On 25th February 2021, Euroregion Baltic Executive Board met for the 1st time in 2021. Over 35 ERB Boad Members, Youth Board Members, ERB Secretariat representatives and guests from Water Core Group and Mobility Core Group met to summarize ERB activities in 2020, change the ERB presidency from Poland to Sweden and hear about the ERB priorities and Action Plan for 2021.
The meeting started with the approval of the ERB Annual Report 2020 and the Annual Budget for 2020. A report detailing the activities implemented within ERB cooperation in 2020 was delivered by Ms Leszczyna-Rzucidło, Head of ERB International Secretariat in cooperation with the Presidency held in 2020 by the Association of Polish Communes Euroregion Baltic.
This was followed by the transfer of the ERB Presidency from Poland to Sweden. With the decision of the ERB Executive Board of 21st Feb 2011 and later in September 2019, approving the sequence of ERB Presidency transfers, the ERB Presidency will be transferred from Poland – Association of Polish Communes Euroregion Baltic to Region Blekinge, Sweden. By the ERB Board decision, Mr Johan Sandberg, Member of ERB Executive Board, Chair of the Regional Development Board assumed the position of ERB President in 2021.
At the same time, the ERB Vice President’s position was assumed by Mr Gustaw Marek Brzezin, Marshal of Warmia and Masuria Region. Warmia and Masuria region will Lead the ERB in 2022. Since its foundation, Euroregion Baltic understood the importance of making use of EU opportunities to ensure the implementation of projects that could help the objectives of economic growth in the region: industry, agriculture, transport, communication, spatial planning, environmental protection, cooperation in the fields of science, education, tourism, health care, etc. The Euroregion’s mission is to undertake joint initiatives aiming at strengthening and promoting cooperation among the local and regional authorities of the Parties of the Agreement, as well as contributing to the sustainable development of the Baltic Sea Region, with particular focus on the South Baltic area.
The ERB 2030 Agenda builds on the achievements of the first 20 years of successful cooperation and provides an updated strategic framework by defining Euroregion Baltic’s vision:
– South Baltic Agenda – Baltic Sea Region Agenda – European Agenda – Youth and People-to-People Agenda – Blue and Green Growth Agenda.
Ms Johanna Ronn from Blekinge Region presented the priorities of the Swedish presidency. These are:
EU-funds for the South Baltic area. To continue the role with Euroregion Baltic as an active part in the programming process representing its member regions and initiating joint discussions regarding possibilities for project preparations financed by the same programme.
Sustainable Mobility. Establishment of the Mobility Core Group with a focus on joint actions for improved sustainable mobility within the Euroregion Baltic and South Baltic regions
Sustainable and Innovative Tourism cooperation. To investigate the potential for Euroregion Baltic regions to participate in current tourism networks and project initiatives and explore the potential for new and/or deepened cooperation.
Capacity Building and people to people activities. Concerning the up-coming new program period for EU-funds Euroregion Baltic, it has a vital role to be a facilitator and act as an intermediator for local organisations (especially newcomers), NGOs and youth organisations’ possibilities to establish contacts for cross-border cooperation in our regions.
The next point in the agenda was information about the transfer of ERB Youth Board Presidency. Ms Julia Orluk, ERB Youth Board Chairwoman in 2019-2020, presented information about the elections in the Euroregion Baltic Youth Board and introduced the new Chairwoman of the ERB YB. On 19th Feb 2021 Johanna Wyckman from Kalmar Region, Sweden, was elected the new ERB YB Chairwoman. At the same time, Ms Małgorzata Lewandowska from the Pomorskie region became the ERB YB Vice-Chairwoman. This information was followed by a presentation by Johanna Wyckamn on the ERB YB activities in 2021 and plans for ERB YB engagement in 2021.
ERB Youth Board main goals are to provide the opportunity for the youth to be involved in the ERB activities, act as a voice of youth in the ERB, increase interaction between regional authorities and the youth, encourage closer cooperation between the youth and local government, eliminate culturally prejudice and facilitate youth mobility.
Head of the IPS, together with Johanna Ronn from the Blekinge region presented the Action Plan for 2021 and a set of activities foreseen for the ERB in the upcoming months. After the discussion among the ERB Board Members, the Action Plan 2021 and Budget for 2021 were both adopted by the Board. This information was followed by the summary of international projects with ERB engagement and reports from the Water Core Group and the newly established Mobility Core Group (Mr Mattias Andersson).
The next ERB Executive Board meeting are planned for: 25-26 May 2021 (Blekinge Region) and 6th Oct 2021 (Kaliningrad Region).
