organization of the rural development initiatives. In many ways, the situation in Guldborgsund is similar to the situation in Kalmar county, yet there are also some big differences, such as Guldborgsund’s position, inbetween Copenhagen and Hamburg.

10:45               Danish rural development Policies and cooperation with municipalities

Camilla Nissen from the Danish Business Authority gave a presentation about the strategies from the authority to gain back a ”regaining vicinity” as a way of stimulating development and also about recent political initiatives to stimulate rural development in Denmark.

14:30               Initiatives and development in Nystedt: strengths and weaknesses, international projects, LAG-projects.

Helle Levisen and Jesper Pedersen from Nystedt Development Group gave a presentation about development initiatives in Nystedt and a round tour of the village. The closeness to the sea and the marina has a special role for the development of the village.

18:30               Dinner and discussions

14/11/19          10:00   Local initiatives in Guldborg and Omegn

Guldborg and Omegn Development Group gave a presentation about the local initiatives for development in Guldborg and Omegn and a guided tour in Guldborg. Guldborg has seen a radical change to come since the E47 was built and the village’s position changed from being a natural stop on the way between Copenhagen and Hamburg, to the present situation, where a stop in Guldborg usually requires a detour.

12:00   Lunch and information about the Black-Spotted Goby project

Bithe Pawlik’s restaurant Postholderens sted is famous for local food of high quality. We enjoyed local food and got a presentation about the Round Goby project, in which they have experimented in different ways to use the invasive species Round Goby to develop food.

Summary

The aim of the study trip was to exchange experiences, learn from good examples and discuss possible joint projects and cooperation in the future.

During the study trip, there have been a lot of interesting discussions and exchange of experiences. As mentioned before, the similarities between Sweden and Denmark are many and the societies are organized in a similar way. In the same way, Guldborgsund Municipality and Kalmar county have some similar traits: both have a strong rural character and are characterized by food production and to some extent, tourism.

Yet, there are also some major differences between our countries, and between Guldborgsund Municipality and Kalmar Region county.

Guldborgsund municipality is situated in-between two metropolitan areas: Copenhagen and Hamburg. In the future, the Femern Bælt-connection will, even more, emphasize this fact. Kalmar county, on the other hand, is situated in the easternmost part of Sweden with poor connections to metropolitan areas.

In 2007, Denmark conducted a large reform of the society where the number of municipalities was radically reduced from 270 to 98. This, of course, affected the rural society since the municipalities became larger all over Denmark. In Sweden, there have been a lot of discussions of a similar reform, but it has not yet been conducted. Therefore, In Sweden, there are a lot of municipalities with small populations.

Another difference between Sweden and Denmark is that since a long time, but especially since 2015 Sweden experienced large immigration, while the immigration to Denmark has been of a different size. The immigration has in many ways affected Swedish society, not at least in some rural areas. This is also the case in Kalmar county.

The similarities are however more than the differences, and the study trip has resulted in gained experiences and knowledge, new contacts, and ideas for common projects in the future (see below).

Areas of special interest for cooperation and projects

For the Swedish delegation, in the excellent work of rural development in Guldborgsund, there were some areas of special interest for the Swedish context:

The inclusion of the civil society in the work of the public sector

The tradition of voluntary organizations is strong in the Scandinavian countries. In Sweden, the importance of these organizations in the rural areas has been stronger since changes in the society have weakened the public sector and the commercial service in the countryside. In Sweden, we are looking at different models to assist the civil society in taking the role of the public sector in certain areas. This will bring many positive effects, but will not always be easy to organize.

In Guldborgsund municipality, in some ways as a response to the reform of 2007 where the municipalities grew and therefore required a larger inclusion, the civil sector is included in the public work on a regular basis.

Picture 1. One example of inclusion on a regular basis of the civil society in the public work in Guldborgsund municipality.

The presentations of Anna Topp Gustavsen and Carina Woolhead from Gulborgsund municipality showed how this work was organized. There is an organisation of village councils for each village, and there are also thematic groups, within for example bike tourism or horse tourism.

Also, during the visits to Nystedt and Guldborg, the local groups presented their strategies and work to develop their villages and surrounding areas.

While both Denmark and Sweden have a similarly strong tradition with civil organisations and the work of inclusion is going on in both countries, a joint project would be interesting to strengthen the work. The importance of the civil sector seems to constantly increase concerning the rural development in both countries, and it would be fruitful and beneficial to work together with these questions.  In this work the theories of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs could be included.

