Engaged society – examples of active collaboration between project partners and local society for green recovery and more sustainable regions

The event will be a joint discussion of five projects engaged in:

  1. green technologies and environmental protection,
  2. skills and labour development and education services for different target groups
  3. connecting and involving institutions to establish future partnerships

The discussion aims to present and inspire participants on how the cross-border cooperation projects can effectively involve local society, youth, and local authorities in activities for green recovery on different levels. The variety of invited speakers will allow leading the discussion towards many fields and threads. Invited to the discussion are representatives of such projects as WASTEMAN, Baltic for All, Umbrella, ArchaeoBalt and SEAPLANSPACE who will present concrete examples of what they did in the context of local community collaboration and their engagement, as well as the impact of the communities’ activities on the sustainable development of their regions. They will discuss options for cross-border training, and networking – all aiming at a greener future of small regions and establishing partnerships. After this session, participants will be able to identify which option for close partnership is suitable for their organisation, a project, or a cluster and how to engage local society for green recovery and more sustainable regions.

REGISTTER HERE: https://eusbsr2021.eu/

Organiser – Interreg South Baltic Programme 2014-2020

The Annual Forum of the Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region is the largest event of the Strategy. It brings together all the stakeholders implementing the EUSBSR as well as other participants who would like to contribute to managing the common challenges the Baltic Sea Region faces. The 12th Annual Forum will take place from 27 September to 1 October. It will focus on green recovery and will invite the participants to REVITALISE the Strategy, to RECOVER after COVID-19 together and to RECHARGE for a greener and more resilient Baltic Sea Region.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions

the 12th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region will be virtual. The Annual Forum will take place online from 27 September to 1 October 2021. The agenda of the Annual Forum will be full of interesting, engaging and inspiring discussions, workshops and presentations. You are most welcome to join!

We invite you to read the short descriptions and register for as many events as you wish by filling in the information in the registration form

Six major events

Planned to take place daily from 13:00 to 14:30 CET:


High-level opening event/ strategic panel discussion on 27 September with the main focus on economic recovery through green and digital transformation.


1st plenary session on macro-regional strategies’ role in setting EU agenda on 28 September. The macroregional strategies have shifted from being a pure platform for regional cooperation to being the hub for identifying challenges a particular region faces and for looking for common solutions. The ongoing embedding process strengthens this change. Therefore, it is important to discuss the ways to increase the EUSBSR’s ability to ensure the relevant issues are included in the EU agenda.


The presentation of the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme 2021-2027 on 28 September. The participants of the Annual Forum 2021 will be the first to learn about the possibilities of the EU funding for transnational projects tackling the challenges the Baltic Sea Region face. The kick-off event will focus on the importance of cooperation across borders in order to develop an innovative, climate-neutral Baltic Sea region and to increase the resilience of its society.


2nd plenary session on macro-regions’ contribution to the Conference of the Future of Europe (focus on social agenda) on 29 September. This session will create links to the ongoing Conference on the Future of Europe. Taking into account the fact that the aims of the Conference of the Future of Europe and the EUSBSR in terms of involvement of citizens coincide, we aim at ensuring EUSBSR’s contribution to this important wide-range debate. This plenary session will focus on the social dimension and the challenges the youth encounters due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The participants will search for the ways the multilateral cooperation could contribute to enabling the young people to participate more actively in the decision-making process.


3rd plenary session on green recovery on 30 September. It will be devoted to the possibilities of the EUSBSR to significantly contribute to the Green Recovery of the EU.


Closing event on 1 October. It will be fully owned by young people. They will be looking for solutions for the environmental issues the Baltic Sea Region encounters. As in the case of the opening event, some of the participants will come to a studio in Klaipėda, the other speakers will join online.

After the registration, you will receive the automated confirmation.

A personal link to the virtual Annual Forum will be sent to the registered participants one day before the event, on 26 September. We kindly ask you to keep this link as it will help you access the event.

Please note that if you answer “no” to the statement “I consent that my name and organisation will be published in the forum participant list”, you will not be able to use the networking tools during the Forum.

According to the EUSBSR website – https://balticsea-region-strategy.eu/, the 12th Annual Forum of the EUSBSR will be held on 27 September – 1 October 2021 by Lithuania. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Forum will be fully virtual.

The Forum is organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, Kaunas City Municipality, Klaipėda City Municipality and our Umbrella 2.0 partner – Union of the Baltic Cities.

