The 7th Strategy Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) takes place in Stockholm, Sweden on 8-9 November 2016. The Forum is hosted by Sweden together with the Nordic Council of Ministers and in close cooperation with the European Commission.
The overall thematic focus of the Forum is the future of the Baltic Sea region and a desired vision for 2030. The Forum will be used to discuss how the EUSBSR can or should contribute to a desired development within its three objectives: Save the Sea, Connect the Region and Increase Prosperity. EUSBSR is the first macro-regional strategy in Europe. It aims to reinforce cooperation within the Baltic Sea region in order to face several challenges by working together as well as promoting a more balanced development in the area. The Strategy also contributes to major EU policies and reinforces the integration within the area.
Interreg Baltic Sea Region plans to participate in the Forum with two workshops on the theme of Clear Waters and Blue Growth - Added value in cooperating in project clusters. The objective of the workshops is to investigate the needs and wants for project clusters in the Baltic Sea Region and Northern Europe in the area of clear waters and blue growth. The expected outcome is to obtain information from workshop participants as to whether there is a demand for Interreg Baltic Sea Region to provide leadership in the creation of project clusters in this particular field.
Both clear waters and blue growth are included in the Interreg Baltic Sea Programme priority 2 'Efficient Management of Natural Resources'. Ten projects focusing on these fields were approved in the first call for projects in 2015.
With the clear waters objective Interreg Baltic Sea Region helps to develop integrated approaches to further reduce nutrient loads and to decrease discharges of hazardous substances to the Baltic Sea and regional inland waters. The Programme wants to increase efficiency of water management for reduced nutrient inflows and decreased discharges of hazardous substances based on enhanced capacity of public and private organisations dealing with water quality issues.
Blue growth - understood as smart, sustainable and inclusive economic and employment growth from the sea and coasts - provides opportunities for the Baltic Sea region as it holds growing potential for the economic use of resources and protection of its environment. With the blue growth objective the Programme wants to advance sustainable and resource-efficient blue growth based on increased capacity of public authorities and practitioners within the blue economy sectors.
The Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme facilitates the engagement of individual projects in project clusters. The clustering instrument enables joint activities of project partners representing different projects in different funding programmes working in closely related thematic areas. The instrument reflects the Programme’s ambition to contribute to institutional capacity building in the region.