Storytelling for rural development

The exploration of the local history and storytelling is a way of regaining the unity and the engagement in local communities. The result may also be used to attract visitors and develop the rural areas in different ways.

In Sweden, there are some places where local groups in cooperation with museums and the public sector have made the legends and stories available to visitors. One of the examples is the land of legends in Ljungby (http://www.sagobygden.se/en/the-land-of-legends).

Both Guldborgsund and Kalmar county are areas of long history where the people are proud of their history. During the study visit to Guldborgsund, it was obvious in both Nystedt and Guldborg, that the history of the place was of major importance.

In a joint project we could work together, and in cooperation with the civil society, to develop different methods to explore and make the local history visible and to use it to increase the attractiveness of the village or the area.

Networking for rural development

Rural developers are often quite alone in their profession in municipalities and counties. In Kalmar county, the Region Kalmar county runs a network for rural developers, where the participants can exchange experiences, run common projects, listen to guest lectures and conduct study visits. Also, within the network, there are cooperation with the local level as well as with the governmental level of the society.

It would be interesting to develop the network to include civil society as well. This could be a way to really increase the capability to run projects and to include the civil society in the work of the public sector.

In the work, a cooperation between Denmark and Sweden would be fruitful. How could we together develop our rural networks in the best way?

Small harbour and marina development

In both Guldborgsund municipality and Kalmar county the sea is always present. Kalmar county has the longest coast of Sweden, with plenty of small marinas and harbours. Guldborgsund municipality is surrounded by the seas and they also have many small harbours and marinas along the coast.

Often these marinas are managed by civil organisations in cooperation with the public sector and may contribute in an essential way to the development of the village. Different methods to attract tourists and to include the local society in the work of preserving the harbours could be studied.

Picture 2. View from the newly built sauna in the marina of Guldborgsund.

Other common areas of interest

Since there are many similarities between Kalmar county and Guldborgsund municipality, there are more fields of interest for joint projects in the future.

Both areas are strong in food production and tourism. With food production, projects with a focus on local food, food tourism and new crops are of interest. Within tourism, rural tourism in general, as well as special initiatives for bike tourism, trekking and horse tourism would be interesting. And of course, maritime tourism and activities, as sailing, fishing or diving tourism.

Seed Money is funding provided by Interreg Baltic Sea Region to support the preparation of projects in line with the Action Plan of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. With Seed Money support, projects can be prepared for any funding source available in the region.

The Seed Money application procedure consists of two steps. In step one, an applicant submits a draft application to Policy Area and Horizontal Action Coordinators who preselect draft applications (typically six weeks after submission). In step two, authors of preselected draft applications are invited to submit full applications to the Managing Authority/Joint Secretariat (typically within six-eight weeks after preselection). The Monitoring Committee selects Seed Money projects for funding typically three months after submission.

Our application is the result of work undergoing in Water Core Group since May 2019. ECG submitted the concept note in Dec 2019 that was positively assessed by PA NUTRI Coordinators and we were invited to submit the full application. On 23rd March we have sent the file and we await the information from the JS. The results are expected in June 2020.

What is the project about?

Reducing the outflows of nutrients & hazardous substances to surface water, groundwater and the Baltic Sea, in particular, is the main concern of water management in the BSR and will remain its foremost task in the future. At the same time, the effects of climate change pose new challenges to water supply: Droughts limit in certain periods the quantity of water for various uses (e.g. drinking water, agriculture). Floods impair the quality of drinking water – and thus indirectly its quantity, too. SMHI has predicted that problems linked to water shortage will become even more severe in the future.
The two mentioned tasks cannot be addressed as a question of either/or. The ambition must be to meet environmental goals at a high level and to secure water supply. Possible synergies between them, however,
were hitherto not widely addressed: If effluent water is retained, re-circulated & re-used, water supply will not only be more secure & climate-resilient. At the same go, this will be an effective way to reduce outflows of nutrients & hazardous substances.

WaterMan develops and promotes circular approaches to reduce outflows of nutrients & hazardous substances to surface water, groundwater and the Baltic Sea in particular, which at the same time contribute to the climate-resilient water supply. Its centre of attention is measures & techniques to re-use water from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and the retention of water before flowing into the Baltic Sea. Thus, less
groundwater resources will be needed for drinking water production & other uses and water supply becomes more climate-resilient.
The project focusses thereby on measures at the local level and on areas in the BSR, where the water supply may be particularly affected by climate change. Main target group are, consequently, municipalities & water
companies that are responsible for local water management.

