The heads of BONUS, HELCOM, VASAB and Baltic Earth in ‘hot seats’ at the EUSBSR Strategy ForumLooking ahead and preparing the Baltic Sea for the future were this week in the core of the discussions at the 7th Strategy Forum of the EU Regional Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) in Stockholm.
The two-day Strategy Forum offered inspirational sessions, plenaries and political seminars that considered the future of the Baltic Sea Region in a 2030-perspective, and beyond. A report was launched outlining findings related to trends, challenges and potentials in the Baltic Sea region, and from the more innovative end, solutions for a sustainable Baltic fashion industry in 2030 were presented in an inspiring ‘cat walk show’ and the new EUSBSR Let’s Communicate project introduced Forum visitors a possibility to ‘speed date’ with the EUSBSR Policy Area and Horizontal Action leaders, and much, much more.
Questions for the session had been received in the run-up to the Strategy Forum around the Baltic Sea from young scientists and a number of their blog posts on the topic of 'Baltic Sea futures'. Topics of discussion ranged from an audience question of ‘what we as citizens can do to help’ to ‘how to increase public awareness’ and ‘visions for the Baltic Sea regional collaboration in 2030’ and ‘How to get there’.
One of the strongest messages surfacing by the young voices was the need for more positive news and reporting and how to turn negatives to positives and start reporting on good news too.
The Executive Director Kaisa Kononen of BONUS said that while research and innovation create solutions and impact, it is down to success stories and tangible examples too that we can generate wider positive resonance.
The Executive Secretary Monika Stankiewicz of HELCOM underlined that while the goals around the Baltic Sea are shared by many, and reachable, the key is in close collaboration. This is not only in the form of HELCOM’s ‘old and dear marriages’ with the EUSBSR spatial planning horizontal action co-lead VASAB, and BONUS on knowledge generation front, but also far wider and across all sectors.
Furthermore, the Executive Secretary Talis Linkaits of VASAB noted the importance of providing a common platform for practitioners, researchers, policy makers and stakeholders alike to come together on regular basis in order to grasp the importance of the ‘big’ picture necessary in the maritime spatial planning. The next Baltic Maritime Spatial Planning Forum co-organised by VASAB, Baltic SCOPE and ICES in Riga later this month is set out to do exactly this.
When asked about the necessity of monitoring of the Sea in the future, the Head of the International Baltic Earth Secretariat Marcus Reckermann noted the past monitoring being a critical key to future projections and a necessity that should not be overlooked when considering the future measures of helping our fragile Baltic Sea ecosystem.
When discussing the economics of protecting the Baltic Sea, Professor Kari Hyytiäinen and the Coordinator of BONUS BALTICAPP noted that many good tools to balance protection action with demands of societal and monetary pressures in the region exist already and are being used. These need, however, also further strengthening in the years to come in order to ensure economically and ecologically prosperous and sustainable Baltic Sea region.