Chairmanship report: 2017 - 2019
Photo from BSSSC Annual Conference 2017 in Brandenburg, Germany. Credit: Andreas Franke (Panabild.de)
From the beginning of 2017 to the end of 2019, BSSSC has been Chaired by Eastern Norway County Network. The Chairmanship is now in the hands of Pomorskie Voivodeship, who will be chairing to the end of 2021. Below you may read the introductory words to the report, written by the Norwegian Chairman Mr. Roger Ryberg. Be sure to download the whole report and read the highlights of BSSSC's work under the Norwegian leadership.
The BSSSC Chairmanship of Eastern Norway County Network is coming to an end. It has been a great honour for me to lead this important political network and lobby organisation since 1 January 2017. I think we have come a long way during these three years, and we have accomplished a lot together.
My priorities as Chairman has been; More and better youth involvement, sustainable development and better communication to tell the world around us about BSSSC - to attract more interest to the BSSSC. Together with the board rapporteurs, our Brussels Antenna, the BSSSC youth network and in dialog with partner organisations we have worked hard with these and other important priorities for the Baltic Sea Region (BSR).
I am proud to present some of the results we have achieved. BSSSC has been instrumental to lift the voice of the youth in the BSR. Special thanks to the hard work of our youth board members 2017 to 2019 – Kari, Timo, Martin, Agnes and Venla. The Baltic Sea Youth Camp arranged in Gdansk in June this year - with more than 100 young people from all over the Baltic Sea region – and the initiative of a Baltic Sea Youth Platform under the umbrella of Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS) - are lighthouses for this work.
In addition, we have promoted youth involvement under the headline “Nothing about us without us” at the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) annual fora in Stockholm, Berlin, Tallinn and last but not least in Gdansk in June 2019. Our good cooperation with the Union of Baltic Cites (UBC) and the EuroRegion Baltic (ERB) has made all this possible – as well as the great support from CBSS. I hope this good work will continue and grow and I assure you that we will support this from Norway also in the future.
The Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been on the BSSSC agenda these past years. We have participated actively in the preparation and promotion of the Baltic 2030 Action Plan - initiated by CBSS. We have taken part in HELCOM meetings and given our input to the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan. We have regularly attended the CBSS Expert Groups on Sustainable Development and Sustainable Maritime Economy.
In 2019, BSSSC was partner in arranging the Annual Forum of the EUSBSR. Together with our colleagues in Pomorskie Region and the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs - we focused on Circular and Sharing economy as drivers for change in the BSR. “Reduce – Reuse – Rethink” was the forum slogan! As part of our BSSSC contribution, we produced a best practise report on circular economy in the BSR and beyond. By this, we wanted to fuel the processes transforming our societies into a greener and more sustainable future. In May 2019, the board agreed on a policy paper on the SDGs and the Future of Europe – and forwarded our positions to the European Commission and other EU institutions - as well as to the CBSS Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Jurmala in June.
Future of Cohesion Policy and programmes – especially Interreg – and the EU Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021 – 2027 has been another very important area for BSSSC over the past three years. We have actively participated in the discussion and lobbied the interest of the BSR regions through meetings with the EU Commission, through three policy papers, through membership in the #Cohesion Alliance and through our annual conference resolutions in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
In three annual conferences and through the work of the board, we have promoted togetherness, solidarity, democracy, cultural understanding, subsidiarity and good neighbourhood relations – as key values that we need to build our BSR work on. In December 2017, the board adopted a policy paper on Subsidiarity and Democracy, and the Future of Europe and in May 2018, we adopted a paper promoting culture as a basis for regional and European policy. Both papers sent to EU institutions and national authorities in the BSR.
We have focused on smart solutions and shared knowledge and good practises on Bio-economy, sustainable procurements, cultural innovations, maritime policy and blue growth and green transport and accessibility. BSSSC has supported nine BSR projects financed by Interreg - as associated partner - and at our annual conferences 2017 – 2019 we have presented and cooperated closely with these projects and others. Our relationship with the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme is very valuable and highly appreciated.
I also want to highlight the cooperation and very good dialog with the European Committee of Regions (CoR) and especially with President/1st Vice President, Markku Markkula. It has been a great pleasure for me, coming from a non-EU country, to be included into the Brussels structures.
I want to thank the members of the board and board civil – especially the rapporteurs, our partner organisations – especially CBSS - and all BSR enthusiasts for good and constructive cooperation throughout this exciting journey. It has created many good memories and friendships for life.
I am now happy to hand over the role as chair to the Pomorskie Region in Poland - a long lasting active part of the BSSSC network and a frontrunner in BSR regional cooperation. The BSSSC will be in very good hands in the years to come! I wish the new chair and secretariat all the best and look forward to continuing the cooperation within BSSSC also in the years to come.
Chair of Eastern Norway County Network
BSSSC Chairman 2017 - 2019