Climate-neutral cities 2030
Cities play a crucial role in climate change change. They cover about 3% of the earth’s surface, but account for about 70% of all greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, they are growing rapidly. In Europe, almost 85% of the population is estimated to live in cities by 2050; in Sweden was 93 percent. That is why cities are important to deal with the climate crisis. And that is why urban climate change is extremely important for all countries. This is shown, among other things, in the EU’s Green Deal for Europe, which aims to make the whole of Europe climate neutral by 2050, the first climate-neutral continent. We focus on climate change in cities because changes for the greatest and fastest effect there.
Everyone must be involved
Viable Cities works on the basis of a holistic approach to sustainable urban development. This means that we assume that everyone in society must be involved in order to make the necessary changes: entrepreneurs and researchers, politicians and officials, organisations and ordinary people. We assume that it is particularly important that citizens must be involved in its success, and we also assume that digitalisation and digital tools can contribute in various ways to the major change.
What do we think?
So major changes are needed throughout society in order to meet the climate targets and save the planet. Doing what we have always done is no longer possible, we have to work in completely new ways. Viable Cities takes the help of research in many areas and inspiration from other thinkers to find this new way of working together. We hope that this new way will be so successful that we can help all cities, in Sweden, in Europe and in the world, to become economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.
What’s the goal?
We have a mission that we are striving towards: Climate-neutral cities by 2030 with a good life for everyone within the planet’s borders. Thus, cities that do not burden the planet with emissions, where everyone in the city can have a good life, both socially and economically. It sounds incredible, but it’s possible, if we’re really working for it.
We’re not the only ones working on this mission. Our mission is in line with the UN Agenda 2030 and the Paris agenda, which are important starting points for the climate and sustainability work of many Swedish cities. It is also in line with the Swedish climate and environmental goals and the EU’s goal – to be a climate-neutral continent by 2050.
Climate-neutral cities 2030 initiative
Nine Swedish municipalities and their partners (Enköping,Gothenburg, Järfälla, Lund, Malmö, Stockholm, Umeå, Uppsala and Växjö) are part of the initiative Climate neutral cities 2030. They applied in competition and were granted support in Viable Cities Call 3#. They have taken it upon themselves to test new ways of working and solutions, to learn from each other and to work for the mission: to create cities that work well for the people who live in it, that are good for the economy of citizens, businesses and society – and – that are good for the climate. In 2021, there will be opportunities for more cities to join the venture.
What do Viable Cities do then?
Viable Cities contributes to our knowledge, experience and support. We also try to link other efforts made for sustainable cities, in Sweden, in the EU and globally. We create meeting places; by working with others and learning from each other, we can accelerate the development of climate-neutral and sustainable cities. It must be faster if we are to achieve the paris agreement’s objective: not to allow the average temperature on earth to rise by more than 1.5 degrees.
Well, there’s no benefit. We do not yet know what the climate-neutral and sustainable city looks like. That’s what we’re working on. Together with cities, businesses, researchers, politicians, civil servants, authorities and ordinary people, we try ideas, we fail, we learn and we try again. We call the work Viable Cities Transition Lab.
Part of the work with climate neutral cities in 2030 is the work on:
Viable Cities is a strategic innovation program with a focus on smart sustainable cities. The programme’s mission is to speed up the transition to climate-neutral cities by 2030 with a good life for everyone within the planet’s boundaries.
Viable Cities is a catalyst for new forms of cooperation between cities, industry, academia, research institutes and civil society. This is to mobilise to change the way our cities work in line with our national environmental and climate objectives and our international commitments linked to the global sustainability goals – Agenda 2030 – and the Paris Agreement.
The programme’s time frame is 2017-2030 and is implemented with support in a concerted effort by Vinnova,the Swedish Energy Agency and Formas, where the Swedish Energy Agency is the principal authority. KTH is the host organization.
Sweden inspires and has a leading role in energy and climate change through smart and sustainable cities.
The ambition is to strengthen Sweden’s role in the development of smart sustainable cities by building on the country’s strengths in research, innovation and entrepreneurship. The programme will drive development and have a leading position and intends to work with other leading countries and cities to be a hub and establish a global network for smart sustainable cities.
Viable Cities’ mission is to achieve climate-neutral cities by 2030 with a good life for everyone within the planet’s borders.
Read more info on their website: https://en.viablecities.se/om-viable-cities
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.
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
Region Kalmar County
Participants from Denmark
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.
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.
In the Umbrella project framework, we organized this month another seminars and training on project management. The meetings on 28th Nov in Gdansk, 5th Dec in Kalmar, Sweden and on 10th Dec in Klaipeda, Lithuania.
