Key issues for working with the EUSBSR were the theme of this year's traditional Autumn Meeting held in Helsinki.
Minister of Foreign Affairs in Finland, Mr. Pekka Haavisto welcomed the participants and underlined the importance of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and the dedicated job performed by Policy Area Coordinators, Horizontal Action Coordinators and National Coordinators.
Participants discussed, among other things, how to formulate realistic and measurable targets and indicators in the new Action Plan that will be applied during the next program period.
Important discussion also concerned the transition process from a project-oriented working method to building processes and the role of the steering groups in organizing policy loops.
The last workshop covered two themes: What capacities need to be further developed and Communication. The participants called for an introductory package for EUSBSR rookies and also a uniform presentation of EUSBSR, where the website should be made into the point of entrance to all EUSBSR related information. It is far from optimal for almost every PA and HA to have it´s own website, without any coordination with others.
You can find some of the material from the Autumn Meeting here.
Collaboration between the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) and the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference (BSPC) was the main topic during a meeting in Stockholm on October 5.
The meeting discussed how policy recommendations, developed within the Strategy, can be forwarded through the channels offered by the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference. In the meeting participated Bodo Bahr, Secretary General, BSPC, Ralph Hermansson, International Adviser, Swedish Parliament, Daria Akhutina, Senior Adviser, Council of the Baltic Sea States, Bo Andersson, Secretary General, Norden Association in Sweden, and Anders Bergström, Horizontal Action Coordinator, HA Capacity.
Posted by HA Capacity, Monday, 26th March 2018 @ 5:04pm
PARTICIPATION DAY AND NETWORKING VILLAGE
- PROMOTION OF INVOLVEMENT AND PARTICIPATION
The EUSBSR has created a coherent and structured framework for joint actions to address common challenges and mobilize macro-regional resources in the Baltic Sea Region; many are those who have been given formal roles and responsibilities in accordance with the Action Plan. The long-term viability of the Strategy is nevertheless dependent upon continued efforts to secure the engagement and active involvement also of actors that are not formally charged with “duties” in accordance with the EUSBSR and its Action Plan, e.g. local and regional authorities, business, academia and civil society organisations. One venue well suited to achieve this aim is the Annual Forums with the Participation Day and the Networking Village.
Besides plenary sessions and seminars participants in the Annual Forums need a meeting place where they can discuss their ideas for cooperation with PACs/HACs or ask questions on how to get involved in our development processes. This is also the place where our flagships can present their results and meet with potential partners. This year we return to what before has been an integrated part of our Annual Forums, the Networking Village. Some of you remember these meeting places from the Forums in Turku, Jūrmala, Vilnius, Gdansk and Copenhagen.
In Tallinn we will have five stands. Three of them for our Policy Areas, grouped around the three overall objectives. One stand for our Horizontal Actions and a fifth one for the EU Commission. Each of the stands are equipped with a desk, a place to put information material, a screen (with a lap top) and a place to put a role-up. You as PAC or HAC are welcome to use these stands for presenting your PA/HA, your flagships and for holding meetings with participants in the Forum. With more than one PA/HA in each stand we prepare a rolling scheme where you as PAC/HAC sign up for a time slot when you or someone representing your PA/HA will be present at the stand. HA Capacity will take care of the hosting, making sure someone always will be at the stand, keep it clean and be able to answer more general questions.
Enclosed you will find a picture of the stand and a plan of the Networking Village. We need your answer with a request for a time slot at the latest on 20 May. Please register here for your time slot:https://goo.gl/forms/xGEjaabbyqfeMXBz2 Until then we need also the videos or slide shows you would like to present at the screen. We will inform you later on when and where we need your information material and roll-ups.
This half-day prior to the Annual Forum should be understood as a market place where stakeholders can present their ideas, get feed back and guidance from PACs enabling new stakeholders to take part in the implementation of the Strategy. Our aim is to reduce the step into the Strategy, making our guiding principle with multi-level governance and cross-sectorial cooperation a reality.
