Thursday, 20 September 2018 16:10

Let’s communicate EUSBSR to and with the YOUTH!

Written by  Marta Czarnecka-Gallas, Let’s Communicate
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The youth is important. The youth is our future. The youth wants to be heard. And involved. These statements are common slogans at various International forums and macro-regional gatherings. But often they are not more than that.

However, the young people are there to express their opinions, engage in important initiatives and pass the idea of cooperation. Moreover, they are fresh in their attitudes and creative in finding solutions and that is why Let’s Communicate! project approached the youth representatives for 26thBSSSC Annual Conference in Gdańsk and discussed their opinions and recommendations for communicating the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) at a workshop on 11th September 2018.

How to communicate a concept which is not known? This was the first obstacle to overcome as it appeared the ‘EUSBSR’ is not only hard to pronounce but also difficult to grasp. And the only workshop attendees who heard about the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region before were the ones who participated in the recent Annual Forum in Tallinn, which shows how much is to be done in terms of effective communication of the EUSBSR to the newcomers.

The discussions showed that the EUSBSR is mainly associated with climate issues, pollution and (bad) quality of the sea. It is perceived by the youth as one of many platforms of cooperation and it was hard to define its uniqueness. And by this, difficult to sell to a greater public, or to their friends.

The young people suggested that communicating EUSBSR should be more about communicating the solutions rather than challenges and the message should be short and more visual. "It is too much info, it is too long, there is too much text"- these were the comments on EUSBSR promotional materials. To win the youth involvement in promoting the EUSBSR and the ideas behind it, is to make them feel the EUSBSR community is important and the values it stand for are actual and "cool".

Some of the conclusions were later presented at BSSSC Conference within Session 6 Communicating Baltic Sea Region cooperation as simple as possible – but not simpler on 13th September 2018. Hopefully, they are a good starting point for further youth-inspired and youth-involved actions aiming at communicating the real ‘why?’ behind the EUSBSR.

 

 A comment from Martin Ruemmelein, BSSSC Youth Board Member, regarding the youth participation in the EUSBSR:

I vision the EUSBSR to be a lot different when young people are a part of it. The EUSBSR should not see the young people as different people but should include them in all activities and not exclude them only in separated events like in Tallinn. The PA meetings can always invite youth and get input as well as the EUSBSR at the Annual Forum. Young people can contribute new and innovative Ideas and develop a different vision of how the EUSBSR should look like. The EUSBSR lacks these ideas and visions in almost all policy areas and horizontal actions. It would be great if we do not just see input there from the youth but to get youth and others from the EUSBSR in a constructive dialogue.

 

Read 489 times Last modified on Friday, 21 September 2018 14:18

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