You can still register for the meetings we will have in January and February 2020, they are all for free, but we have a limited number of places. Register using this link: https://bit.ly/2IuFu7B
Agenda for the training on BASIC/ELEMENTARY level:
Welcome and introduction to the UMBRELLA Project Management Framework – fundamental concepts
UMBRELLA Framework vs. Project Life-Cycle
Estimating Long-Term Effects
Problem and Objectives Tree Analysis
Reviewing Available Funding Programmes
Initiating a Project
How Detailed is the High-Level Planning
Identifying Project Partners
Developing a project logical framework
Work Breakdown Structure
Main planning tools
Sharing the results
New project ideas
Submitting the project application
Developing the project logical framework
How are young people’s lives in 6 different municipalities of the Baltic Sea Region like? What are the similarities and differences and how can the data collected through the CaSYPoT project be used to inform further activities and youth strategies?
Young people from Klaipeda in Lithuania, Słupsk and Bartoszyce in Poland, Svetlogorsk and Gusev in Russia and Emmaboda in Sweden participated in the CaSYPoT survey, one of the most important surveys ever done on the youth situation in the Baltic Sea Region! A short summary of the results will be presented during CaSYPoT project’s final conference in Kalmar from 13-14.05.2019!!
The registration for the CaSYPoT final conference and the ERB Forum of Stakeholders on 13-14.05.2019 in Kalmar is finally OPEN!
For further information and travel advice, please contact Ms Zofia Makowska, Project Manager CaSYPoT!
The SIA4Y “Right of information access from the youth perspective” workshop took place from 6th-7th March in Elblag, Poland!
The event was organized by the Association of Polish Communes of Euroregion Baltic and brought together 100 young people! There were participants from several Lithuanian cities (Telšiai, Vilnius, Eigirdžiai, Klaipeda), the Russian city of Kaliningrad, Sweden (city of Hässleholm), Poland (Elbląg, Gdańsk, Nowe Miasto Lubawskie, Iława, Dzierzgoń, Olsztyn, Gdynia, Słupsk, Otomin, Warsaw, Przezmark), Italy and Greece!
On 6th March, the participants from abroad arrived in Elbląg! There was a joint dinner and a small local tour by Mr Marcin Żuchowski and Ms Paulina Lieder before the participants’ went to rest and prepare for the forthcoming day!
On 7th March, the workshop ensued in the Town Hall of Elblag. It opened with a speech by Ms. Malgorzata Samusjew, Director of the Association of Polish Communes, workshop host organization. Ms. Valentina Scandola, organizer of the event, introduced the agenda of the day and launched a social media contest, giving later the floor to Ms Magda Leszczyna-Rzucidło, representing the Polish Economic Society Branch in Gdańsk, who introduced the project “SIA4Y- Strengthening Civil Society Participation through Public Information Access for European Youth”.
The day was divided into two main workshop sessions, whose main scope was to bring the topic of “right of information access” in the foreground, also trough a synergy between SIA4Y, CaSYPoT and SB YCGN project. The Association of Polish Communes of Euroregion Baltic, in fact, had a chance to keep a fil rouge with the youth-related activities that have been implemented in the last two years. The first one on “Responsible relationships and youth civic engagement”.
The first session was held by Marcin Żuchowski and Agata Ludwiczak, from the hosting organization. The second session, instead, counted on Mr Sergejus Muravjovas and Ms Ieva Duncikaite’s moderation from Transparency International Lithuania with the title: “Model Your Municipality: Participatory Budgeting Session”. “Responsible relationships and youth civic engagement” session:
At their first task, the participants were divided into 8 groups and asked to answer questions on 8 youth tools, which had a distinct goal each, and were written on large pieces of paper across 8 separate tables. Each group would then proceed to the next table. The tools were: employment mobility, youth information, Youth Centers, youth media, Schools of the Future, School’s Youth Zone, Baltic Youth Week, SB YCGN local round-table meetings-suggestions.
Before the launch of the second session, the winners of the social media contest were prized with lots of tech prizes and the participants had a lunch break in an adjacent room where a rich buffet was laid out. “Model Your Municipality: Participatory Budgeting Session”:
In this part, participants were partnered according to their home towns and asked to think of and create the budget for a common project that would benefit their municipalities. The allowed budget for the participants was 100 000 euros and they had to present their idea along with the expenses that it’d require. Afterwards, each group presented the idea they came up with and finally the audience had the chance to vote for the idea they considered most interesting and likely to be implemented. The team from Tricity area presented a beach cleaning system and received the most votes. Special mention should be made of the participants from the Elblag-Kaliningrad group who proposed an international cultural festival and the team from Nowe Miasto Lubawskie who presented a very detailed budget.
The workshop closed with a presentation by Mr Dominik Kwiatkowski about the participatory budgeting in the city of Słupsk and a focus group discussion conducted by Mr Marcin Żuchowski about the situation of youth in their schools. This last session was held in the frame of YCGN project.
In general, it was a really fun and educational workshop and its young participants had the chance to get more informed about their rights and opportunities to communicate with and influence their municipalities!