This year’s Participation Day will focus on three themes
Sustainable consumption and production (PA Bioeconomy)
Integration of refugees (PA Education)
Energy efficiency (PA Energy)
We invite representatives of EUSBSR stakeholders, such as local and regional authorities, civil society organisations, academia, business and media, to this Tallinn Participation Day. Welcome to spread it to your stakeholders and contacts.
Posted by HA Capacity, Monday, 15th January 2018 @ 11:18pm
Inom ramen för EU:s Östersjöstrategi har Umeå kommun och Föreningen Norden nöjet att inbjuda er till
Participation Day i Umeå
Tid: Torsdagen den 22 mars 2018
Plats: Nolia Konferens, Signalvägen 3, Umeå
Kom och delta i en ny form av europeiskt samarbete! Dagens problem är ofta komplexa och kräver gemensamma lösningar. Participation Day i Umeå samlar lokala och regionala aktörer i gemensamma utvecklingsprocesser.
Under Participation Day får din organisation möjlighet att presentera projektförslag eller andra samarbetsförslag till transnationellt samarbete i Östersjöregionen.
Posted by HA Capacity, Monday, 15th January 2018 @ 10:48pm
The EUSBSR can be used as a driver for development as well as a platform for cooperation. This was thoroughly discussed during a workshop with PA Health in Riga on December 6. The workshop involved representatives from around the Baltic Sea Region aiming to increase the capacity for transnational cooperation in the Health sector.
- For me, valuable discussions were about finding common solutions for societal challenges within the health area, and also to better understand the intervention logic and flagship concept as proposed by HA Capacity, says Olga Andreeva Deputy Manager at the Federal Research Institute for Health Care Organization and Information of MoH of the Russian Federation.
In essence, the ESUBSR functions as an interconnected system. It facilitates strategic processes and supports collaboration aimed to implement policy as well as concrete action. Macro-Regional Strategies, such as the EUSBSR, give us a policy framework for tackling complex societal challenges. The approach emphasizes transnational cooperation as a method, whereby stakeholders are activated through a structure for multilevel governance.
The PA Health workshop specifically centred on different aspects of policy impact and how it can be achieved through policy development; the implementation of relevant actions; and through developing new methods and solutions in order to better implement and achieve policy targets. Discussions also focused on aligning funding structures as well as on the relationships between project, process and policy.
- I was a total beginner in this field so everything that was discussed gave me new perspectives and insights, but that which I remember the most are the discussions on how projects, processes and policy connect and interact, says Bartosz Zablocki, Senior Specialist at the Ministry of Health in Poland.
One challenge in working with Macro-Regional Strategies, designing flagship processes and guiding project promoters seems to be to define relevant and properly dimensioned objectives and targets.
- We should be realistic about what we aim for in our projects and programmes. Instead of aiming at specific health outcomes (e.g. reducing mortality or morbidity), better institutional capacity may be a more realistic objective, especially in the context of macro regional collaboration networks, says Ûlla-Karin Nurm, Director at the NDPHS Secretariat.
Posted by HA Capacity, Wednesday, 18th October 2017 @ 10:59pm
“If we fix good multi-level coordination of discussions and activities, we might eliminate the need of persuading each other of the value, and move to more collaborative mode of engagement.” This was the conclusion of the open space exercise starting with the question “How will you convince the holder of national EU Funds to invest in macro-regional strategies?”
National Coordinators / Policy Area Coordinators / Horizontal Action Coordinators together with representatives of Managing Authorities in European Structural and Investment Funds, 54 participants in total gathered for the first module of the EUSBSR Support in Riga. This module will be followed by five more in this capacity building programme for coordinators in the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. The programme is based on peer learning with three priorities;
The topic for the 1st module was “Aligning Funding for Policy Impact” with discussions such as cooperation across functions: Alignment in Practice Exploring alignment of funding in smaller cross-functional teams, with real-life formats that PACs and HACs work in and Beyond 2020: feeding forward to the new funding period. Designing a collaboration interface between PACs/HACs, National Coordinators and the EU funding programmes.
