27th BSSSC Annual Conference hosted in Klaipeda

From 18 to 20 September 2019, the 27th annual conference of the BSSSC took place in Klaipeda. 150 representatives of the Blue Economy from the Baltic Sea region convened in Lithuania’s largest port city.

27th BSSSC Annual Conference, 18.-20. September 2019 | Klaipeda © Association Klaipeda Region_A.Pelakauskas

With the topic "Sustainable Maritime Economy - BSSSC regions shaping the future of the blue economy in the Baltic Sea region", the conference provided a platform for discussions on the future direction and necessary steps for sustainable developments in the BSR. Among others, the conference covered topics such as Sustainable Development and the Agenda 2030; EU-budget (MFF) and the Cohesion policy 2021-2027; the role of the CBSS and the EUSBSR as well as cultural heritage and tourism.

With its rich diversity of the BSR, the maritime and coastal tourism is considered one of five high potential sectors within the European blue economy. The 27th BSSSC annual conference showed that there is a high need for transnational cooperation within the macro-region in this sector, in order to develop a common understanding for sustainability and with the aim to share best practices, to jointly develop new approaches and find solutions for existing challenges. In this regard, the BSSSC highlighted the work of the Baltic Sea Tourism Center and the development of the Position Paper on “Sustainable tourism development in the BSR post 2020”. Permanent cooperation structures, stronger political support, and stable funding opportunities after 2020 are needed in order to address common challenges and increase the international competitiveness.

When looking at the future of the EUSBSR, it was stated that there is a need to improve the visibility and ensure better political support in order to help position the Baltic Sea region and its blue economy on EU level. In regards of the revision of the strategy, it is necessary to find ways to better measure the activities of Policy Areas and Horizontal Actions – which, up until now, have been challenging with no real indicators in place. Also, when looking at the revision of the EUSBSR Action Plan, member states of the BSR as well as the EU Commission are in need to better involve local and regional authorities in the governance of relevant Policy Areas and Horizontal Actions. The involvement of youth in the development of the strategy, in the general regional development as well as in the communication and promotion of the implementation of the SDGs through stable and enabling platforms has been deemed significant. In this regard, the BSSSC urged all EU programmes and instruments to be in line with and support the SDG implementation.

The 28th BSSSC Annual Forum will be hosted in Kaliningrad/Russia in September 2020.

As a political network of sub regions within the BSR, the Baltic Sea States Subregional Co-operation (BSSSC) aims at promoting and advocating the macro-region’s interests towards decision makers, like national governments, EU institutions, and intergovernmental organisations. The BSSSC provides expertise, best practices and opportunities for networking and thus brings added value to regional cooperation in the BSR. Founded in 1993 in Stavanger/Norway, the organisation consists of regional authorities from the 10 Baltic Sea littoral states (Germany, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia). The BSSSC works closely together with other key Baltic Sea Region and European organisations and institutions.

More information on the BSSSC and the annual conference can be found on https://www.bsssc.comc