The 11th Annual Forum of the EUSBSR

Online on 20 October 2020
Turku, Finland

Watch the programme recording


The Virtual Annual Forum took place online on 20 October 2020.  840 participants registered for the event. Below you can find information of the workshops taking place before the event.  
Video of the workshop results:

Programme recording of the event is available for everyone interested (subtitled version coming soon).

Also workshops took take place online

This year’s EUSBSR Annual Forum was intended to be cross-sectorial, multi-disciplinary, and encouraged a co-creation approach. The workshops were an important component of this approach as the real hands-on work in tackling common BSR challenges happened during the workshops. We believe that the online format can foster an innovative approach and make cooperation intensive!

The organisers of the EUSBSR Annual Forum in Turku asked the workshop coordinators to carry out the workshops online, in a format of their choosing and at any time before 10 October 2020.

One of the sessions of the online Forum was dedicated to discussing the results of the workshops. This will make the results of the workshops accessible to a wider audience. In addition, the workshop results will be included in an online publication on the future of the EUSBSR as well as made available online after the forum has ended.

Confirmed workshops

1. Where Land and Water meet in the Baltic Sea Region 2050

15 September 2020, 9:00 CET

What are the possible outlooks for territorial and maritime developments in the Baltic Sea Region 2050? Recently ESPON in cooperation with VASAB has developed scenarios for spatial development of the BSR in 2050 and the EMFF supported the development of maritime scenarios for the Baltic Sea in 2050 for Finland. This session aims at bringing the spatial development and maritime scenarios into a comprehensive discussion about possible outlooks towards 2050.

Scenarios are possible alternative futures and this session will bring together six different possible futures for the Baltic Sea (Region) to simulate a debate about likely futures and the interplay between different possible future development paths. 3 spatial scenarios derive from a cooperation between VASAB and ESPON, i.e. (a) a quantitative baseline scenario, and two territorial scenarios based on participatory approaches (b) well-being in a circular economy, (c) growing into green-tech giants. 3 maritime scenarios as part of Finnish Maritime Spatial Planning process - (d) dancing with big business, (e) profitability under the environment’s terms and (f) Baltic Sea of restrictions and tensions. Taken together these scenarios will lead to a joint debate about possible futures and the interplay between maritime and spatial developments in the decades to come.

Contact: Liene Gaujeniete, VASAB Secretariat, 

Link to register

Video of the workshop results:

2. The ESA-Baltic Earth Workshop on Earth Observation in the Baltic Sea region

21 September 2020, 9:0017:30 CET

The focus on a digital economy puts the Baltic region on the top of the list of innovative areas  in Europe manifesting in a high condensation of national and regional science and technology parks, incubators, start-ups,  and innovation centres which are spurring disruptive entrepreneurship environment. As a result the entities in the region develop many pioneering concepts to support e-governance and digital data management solutions, including on the intersection of Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Earth Observation. In this context, this ecosystem represents an opportunity to support innovative EO-driven science, applications and information services to face some of the pressing issues, while at the same time catalyse  innovation and growth in the Baltic basin.

The objective of the ESA Baltic Regional Initiative is to enhance the use of state-of-the art European satellite missions (ESA and European missions) to support definition and cooperative implementation of regional priorities in the Baltic, in line with national policy objectives, in the context of the EU legislation, national legislation as well as the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) framework. The workshop will focus on the issue on how we can achieve measurable progress in embedding EO derived information into the strategies and cooperation actions within the Baltic, and enhance and promote the use of the EO platforms capabilities for regional-scale processing, data fusion and information delivery.

Contact: Anna Burzykowska, European Space Agency
Jérôme Benveniste   
Marcus Reckermann 

Co-organized by the European Space Agency and the International Baltic Earth Secretariat at Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht

Link to register:
If you are interested to join the workshop, please send an e-mail to, with your full name, affiliation and research interest.

3. Risks and (untapped) potential of digitalisation in ports and at sea

28 September 2020, 12:30 CEST

The workshop will focus on digitalisation of port operations and procedures, including the associated opportunities, threats and hazards. In this context, the aim is to promote new and sustainable business models, innovations, project initiatives and intra-regional collaboration in the Baltic Sea Region.

Digitalisation is a driver of innovation and sustainability across all sectors, effectively addresses many of the global challenges that citizens and businesses face today. Digitalisation also affects global shipping and ports, where macro-regional collaboration on maritime digitalisation can help turn climate and environmental challenges into new opportunities in line with the EU Green Deal, strengthen crisis management and rescue capabilities in ports and at sea, and address the rising threat of cyberattacks.