Next module will be held in Tallinn on 12 and 13 December with the topic; Monitoring & Evaluation in the EUSBSR: WHAT? WHY? HOW?
Posted by HA Capacity, Thursday, 14th September 2017 @ 10:58pm
The NDPHS Secretariat as the Coordinator of the Policy Area “Health” within the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR), along with coordinators of the EUSBSR Horizontal Action “Capacity”, invites regional stakeholders to apply for training on project design, development and implementation. The training will be organized on 8-9 November 2017 in Riga, Latvia.
The training aims at stakeholders active in the Policy Area “Health” and will be held over two days. During the first day (ran by coordinators of the Horizontal Action “Capacity”), the focus will be on the EUSBSR in general, and the Policy Area “Health” in particular. On the second day, the NDPHS Secretariat will hold training on project development and implementation for stakeholders active in the Policy Area “Health”. Its focus will be on proper planning of project elements by employing various project management tools.
During the training participants will have a possibility to split into separate teams to discuss the concrete ideas and actions as well as to exercise tools introduced during the training.
The training will be held as part of a project “Support to coordination and implementation of activities within the EUSBSR Policy Area "Health" currently being implemented by the NDPHS Secretariat thanks to a grant provided by the European Union through its Interreg BSR Programme 2014-2020.
The call for applications is open until 20 September 2017.
A lot of hope is attached to regional cooperation and its ability to pull EU out of current difficulties, connected to Brexit and the refugee crisis.
Cooperation must get closer to the people and include organizations at all levels in society, local, regional, national, NGOs and academia. EUSBSRs first Participation Day ever, an idea that originated in the Danube Strategy, took place in Berlin in connection to this years Annual Forum. The arrangement gave new stakeholders possibility to meet experienced stakeholders and discuss new projects.
CLICK HERE to read more about Participation Day 2017 in Berlin.
Posted by HA Capacity, Friday, 28th April 2017 @ 10:38am
Between April 5-6 the EUSBSR Spring Meeting took place in Stockholm. With a large number of HACs, PACs, but also representatives of DG Regio and the NCs present the Spring Meeting has developed into an important opportunity to further align and enhance our work.
The links below lead to all presentations and minutes of the workshops at the meeting.
Posted by HA Capacity, Tuesday, 25th April 2017 @ 11:34am
HA Capacity offers individual workshops for each PA (targeting the coordination team, stakeholders and/or others in the networks). The purpose is to help coordinators develop tools, skills and competencies for further implementation of the EUSBSR.
The workshop will centre on your needs as PAC and could focus on strategic processes and policy development, alignment of funding, competence development of the network, etc.
The workshop will be planned and facilitated by HA Capacity, but in close cooperation with you as PAC.
Contact Anders Bergström (email@example.com) for a personal consultation and/or to book a workshop.
The Baltic Sea NGO Network, the Union of the Baltic Cities and the Swedish Institute are assigned as Horizontal Action Coordinators (HAC) for HA Capacity. The Baltic Sea NGO Network has appointed the Norden Association in Sweden, and the Union of Baltic Cities has appointed the Centrum Balticum Foundation, to fulfil on their behalf obligations as HAC. The presented work programme describes how these organisations plan to fulfil the assignment in the period May, 1st 2016 until April, 30th, 2018.
Let the competence, insight and funding from your transnational projects be strategically used for the long-term benefit of your home organisation. Unboxing the sandbox is a new leadership programmedesigned to help organisations unlock the full potential of transnational cooperation. Dr Mikael Olsson, project leader from the Swedish Institute invites senior elected officials and head of administrations to view the programme as a key to capacity building within the Baltic Sea Region:
We offer this programme to improve the overall understanding of the complexities of modern day local and regional administration when it is faced with cross-border and transnational challenges and opportunities.
