Reduce, Reuse, Rethink – the 10th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region

On 12–13 June 2019, the 10th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) was held in Gdansk, Poland to commemorate a decade of the strategy’s achievements and focus on the future of the Baltic Sea Region.

10th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region | ©BSTC_EUSBSR PA Tourism Coordinator

The main theme of this year’s forum was circular and sharing economy and its wider implications to environmental and demographic challenges.

More than 700 participants from governments, international organizations, NGOs, universities, local and regional administrations and businesses attended the Forum and shared their ideas on how to develop the regions and face the future challenges.

The annual forum provided an opportunity to exchange views on the EUSBSR and to conclude on the achievements of the 10-year strategy. The sessions and workshops provided a good opportunity to assess current progress towards circularity in the Baltic Sea Region. Experiences were gathered from different countries in the region and the possibilities offered by macro-regional cooperation were explored to facilitate the transition to an even more sustainable model.

The Forum consisted of three plenary sessions devoted to the discussion on circular economy from the environmental viewpoint, business and demographic changes. The first session dealt with the question of how a circular economy can solve environmental problems that burden the Baltic Sea. The second session was addressing companies and the exchange of knowledge on best practices for the implementation of a circular economy, whereas the third session focused on the demographic dimension of the circular and sharing economy.

In addition, the Forum's guests had the opportunity to participate in numerous parallel workshops. During the session "Eco and sharing tourism (the butterfly effect)", representatives of various companies presented ecological solutions for the tourism industry, primarily in the areas of transport, accommodation and food. The workshop was organised by the Tourism Department of the Pomorskie Voivodeship and introduced environmental-friendly practices such as the scooter-sharing platform EcoShare, the idea behind green taxis, the ecological solutions of different hotels and many more.

A networking village served as a central meeting place for stakeholders, giving them the opportunity to get an overview on the comprehensive cooperation between the Baltic Sea countries and to discuss their suggestions and ideas.

In connection to the Forum, the Conference of Peripheral and Maritime Regions (CPMR) Baltic Sea Commission held its 24th General Assembly on 11 June, which brought together representatives from its Member Regions, EU institutions as well as experts of the Policy Areas of concern for the BSC. The EUSBSR Horizontal Action Capacity organized a Participation Day on 11 June for stakeholders interested in joining the EUSBSR.