In the workshop, we will explore the gaps and experiences of existing initiatives and approaches, and identify opportunities and threats. We will gain new perspectives, insights, and inputs by inviting participants from academia, industry, and governments to discuss and co-develop a foundation for strategic projects based on macro-regional collaboration.

Breakout sessions: 

  • Digitalisation and the Green Transition. What is needed from the port stakeholders to effectively utilise digitalisation?
  • Digitalisation: Opportunities and Threats to Maritime Safety. Can we use digitalisation as a tool to improve safety for seafarers and port workers?
  • Increased Cyber Security Threats at Sea and in Ports. How do we ensure that digitalisation does not become a liability in the maritime sector?
  • Digitalising Sea and Land Linkage. How do we ensure seamless and smart multimodal transportation?

 The workshop is structured with a plenary session including a brief Q&A, breakout sessions and concluding remarks and wrap up. 

Contact: Rasmus Uglebjerg With, Danish Maritime Authority, or Josefine Eva Lilly Pallesen, Danish Maritime Authority,

4. Baltic meets Arctic – young people in the heart of sustainable future

30 September 2020, 13:0015:00 CET

Four of the Baltic sea countries; Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Russia are also Arctic states with Arctic regions and the Barents Euroarctic region touches directly the Baltic sea. The political emphasis on the Arctic means increased attention to the northernmost regions of the Baltics too.

Arctic, Barents and Baltic face together the challenges of climate change, resiliency, and sustainability. These challenges were not born over night and they cannot be solved overnight either.  The European Commission has presented The European Green Deal – a roadmap for making the EU's economy sustainable by turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities across all policy areas and making the transition just and inclusive for all.

In aging Europe younger generations will play an important role in facing and addressing these challenges and creating innovative solutions towards more sustainable, green growth. Actions necessary are expected to transform our way of living and working, of producing and consuming. 

The Europe is also challenged with lack of competent workforce. This problem is also faced in the Arctic regions. The European Arctic has also a lot to offer for people who appreciate clean nature and safe environments.

Young leaders of today have started to demand more from policy makers and officials, rightly so. They demand for a seat in the table. How does this correspond in the northern region where different interests meet?

Contact: Anne Rännäli-Kontturi, City of Oulu,

For full description of the website:

Link to the Zoom meeting:

5. Unlocking the nutrient recycling potential in the Baltic Sea Region

30 September 2020, 13:0015:30 CET 

Plant nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorus, are recognized in EU Circular Economy policies, including the new Circular Economy Action Plan with the aim of promoting sustainable use of nutrients, recycling of nutrients and developing and advancing the use of recycled nutrients. The accumulation of nutrients in intensive livestock production areas and lack of sustainable solutions to recycle nutrients from waste waters are critical issues to solve in order to scale-up circular economy, mitigate climate change and reduce eutrophication in our inland and marine waters.

The workshop will discuss the state-of-the-art in nutrient recycling within and across the two sectors, agriculture and municipal wastewater management, raise a set of priority issues to address and outline recommendations to stakeholders as input to the update of the post-2020 EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.

The workshop welcomes participation of authorities, practitioners, researchers, innovators – everyone with an idea, challenge, responsibility or a question regarding nutrient recycling or products made with recycled nutrients and interest to develop and accelerate solutions on the international level.

The workshop is organised jointly by the two Interreg-funded platform projects BSR WATER ( and SuMaNu (

Contact: Kaj Granholm, Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG),

Link to register:

6. Macro-regional research cooperation - a crucial factor for implementing the Green Deal in the Baltic Sea Region

30 September 2020, 14:30–16:00 CET

The EU increasingly highlights the need to foster a more inclusive, innovation based, ecological transformation of the society and economy while the newly emerged “Fridays for Future“ movement calls for a direct transfer of scientific results into political and societal action.
In this session we want to have a closer look at how science and research cooperation can contribute to a Green Deal for the BSR.

We will explore several aspects:
1. Science-policy-society interface: How can science and research contribute to a sustainable transformation in politics, society and economy? What are framework conditions to foster innovative approaches to sustainability science?
2. Cooperation and communication: Role of cross-border and inter-disciplinary collaboration in sustainability research. How can science and research be more inclusive (including youth and citizens). How can we improve science communication?
3. What are concrete steps from the Research Community to reduce its own ecological footprint (e.g. the University of Turku’s commitment to be carbon neutral by the end of 2025, a new Carbon Compensation Model highlighting the role of R&D in climate change Mitigation, currently investigated by University of Turku and other universities)
The workshop will include a panel discussion, presentations and an interactive part involving the participants.