What is the challenge with transnational cooperation that you target with this programme? For many years, hundreds and hundreds of cross-border and transnational projects have started in various constellations in the region. Many of these projects proved to have limited durability. They often cease to exist when funding runs out and the project results are seldom integrated into the normal operations of the home organisation.
Why, do you think? One explanation is that these projects have been developed and managed in relative detachment from their home organisation. In computer security terminology those projects are called ”sandboxed” and in practice they work as international satellites of their home organization, the ”mother ship”.
So how does this new programme solve the problem of integrating project results? Based on this assumption of sandboxing, we have designed the programme to problematize the current conditions and to find ways and strategies whereby transnational projects can be ”unboxed”. The competencies, insights and funding from transnational projects can be strategically used for the long-term benefit of the home organisation.
Who can participate? We target the local and regional level in the Baltic Sea Region; in particular senior elected officials (politicians) and the head of administrations (administrators). These two groups represent the strategic level of each organisation, with the position to redesign the existing governance structure that has allowed the ”sandboxing” of transnational cooperation.
Who develop this programme? The programme is developed by the Swedish Institute in cooperation with the Norden Association and with support from among others the Baltic Sea Commission and the Union of Baltic Cities.
The leadership programme Unboxing the sandbox consists of three modules in 2016:
I. A landscape of sandboxes Warsaw, 22-24 February; the logic and track record of what has been, the intent and adaptability of existing strategies and visions.
II. Tools and opportunities Riga, 11-13 April; understanding and adapting the existing funding and organisational matrix to the strategic needs of the home organisation.
III. Towards a new modus operandi Tallinn, 13-14 June; explanation of roles and responsibilities and organisational innovation as a way to capture the full potential of transnational cooperation.
For information on the programme contact the project leader, Dr. Mikael Olsson firstname.lastname@example.org or +46 (0)73 2572514
In order to enhance management and leadership capacity among implementing stakeholders, HA Capacity will develop four programmes for capacity building until April 2016.
The programmes will be developed in cooperation with working groups. This is an invitation to express your interest in participating in the working groups, and thereby to be part of the development of important capacity building programmes supporting the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. Each working group will consist of approximately six representatives. The aim is to get input on the needs analyses and the development of tailor-made programmes (pilots), as well as prepare pilots and proposals on financing.
The members of the working groups will represent the target groups as well as the Swedish Institute, the Baltic Sea NGO Network/Norden Association in Sweden and the Union of the Baltic Cities.
Participants of the capacity building programmes will be organisations that are essential to the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. The specific target groups of the programmes are the following four groups: PAFP, national agencies and members of steering groups; Flagship leaders / project developers / project managers; Managing authorities in the financial programmes; as well as Local and regional authorities, NGO, business and academia.
HA Capacity is looking for the following competencies, experiences and type of organisations to be part of the working groups that will prepare the programmes:
1. PAFP, national agencies and members of steering groups
- National agency and ministry employees with experience of mobilising and involving organisations at different levels in transnational/international cooperation
- Experience of coordination of international projects is as plus
- Knowledge of EU policy and programmes, e g Structural funds and preferably with a connection to the Baltic Sea Region
- Experience in this roles in the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.
3. Managing authorities in the financial programmes
- Specific responsibility and/or experience of capacity issues in connection to financial programmes
- Knowledge and experience of developing the capacity for international cooperation in local and regional organisations
- Programmes of relevance are e g transnational and cross-border programmes, ESF, Erasmus+, Horizon 2020, Bonus as well as national and regional programmes
4. Local and regional authorities, NGO, business and academia
- Practitioners with a mandate to be involved in and/or have strategic or operational experience of capacity building issues
- Organisations with experience of competence development focused on internationalisation
- Individuals with responsibilities connected to the Baltic Sea Region and international cooperation, within e g chambers of commerce
- Associations of higher education
The deadline to express interest to participate in one of the working groups is November, 20, 2015. The working groups will be nominated by HAC Capacity in the 2nd half of November, and the first meetings will take place in January with a second and final meeting in April.