Annual Forum 2021 fosters green transition through synergies

The topic of the Annual Forum 2021 is GREEN RECOVERY. The event aims at fostering green transition in the Baltic Sea Region through a close partnership and more active involvement of the stakeholders, in particular youth and local communities.

The guiding principle of the Annual Forum 2021 is SYNERGIES. In the context of recent challenges (the COVID-19 pandemic, green and digital transitions), it is worthwhile to combine forces to achieve more: enabling SYNERGIES between national and regional levels; different policy areas; Macroregional strategies; and different stakeholders.

Keywords of the event: revitalise, recover, recharge

The motto of the Annual Forum 2021 is REVITALISE. RECOVER. RECHARGE. The health crisis has had a huge impact not only on health systems but also on economies, social systems, education and our way of life. While still trying to prevent the spread of new variants of the virus and accelerate the vaccination, it is already possible to draw some lessons, cooperation and common action being among the most significant ones. Therefore, the Annual Forum 2021 aims at revitalizing more active involvement of the political level in the implementation of the EUSBSR; making the Strategy contribute to the post-pandemic recovery of the Baltic Sea Region and recharging for the green and digital transition.

We very much look forward to cooperating with all the stakeholders and wider society and hope you will join us for the EUSBSR Annual Forum 2021.

The Annual Forum of the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region has always been a celebration of cooperation, knowledge transfer, exchange of inspiration and cheering concrete results of joint initiatives in the Baltic Sea Region. But these were not mainly the keynote speeches, the presence of prominent politicians and established experts that attracted a considerable number of 800 to 1000 participants each year. The main reason was to grab some coffee with the people you worked hard with throughout the whole year or people whose work you really appreciated but did not have the chance to ask about unofficially. And that is how many new ideas were born, and many new partnerships launched.

This year due to the Covid-19 pandemic the Annual Forum was held online for the first time, which posed a huge challenge for the organizers from the Finnish city of Turku and CBSS. One thing is sure- against all odds, they did their best to make the gathering in virtual space as close as possible to the in-person-event, creating a very participatory and interactive experience thanks to available technological tools.  But could it have been otherwise taking into account that the countries from the Baltic Sea Region are frontrunners as far as digitalization is concerned and that the 2020 Forum’s main theme was ‘Towards a Decade of Innovation and Sustainability’?

Although, no chance for a cosy coffee corner, so much appreciated informality was brought in by the speakers casually dressed and being seen in front of their home libraries or favourite pictures. And by an enthusiastic, uncompromising voice of the Baltic Youth representative, talking about the expectations and ideas of youngsters and proudly introducing the Baltic Youth Declaration.

A policy matters only if it serves the people. And having such a strong voice of the young generation at this year’s EUSBSR Annual Forum was a perfect starting point for more involving, more people-centred policymaking. The starting point, which is strongly supported by the EUSBSR New Action Plan, presented and discussed during the Forum. It seems that the ground is set for more result-oriented, more effective and more engaging activities in the Baltic Sea Region.

On macroregional level, which has always been praised for bottom-up approach and uniting different governance levels, economic sectors and diverse groups of ‘people of the action’ working on concrete projects, the inclusion of new-comers and community building initiatives have always been top priorities. With all the digital tools that are available at the moment and that we have all been learning more intensely since the pandemic outbreak, there is even a higher chance for making these ambitions come true. Thanks to the hard work on the ground, of course.

*The article written within Let’s Communicate! project. 
11th Annual Forum Online – Turku 2020 – Moderators_ Peter Nyman, Bettina Rafaelsen, Esa Kokkonen – 

Photo from the EUSBSR official webiste

Photos & recording

Find photos from the Annual Forum 2020 on EUSBSR Flickr.

Did you miss the event? Watch the recording on Youtube

The Forum was hosted by the City of Turku together with the Council of the Baltic Sea States in cooperation with the Ministry For Foreign Affairs of Finland. The Annual Forum was co-financed from the programme of Interreg Baltic Sea Region.

What: Baltic Sea Youth Camp virtual 2.0

For whom: young people (16 – 30 years old) from the Baltic Sea Region

Why: Because we want to make the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region much more youthful and state our opinion on it.

Sign-up: https://hopin.to/events/baltic-sea-youth-camp-virtual-2-0

Please follow the link and get your ticket for the event before the event. Registrations is open until the start of the event!

