EUSBSR Action Plan revised
Following an extensive consultation with Member States concerned and stakeholders in the Baltic Sea region, a revised Action Plan of the EUSBSR was agreed with Member States. The revised Action Plan, more streamlined and focused, consists of 13 policy areas and 4 horizontal actions, in total 17 thematic areas of macro-regional significance. It also includes a new chapter on the role of regional organisations/networks and their added-value within the EUSBSR. The revised Action Plan was presented at the Forum and is available at www.balticsea-region-strategy.eu.
Match-making of PAC/HAC and projects during the EUSBSR Annual Forum
Interreg Baltic Sea Region arranged consultations for projects applying for funds and the Priority Area Coordinators/Horizontal Action Coordinators (PAC/HAC) of the EUSBSR: 11 projects from six PA/HA (Agri, Nutri, Hazards, Energy, Innovation & Climate Change) participated.
The projects and PAC/HAC appreciated the opportunity to meet during the Forum. PAC/HAC provided projects with advice for further development (reaching out to target groups, introducing developed tools into practice, using already existing networks), supported them in identifying new partners and bridged projects addressing similar issues. For projects, the match-making was a learning experience about the EUSBSR and reaching out to the policy level.
Info seminar for PAC/HAC supported by the Programme funding
The MA/JS organised a back-to-back info seminar for PAC/HAC that receive Interreg Baltic Sea Region funding to explain the programme rules and requirements. Budget lines, documentation, control, reporting procedures and other essential issues were on the agenda. The PAC/HAC raised questions on e.g. visibility, first level control, staff costs calculation and documentation. Once the reporting tools are ready, the MA/JS will invite PAC/HAC and First Level Controllers (FLC) to a follow up seminar.
EUSBSR National Coordinators were informed about the funding opportunities
Interreg Baltic Sea Region has funds earmarked for “Support to EUSBSR PACs & HACs” and “Targeted support and communication activities”. During the meeting of the National Coordinators (NC), the MA/JS colleagues explained the outcome of the first call for PAC/HAC support as well as plans for future calls, and the available funds. Poland has taken over the chairmanship of the NC group for one year, until mid-2016.
Funding common priorities
Erik Gloersen (Spatial Foresight Consultants) presented the findings of the study on “Cooperation and tools of the European Structural and Investment Funds programmes 2014-2020 to support the implementation of the EUSBSR”. Main conclusions of the study point out that the Managing Authorities (MA) of national/regional ESIF (European Structural & Investment Funds) programmes consider that the systems are not in place to align funding to the EUSBSR projects, yet the Commission is urging the programmes to take action. Gloersen recommended that Member States should show more commitment to encourage MAs to change habits. The MAs would need more support (e.g. from PAC/HAC). Interreg programmes should be turned into a capacity building facility to support MAs and other stakeholders in supporting the implementation of the EUSBSR. The following speakers were discussing the findings of the study, partly agreeing, partly disagreeing.
True integration of science and knowledge
During the session organised by the BONUS programme the participants discussed the role of science and scientists in bridging the science-to-policy gap, particularly with the objective to achieve sustainable blue growth. The main messages from the Interreg Baltic Sea Region were: set clear aims, know your target groups, enter into a dialogue with the people whose behaviour you want to change and link to ongoing processes. Communication across fields of science and with policy makers was taken up by all panellists. The main conclusion of the event was that scientists should enter into a dialogue with policy makers and practitioners in order to get the scientific knowledge better in use for sustainable blue growth.
At the networking village
Organisations and programmes from the Baltic Sea Region were hosting stands at the networking village of the Forum. Visitors of Interreg Baltic Sea Region were interested in the upcoming calls for seed money and the next (second) call for project funding. Achievements of the successful projects and a brief info about the calls for project applications were on stage at the speaker’s corner.
More about the event
You will find for more details about the event (agenda, list of participants and video from the opening session) at www.balticsea-region.eu/forum2015. Check tweets about the event via #eusbsr.