In order to express your interest to participate in one of the working groups, please contact HAC - HA Capacity, Anders Bergström, The Norden Association (email@example.com) or HAC - HA Capacity, Cecilia Andrae, Swedish Institute (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Earlier in June, the Swedish Institute (SI) joined ranks with the Northern Association when SIwas assigned a formal coordinating role within HA Capacity. This prompted the interest of the Local, one of the largest English-language news networks in Europe with more than four million readers every month:
This is an article on where it all began, the road leading to HA Capacity:
Horizontal Action - Multi level governance
At the EUSBSR Annual Forum in Tallinn in October 2010, the Regional Councils in Kalmar and Västerbotten raised the importance of a multi level approach to fully unleash the regional and local potential in the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. A successful implementation of the Strategy can only be done through a close cooperation between the different political levels.
In the end of October the European Commission, DG Regio, initiated a discussion on a potential new Horizontal Action in the EUSBSR on the topics of multi-level governance.The Commission gave the Regional Councils in Kalmar and Västerbotten the task to make a short reflection paper on the content of such a horizontal action and also to take the leadership for such an action. Being a horizontal action also means that results from the actions must be integrated in other relevant priority areas and flagship projects.
The two regions have broad experiences from working with various aspects of regional development in a Baltic perspective, and where ready to take a joint and formal leadership for the new horizontal action within the EUSBSR, aiming at strengtheningmulti-level governance.
MLG is highlighted by EU.
The need for more developed governance is addressed in European documents. One example of this is the Fifth Cohesion Report that states
“Effective implementation of Europe 2020 requires a governance system that involves the actors of change in Member States and that links the EU, national, regional and local levels of administration.
In order to mobilize fully all involved, representation of local and
regional stakeholders, social partners and civil society in both the policy dialogue and implementation of cohesion policy should be strengthened. With this in mind, support for the dialogue between public and private entities, including socio-economic partners and non-governmental organizations, should be maintained.”
Another example is the White Paper on Governance from the Committee of Regions that shows how subsidiarity and multi-level-governance are mutually interdependent, subsidiarity is a prerequisite for multi level governance and vice versa. In the White Paper the Committee of Regions also suggests European Territorial Pacts that can unite different levels of governance to implement European ambitions.
In the Fifth Cohesion Report the Commission has also suggested a development and investment partnership contract that … ”will be the fruit of the discussions between Member States and the Commission on the development strategy presented in their National Reform Programmes.” It is very important that these partnership contracts are developed in a multi-level-governance context to optimize the outcome.
As the strategy moves towards a more action-oriented phase, concrete measures are crucial to ensure involvement and activity at all levels in society. As a substantial part of the planned measures of the EUSBSR action plan relies heavily on local and regional levels, a failure to involve these parties could eventually threaten the success of EUSBSR. Hence comprehensive methods, build on multi-level-governance, which facilitates local and regional contribution to the strategy is a prerequisite.
A new publication has just been produced by the INTERACT programme and is entitled 'The alignment of funding to support the EUSBSR: Where do we stand?'. This short publication includes a compilation of articles and aims to present different viewpoints on what is the alignment of funding and the state of play in its implementation. It openly presents stakeholders’ concerns and challenges in the alignment of funding process as well as gives ideas for further development.
Two new reports brings as further in understanding and promoting a closer cooperation among relevant stakeholders within the European Union Strategy for Baltic Sea Region. While “Multi-level governance in the CBC Programmes of the EU Baltic Sea region” provides an insight into how different Cross-Border Cooperation (CBC) Programmes have managed to implement the concept of MLG, the report “Pan-Baltic organizations and MLG in the EU Baltic Sea region” outlines the perspective of pan-Baltic organizations putting their voice at the centre.
