Friday, 17 March 2017 10:39

EUSBSR as part of the Baltic Sea Future

Written by  Paulina Szmidka
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Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria Photo: Lars Godbolt

Innovations, visions and leadership for a sustainable Baltic Sea – these topics were discussed during the first Baltic Sea Future Congress held on 6th and 7th March 2017 in Stockholm, Sweden.

Inauguration and welcome speech of the conference was delivered by Her Royal Highness Crown Princess of Sweden Victoria, UN appointed Sustainable Development Goals Advocate: The sea was earlier considered dangerous to man. Now man is a danger to the sea, she said in her speech.

The speakers included, among others, Johan Rockström, Professor, Stockholm University and Director of Stockholm Resilience Centre; Per Espen Stoknes, PhD, BI Center for Climate strategy, Director of Centre for Green Growth at the Norwegian Business School; and Monika Stankiewicz, Executive Secretary, HELCOM.

From the EUSBSR viewpoint, the congress was a good platform for exchanging experiences and information about the importance of multi-level governance and the multitude of the potential sources for funding. The EUSBSR projects are like an ‘armada’ – individual ships with a common target, stated Bo Andersson from the Nordic Association in Sweden when speaking about how to organize multilevel governance, and multilevel co-operation in policymaking, law- and rulemaking, effectiveness and in learning.

During a session devoted to the potential of law and multi-level regulation concerning the Baltic Sea environment in local contexts, among others, Interreg programmes in the Baltic Sea region were extensively presented in the light of the role of and need for cooperation and funding in shaping the Blue Economy and connectivity of the Baltic Sea region. Other sources of funding were vastly presented on the second day of the event, during the Sustainable Financing session, with speakers representing the Mista Center for Sustainable Markets, the Nordic Investment Bank, the Swedish local government debt office, the SEB Group, the European Investment Bank and the South Baltic Programme.

The conference was also a chance to share information about projects implemented within the EUSBSR, such as the HA Climate Flagships: “EFFECT4buildings - effective Financing Tools for implementing Energy Efficiency in Buildings” or the recently approved “iWater: Integrated Storm Water Management”, both mentioned by HA Climate Coordinator Krista Kampus from the Council of the Baltic Sea States Secretariat (CBSS). During the parallel session “Hazardous substances – actions to reduce pollution to the Baltic Sea”, PA Hazards Flagships: “NonHazCity - Innovative management solutions for minimizing emissions of hazard­ous substances from urban areas in the Baltic Sea” and “BLASTIC project” were presented by Tonie Wickman from the City of Stockholm and Pekka Salminen from the City of Turku respectively.

Baltic Sea Future conference was a perfect opportunity for municipalities to share best practices and take the lead for change; for researchers to network; for project initiators to learn about new financial solutions and sources as well as find investors. The presentations delivered are available at the website of the Congress.

As pointed out during the wrap-up session, Baltic Sea Future has really shown the practical importance of cross-sectorial cooperation, and has focused on possibilities instead of problems, which is motivating.

 

 

Paulina Szmidka

Paulina is one of the project partners of "Let's communicate!" -project that functions as the communication point of the EUSBSR.

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