Action Plan of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.

morza Bałtyckiego

Effective July 1, 2023. Poland, along with Sweden and Latvia, has become part of the chairing troika of the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (SUERMB or EUSBSR). On the other hand, from July 1 next year, our country takes over the chairmanship of the SUEMB National Implementation Coordinators Group and the Thematic Areas Steering Groups, so it is worth recalling its goals and the revised 2021. Action Plan.

Objectives of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.

SUERMB is the first EU macro-regional strategy, which was adopted by the European Commission and endorsed by the European Council in 2009.

The goal of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region is to save the sea (Save the Sea), increase integration of the region (Connect the Region) and increase prosperity (Increase Prosperity).

SUERMB Action Plan

The main tool for implementing the Strategy is the Action Plan, the latest revision of which was initiated in late 2019. and responded to new challenges, among others. related to: advancing climate change, the new Multiannual Financial Framework 2021 – 2027, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the consequences of increased immigration to the EU.

The revision also aimed to shorten and simplify the document.

The revised Action Plan of the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region maintains the three main objectives of SUERMB and identifies complementary specific objectives, such as:

  • Clear water in the sea (Clear water in the sea);
  • Rich and healthy wildlife;
  • clean and safe shipping;
  • Reliable energy markets (Reliable energy markets);
  • Good transport conditions (Good transport conditions);
  • Connecting people in the region (Connecting people in the region);
  • Better cooperation in fighting cross-border crime;
  • Improved global competitiveness of the Baltic Sea Region;
  • Climate change adaptation, risk prevention and management.

SUERMB activities

SUERMB activities are implemented through 14 Thematic Areas (Policy Areas): Nutri, Bio-economy, Energy, Hazards, Innovation, Ship, Safe, Spatial Planning, Secure, Tourism, Transport, Culture, Health and Education.

The following table summarizes the OTs and the activities assigned to them.

Thematic area (OT)Action
PA Nutri OT BiogenesAction 1: Reduce nutrient emissions from agriculture and other diffuse sources
Action 2: Reduce nutrient emissions from urban areas and other point sources
Activity 3: Develop and promote safe and sustainable recycling of nutrients
Action 4: Address nutrients already accumulated in the Baltic Sea
PA Bio-economy OT Bio-economyAction 1: Strengthen the role and importance of the bioeconomy to achieve greater sustainability, productivity and climate change adaptation, and resilience, including ecosystem resilience to climate change
Measure 2: Improving agricultural activities for sustainable development and adaptation (e.g. to climate change)
Activity 3: Strengthen resource reuse through cross-cutting and cross-sectoral approaches to unlock the potential and accelerate the development of a sustainable circular bioeconomy
PA Energy OT EnergyAction 1: Streamline energy efficiency efforts in the region by deepening regional cooperation
Action 2: Further integration of the regional gas and electricity market, including the development of climate-resilient infrastructure
Action 3: Synchronization in the Baltic region
Activity 4: Increase the share of renewable energy, including renewable offshore energy
PA Hazards OT Hazardous substancesAction 1: Prevent pollution and reduce the use of hazardous substances
Action 2: Mitigate and remediate the effects of contamination
PA Innovation OT InnovationAction 1: Challenge-based innovation
Action 2: Innovation and digital transformation
Activity 3: Innovation through co-creation
PA Ship OT Clean ShippingAction 1: Support measures to reduce emissions from ships, including digitization
Action 2: Support research on issues related to clean shipping and its impact on the Baltic Sea ecosystem
Activity 3: Support the development of waterfront infrastructure for clean maritime transport, including alternative fuel infrastructure
PA Safe OT Safe shippingAction 1: Ensure reliable navigational conditions in the Baltic Sea
Activity 2: Development of winter navigation
Activity 3: Precursor activities in the area of digitization and automation
Activity 4: Ensure preparedness and response procedures for maritime accidents and security incidents
PA Spatial Planning OT Spatial PlanningAction 1: Strengthen territorial cohesion in the Baltic Sea region through land-based spatial planning
Action 2: Ensure consistent spatial plans throughout the Baltic Sea
PA Secure OT Civil SecurityActivity 1: Build capacity for prevention, preparedness, response and recovery in emergencies and crisis management
Activity 2: Strengthen mechanisms for joint strategic and operational actions to protect people from criminal threats
Action 3: Shared culture of social security in the Baltic Sea region
PA Tourism OT TourismAction 1: Developing transnational tourism in remote and rural areas
Action 2: Investing in people, skills and technology in the tourism industry
Measure 3: Protection and sustainable use of cultural heritage and natural resources in tourist destinations
PA Transport OT TransportAction 1: Improve regional connectivity and cooperation with third countries
Action 2: Develop measures for clean and climate-neutral transportation
Measure 3: Development of innovative technologies and solutions in the region
PA Culture OT CultureAction 1: Promote regional creative and cultural sectors, encourage creative entrepreneurship
Activity 2: Promote the region’s culture and European values by using culture for sustainable development
Action 3: Preserve the cultural heritage of the Baltic Sea region, strengthen regional identity
PA Health OT HealthAction 1: Action for active and healthy aging to meet the challenges of demographic change
Action 2: Promote the mainstreaming of health in all policies, with particular emphasis on the impact of environmental factors, especially climate change, on human health
Activity 3: Strengthen stakeholder capacity to address regional health issues
PA Education OT EducationActivity 1: Preventing early school leaving and improving the transition from school to work
Action 2: International excellence of the region and wider participation in science and research
Action 3: A labor market for all, utilizing resources resulting from longer lives
Action 4: Identify potential – migrant facilitation
Source: own elaboration

Baltic Sea Strategy Point

The updated Action Plan of the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region also envisioned the creation of a Baltic Sea Strategy Point (BSP). It is intended to provide technical, administrative and communications support to SUERMB. Its tasks are:

  • Coordination of communication activities related to SUERMB;
  • Coordinate capacity building among SUERMB stakeholders (capacity building), including those from neighboring (non-EU) countries;
  • Coordinate the exchange of good practices and knowledge between thematic areas in the integration of the cooperation component on climate protection and cooperation with neighboring (non-EU) countries;
  • Coordination of SUERMB monitoring and evaluation activities;
  • SUERMB institutional memory creation;
  • Provide technical support to National Coordinators and, when possible, also to OT Coordinators;
  • Support the planning and organization of the Annual SUERMB Forums.

The BSP began its work in October 2022, and in the first months of operation focused on organizational issues, a work plan and communication, and held discussions to better identify the expectations and needs of subject area coordinators.

How can you participate in the implementation of SUERMB?

The implementation of SUERMB is based on the principle of multi-level governance, transparency and openness to new stakeholders.

The Revised Action Plan emphasizes increased participation in implementation by NGOs, civil society, youth and the business community. So far, SUERMB procedures have mainly involved national, regional and local governments; intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations; universities and research organizations.

Forms of cooperation within SUERMB

The main forms of cooperation are flagship projects (single or clustered), processes, networks and platforms, although the catalog of forms of interaction is open.

Funding for SUERMB implementation

Since SUERMB does not have its own financial resources, there is the possibility of using funds available from European territorial cooperation programs, centrally managed European financial instruments (e.g. Horizon, CEF, Erasmus+, LIFE), national operational programs, international financial institutions (e.g. the European Investment Bank) and the private sector.

The European Commission (Directorate General for Regional Policy – DG REGIO) seeks to include SUERMB in relevant EU policies and financial instruments, all so that the countries of the Baltic Sea Region have as clear and comprehensive a legal basis as possible for interaction.

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