What these reports highlight is that there has been no systematic effort to make sure that all categories of stakeholders, in particular local and regional actors, have the capacity to participate in the EUSBSR cooperation as policy actors. We see therefore a need to keep working for a more systematic strategy that allows all relevant actors to fully contribute to the success of the EUSBSR with the vast amount of competence that they already possess but that today is only partially exploited.
The European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) aims at reinforcing cooperation within the Baltic Sea region in order to join forces and face common challenges. As one of the Horizontal Action Leaders for HA Involve, Region Västerbotten has participated in the EUSBSR cooperation with the task to promote multi-level governance (MLG). Before leaving this task to other actors, Region Västerbotten wants to conclude the work that putted the MULTI LEVEL governance perspective on the table - with previous reports “Multi-level governance in the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region - An actor’s mapping perspective”.
Hopefully these and coming reports will provide our successors and participating stakeholders with more ideas for future work and discussion on the MLG issues. Region Västerbotten would like to wish all partners and stakeholders in the EUSBSR luck in future missions.
In the city of Umeå, gender equality is a prioritized political goal and an important element of a sustainable development. In the work for gender equality, cooperation is a key word. The UBC Commission on Gender Equality, of which Umeå currently holds the secretariat, is an important network for promoting gender equality and exchanging experiences and knowledge across the Baltic Sea region. Together with several other cities around the Baltic Sea we are developing expertise and actions in order to reach gender equality.
Goals and aims of the UBC Commission on Gender Equality
The Commission focuses on three main areas in promoting gender equality:
· Combating prostitution and human trafficking
· Adressing issues of the labour market
· Social planning, urban planning and planning work
New report on the situation for women and men in the UBC 2013
During 2013, the UBC Commission on Gender Equality has been realizing a second rapport on the situation of men and women in the Baltic Sea region, observing progress in some areas while many challenges still remain. Here is the report: Men and women in the UBC 2013. We hope that this report will help put gender issues on top of the agenda and that our cities and region will continue to share knowledge and best practice among each other. We invite you to take time to read it and reflect on how you can contribute in the work towards a gender equal society.
The Commission is open for new members. Politicians, officials, managers and other interested from the member cities are welcome to join the Commission. Both women and men are invited to join in this work!
For more information about the UBC network and the Commission on Gender Equality visit the UBC webpage: or contact us.
The Chair of the Commission:
Ms Charlotte Lundqvist
Head of Strategic Development
City Hall, SE-901 84 Umeå, Sweden
Tel. +46 90 161092
Coordinator of the Commission
Ms Jennie Branden
Substituting Gender Equality Officer
City Hall, SE-901 84 Umeå, Sweden
In 2013, HA Involve conducted a series of activities aimed at highlighting and promoting an enhanced multi-level governance in the context of the Baltic Sea Strategy. Among other things, HA Involve participated in various meetings, conferences and seminars in the Baltic Sea cooperation, as well as at meetings in other contexts such as Open Days and the Working Group on the Baltic Sea Strategy in the Committee of the Regions in the EU. The reaserch-practitionar workshop held at the nordic institute for regional policy Nordregio in june this year, was some kind of a kick-off of a very work-intense fall.
During our meetings with various stakeholders of the strategy we note that the interest in multi-level governance is great and that the response of its importance is indisputable. The difficulties raised is as always on time-space and knowledge deficiencies.
All these studies have now been completed and we are delighted to present them all together. Even if the three reports just gives brief snapshots of the multi-level governance of the Baltic Sea Strategy they help us take small but important steps in our understanding of a successful implementation of the Strategy.
Please let us know if you as a reader/stakeholder have questions or remarks on our reports - they are getting stronger if they are read, discussed and revised when needed!