Contact: Tom Schumacher, Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Ministry of Science, Research and Equalities, lead partner Baltic Science Network (BSN),

7. Umbrella funding for small- and micro-scale initiatives in the BSR

2 October 2020, 10:00-13:00 CET

The BSR is a vivid region with regards to trans-national cultural activities of formal and informal associations.  For the many actors, the obstacles to funding through the classical cultural funding elements are often too high for various reasons.  This showed the need for a funding instrument for small culture initiatives with low bureaucratic effort. The idea for a Baltic Sea-wide umbrella project with microfunding for cultural initiatives has therefore been pursued. Two key questions need to be clarified: 
- How can we link the local and grassroot approach of many cultural actors to the aim of connecting the Baltic region, how can the many small projects and initiatives help fostering societal and economic resilience?
- How can we organise a funding instrument that minimises the bureaucratic burden for communities in cultural cooperation by facing also the legal requirements?

Expected result:

- A clearer vision of the needs of the creatives/ potential beneficiaries
- Sharpening the political vision of supporting small and micro scale initiatives in the culture sector
- Showing the core points of umbrella projects for microfunding
- Developing concrete demands for the structure of the upcoming Interreg programmes 2021-2027

Workshop agenda:

Contact: Rafał Jewdokimow

Anja Uhlenbrok

8. STEAM – Science and Technology Path for Every Child and Youngster

2 October 2020, 12:0014:30 CET

STEAM comes from the words Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. These are the skills needed in the future and this workshop concentrates on one very basic, yet extremely important question: how to build science and technology path for every child and youngster through the education.

The aim of this workshop is to discuss STEAM work, share best practices and experiences and plan the future activities in the Baltic Sea Region.

Workshop includes case studies (STEAM Turku and other best examples from the BSR) about STEAM-cooperation and youngsters role in this work. Moreover, participants take active part in discussion about the future STEAM cooperation in the area. This part of the workshop utilizes the best inclusive and innovative methods of inclusion of all the participants.

Participants of the workshop represent diversely different stakeholders (educational organizations, decision-makers, youth workers, youngsters, enterprises etc.).

Gender balance has taken into account in the organization of the workshop (for example, at least half of the speakers and moderators are female).

Contact: Matti Mäkelä, Head of the PMO, City of Turku / Education Division,

Link to register: 

9. The art of staying healthy – Can culture improve our wellbeing?

6 October 2020, 10:00–12:00 CEST

There is very good evidence for the positive effects of arts on health and well-being, both in prevention and treatment. However, interventions are mostly local or national and short-term. To fully untap the potential of arts-based interventions, we need to create a better understanding of how art impacts our well-being and how this can be used in to promote better health for people of all ages and backgrounds. The workshop will raise awareness for the health benefits of art interventions, facilitate the exchange of best practices from countries outside and within the BSR and brainstorm ideas for future cross-border initiatives. Presentations will cover the possibilities for using culture to improve health throughout a person’s life-course, including children and youth and the impact of art on development.

The focus of the presentations will be on introducing hands-on practical examples that could be replicated in other contexts. They should also aim at identifying ways in which both the cultural and health sector could learn from and further engage with other sectors to unlock the health-promoting potential of arts, both in everyday life and crisis situations.

The workshop is a cooperation between the NDPHS as Coordinator of the EUSBSR PA Health, the NDPC on behalf of PA Culture and the Arts Promotion Centre Finland and is organized alongside the EUSBSR Annual Forum 2020 . It is part of the inception phase for a project that is already under development between NDPHS and NDPC. It should provide input and feedback into the future strategic direction of the project and identify ways to engage other PAs/HAs represented in the EUSBSR.

Link to the programme:

Link to register:

Contact: Wiebke Seemann, NDPHS 

Video of the results:

10. Common Road Map for COOPERATION in BSR: Joint actions for Sustainable Region

6 October 2020, 13:00–16:00 CET

The Workshop aims to discuss the possible formats, actions and measures to undertake for further development of the cooperation between multilevel stakeholders in the EU and the North Western Russia, especially in the areas where such cooperation is needed and improves the efficiency of the EUSBSR and addresses the interests of both.

The Workshop is based on outcomes of the Stakeholder’ Meeting and the Session on SDGs as a common framework for strategies in BSR which took place at Forum Strategov in St. Petersburg 2019 and the Survey, carried out in 2020 where the 7 prioritised areas of cooperation have been defined by the stakeholders coming from the regions of NW Russia. The outcomes of the so far implemented CBC and BSR Interreg projects will be considered as well.