A detailed schedule of the event can be seen on the event registration page.————————————————————

Are you interested in politics? Would you like to get more information on EU policies and what they actually do for you?
We want to make young voices be heard all over the Baltic Sea Region and beyond. Share your thoughts and become a part of the Baltic Sea Youth Platform. Together with you, we want to prepare a youth input to the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.
We have organised several smaller local events before we will now meet all together online.
If you did not get the chance to take part in the local events, do not worry, there will be an info session for everyone to get on the same page.
We will also provide the possibility to informally meet decisionmakers in the region and familiarise yourself with the structures of political engagement in the Baltic Sea Region. The event functions as a youth event before the Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and will enable you to follow the big event on 20.10.
Together we will write a declaration to the actors within the Strategy from EU to the local level.
This event is the ideal starting point or continuation of your political career within the Baltic Sea Region.
Join us and see what the Baltic Sea Region has to offer! We welcome participants from ALL countries of the Baltic Sea Region (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia & Sweden) and everyone interested in exploring our region.

Do you want to know how the EU promotes macro-regions? See a great example of the EU cohesion policy?
Then check out what the EU macro-regional strategies are all about and why they are influencing your life as well and bring us together as one Baltic Sea Region.
Join us at 17.10. from 14 – 17 o’clock to discuss what is important for young people in our region and influence EU policies directly:

You will also get the chance to informally chat with the Director General of the Council of the Baltic Sea States. The Council represents 11 Member States and the EU. You want to know more about the Council and its work? And what the EUSBSR has to do with it?
Ask your questions!
Some information can already be found on the CBSS website:

The EUSBSR Annual Forum will be held online on 20th October 2020. Registration to the Forum is now open. The speakers and moderators have also been published.


Online on 20 October 2020
Turku, Finland


EUSBSR on Twitter

Registration for the EUSBSR Annual Forum has been opened! Please register here: https://bit.ly/2RwTXnX

The deadline for registration is 18 October 2020. After you register a personal link to the Annual Forum will be sent to you a day before the event on 19 October 2020.

Confirmed speakers and moderators announced

You can now find information about the speakers and moderators from our programme. The Forum will be moderated by Finnish journalist and media professional Peter Nyman, Chief Market Manager at COWI Bettina Rafaelsen and Director of The Baltic Institute of Finland Esa Kokkonen. In the opening session, Mayor of Turku Minna Arve and Director General of CBSS Grzegorz Poznański will welcome you to the Forum. The former President of Finland Tarja Halonen holds a keynote speech.

The program is structured in three parts. The first panel will focus on BSR cooperation and what it means to cooperate effectively even when the pandemic limited the ability to meet face-to-face.

The panel features for example Finnish Minister of the Environment and Climate Krista Mikkonen, Mayor of Gdansk Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, Acting Director Christos Economou, Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, European Commission, Madeleine Granvik from Baltic University Programme, C.E.O. Tiina Tuurnala from Finnish Shipowners´ Association and Jonas Faergeman, Chair of #ReGeneration2030 Steering Committee.

The second discussion will focus on the emerging areas of cooperation. Minister of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland Mika Lintilä will start the discussion. The panelists include for example General Secretary of BSSSC Krystyna Wroblewska, Executive Secretary of HELCOM Rüdiger Strempel, Director of The Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being Ülla-Karin Nurm, Director of EU and International Affairs Christiane Mißlbeck-Winberg from Confederation of Danish Employers and Aline Mayr, Representative of the Baltic Sea Youth Platform.

The third panel focuses on the future of the EUSBSR and outlines the main policies that will shape the Strategy in the next 10 years. For example, the panel features Ambassador for Baltic Sea Affairs at MFA Finland Helena Tuuri, Head of European Affairs at Eastern Norway County Network Ann Irene Sæternes, C.E.O. of Nordic West Office Risto E. J. Penttilä, Chair of Interreg Baltic Sea Region Monitoring Committee of Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development Iruma Kravale and Member of the European Parliament Delara Burkhardt.

Closing words will be offered by Pekka Haavisto, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

Additional speakers will be confirmed at a later date.

There are plenty of opportunities to interact and ask questions during the panels. Generous networking breaks are also reserved in the programme.

Register now to workshops

Before the Forum, a series of online workshops are organised in cooperation between the different Policy Areas of the EUSBSR and other relevant stakeholders. Please remember to sign up in advance. Registrations are open right now and the workshops are already being held: http://www.annualforum2020.eu/en/11th-annual-forum-eusbsr-20-october-2020-online/programme/workshops

Join us in discussing online

You can participate in the Forum’s diverse program from your laptop or phone. Our online event platform and mobile app will be published closer to the Forum. Participants will be able to network, ask questions and participate in discussions online. Networking Village will also be available online.

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.