ESPON [Press Release] How with the Baltic Sea Region will look like in 2050? Three scenarios for the future of the #BSR based on the findings of our BT2050 project.

The Baltic Sea Region (BSR) includes Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark as well as North-West Russia and Northern Germany. The BSR is the first European macro-region having a vision for spatial development (adopted in 1994, renewed in 2009).

Over the past few decades, the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) has been growing, both in terms of population and economy. The region has also become more integrated thanks to increased cooperation.

But how will the Baltic Sea Region look like in 2050? The ESPON project “BT2050” has been exploring a variety of territorial development challenges and trends that might shape the further development of the region and published its results today.

Current trends

While urbanisation and rapidly shrinking rural areas are common trends for the all Baltic Sea countries, some significant differences can be observed. For example, the differences in population density between the northern and southern countries of the BSR (Finland – 17 inhabitants/km2  and Germany – 172 inhabitants/km2) influence the spatial pattern of the region, in which cities in the South of the region are more connected. The study shows that the depopulation of rural areas slowed down in the countries which received international migrants in 2015-2016 (Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Norway)

Forecasting the future of territorial development

During the project, three scenarios have been developed for the Baltic Sea Region.

Baseline Scenario offers a perspective about how the Baltic Sea Region will look like in 2050 if trends of the recent past (e.g. steady economic growth, the inflow of immigrants) and current policy practices (e.g. EU political integration) continue to be in effect in the following three decades. In a scenario where the trends are stable, the rural-urban divide will continue to grow. This implies that bigger cities will keep generating economic power and will be able to attract more people while the rural areas will continue to decline.

Two alternative territorial scenarios were also developed for the Baltic Sea Region. The first one called ‘Well-being in a circular economy: a RE-mind of a good life’ and the second one ‘Growing into green-tech giants: the ecological footprint clear-up.’

The scenario ‘Well-being in a circular economy: a RE-mind of a good life’ envisions the Baltic Sea Region as a place with an active citizen involvement in the transition from the existing linear economic model in favour of a circular economy that focuses on a better quality of life. The role of the smaller cities and towns will be more prominent in this scenario which might result in a boost in local production as well as reduced consumerism.

The scenario ‘Growing into green-tech giants: the ecological footprint clear-up’ pictures the Baltic Sea Region as a giant in green technology and innovation. A reduced ecological footprint increased eco-production, and a ‘guilt-free’ consumerism are some of the characteristics of this scenario.

These scenarios aim to support VASAB members to design and implement evidence-based policies for the future of the Baltic Sea Region. Eight stakeholders from seven countries, all members of VASAB implemented the project:

  • Ministry of Economic Development, Department of Development Strategy, PL (Lead stakeholder)
  • Ministry of the Environment, Department of the Built Environment, FI
  • Ministry of Finance, Spatial Planning Department, EE
  • Ministry of Environment, Construction and Territorial Planning Department, LT
  • Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Department Policy Matters, Division G31 European Spatial Development Policy and Territorial Cohesion, DE
  • Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, Spatial Planning Department, LV
  • Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development, DE
  • State Regional Development Agency, VASAB Secretariat, LV

The project has been running for a year, coordinated by Nordregio (SE) in collaboration with Spiekermann & Wegener, Urban and Regional Research (DE) Spatial Foresight (LU) and Institute of Geography and Spatial Organisation (PL).

Note to the Editors

ESPON is the European Territorial Observatory Network that provides scientific analyses and advice for territorial and sectoral policies in a number of contexts including economy and finance, unemployment, foreign direct investment, circular and low-carbon economy, healthcare, migration, etc. ESPON supports the discussions on the future of EU policies, notably the Cohesion Policy, as well as the upcoming preparation for the next generation of strategies and programmes at national, regional and local scales. ESPON is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. More at: www.ESPON.eu

The ESPON 2020 Programme is a pan-European programme managed by the Luxembourgish Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure on behalf of all EU Member States, Island Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland and co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund under Interreg.

For further information, quotes, or images, please contact Nikos Lampropoulos of ESPON EGTC at nikos.lampropoulos@ESPON.eu or call +352 20 600 280 26 or +32485203321 (mob)

Download the ESPON documents here:

BT2050 -three scenarios for the Baltic Sea

ESPON BT 2050 _ Presentation of the main outcomes

The content of this website is the sole responsibility of the author and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union, the Managing Authority or the Joint Secretariat of the South Baltic Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2014-2020. The project UMBRELLA is partly financed from the Interreg South Baltic Programme 2014-2020 through the European Regional Development Fund.