The Workshop will gather the key actors from the BSR, including representatives from cooperation platforms, cities and regions to discuss the Road Map and possibility to draft a Joint Action Plan for Sustainability of the BS Region as well as the instruments and resources needed for that purpose.

Organisers: CBSS, HA Neighbours, CBSS, HA Capacity (Swedish Institute, UBC), City of Turku, St. Petersburg Government - Committee for External Relations of Saint-Petersburg, Leontief Centre

Contact: Daria Akhutina, Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) Secretariat

Link to register:

Video of the workshop results:

11. The Sustainable Bioeconomy: Trends and Value Chain Opportunities

7 October 2020 9:3011:30 CET

The workshop aims to provide participants with the most recent insights into BSR trends and value chain opportunities for the sustainable bioeconomy and link these with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The workshop will introduce key findings from two new reports on sustainable bioeconomy and smart specialization value chain mapping in the Baltic Sea Region. The Nordic Council of Ministers will launch its recent report, Baltic Sea Region and Nordic Arctic – 10 Trends for the Sustainable Bioeconomy. The report details current trends and provides policy insights for sustainable bioeconomy development, based on the results of a literature review, expert interviews, and a survey, involving a total of 350 bioeconomy professionals in the process.

Key trends from 14 countries and autonomous regions in northern Europe will be presented in this workshop, providing insight into current developments on topics including biofuels, local branding, and circular economy, with special attention paid to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Interreg BSR project BSR S3 Ecosystem has carried out a pilot value chain mapping exercise in the area of circular bioeconomy (CBE). The aim is to contribute to the identification of opportunities for innovation-focused, macro-regional cooperation in the area of circular bioeconomy through value chain innovations. The mapping results - relevant to all innovation actors - will be presented in the workshop

Contact: Torfi Jóhannesson,

Michelle Gordon

Link to register:

Video of the results:

12. Reducing security risks related to the climate change and mainstreaming climate agenda in EUSBSR after 2020

12 October 11.00-13.40 CET

The workshop will introduce the topic of reducing security risks related to the climate change. Climate related risks for municipalities are growing in number and intensity. The EU is supporting the development of tools for working with climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction on the local level. An important part of this is determining which climate related hazards municipalities might face and how they might play out in terms of consequences. The workshop will introduce selected risks and tools for the Baltic Sea Region, namely, scenarios for three hazards for the BSR.

Furthermore, the workshop will focus on the policy dialogues on climate change and risk reduction, and on the opportunities existing in the region for climate change cooperation and facilitation.

Interactive session following the key presentations will invite the participants to address the questions raised earlier and discuss the next steps on the climate change work in the Baltic Sea Region.

As a result, the workshop will produce a joint advice on mainstreaming the climate agenda and aspects in the updated EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region after 2020.

Agenda link:

Contact: Björn Grönholm

Link to register:

13. Innovation for Carbon Neutral Transport in BSR

14 October 10:0012:00 CET

EU has already set out a clear vision of how to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. To deliver the European Green Deal, there is a need to rethink policies for clean energy supply across the economy, industry, production and consumption, large-scale infrastructure, transport, food and agriculture, construction, taxation and social benefits. Transport accounts for a quarter of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions, and still growing.

To achieve climate neutrality, a 90% reduction in transport emissions is needed by 2050. Besides other measures, there is need to ramp-up the production and deployment of sustainable alternative transport fuels. By 2025, about 1 million public recharging and refueling stations will be needed for the 13 million zero- and low-emission vehicles expected on European roads. The Commission will support the deployment of public recharging and refueling points where persistent gaps exist, notably for long-distance travel and in less densely populated areas. PA Innovation, PA Transport, PA Energy and HA Climate will at joint seminar explore the status, barriers and opportunities to boost wider use of hydrogen as clean vehicle fuel and as energy storage required for wider deployment of  large-scale offshore wind energy production in BSR.

Contact: Valdur Lahtvee, CBSS,

Link to register:

Original workshop format and rules of participation

The 11th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region is organised in an exceptional time. The Action Plan of the Strategy will be updated, and the European Commission is coming forward with new initiatives such as the European Green Deal and many more. The Baltic Sea Region has a unique opportunity to be a forerunner, which is why the Annual Forum is looking Towards a Decade of Innovation and Sustainability.

The main purpose of the Forum is to gather stakeholders and to discuss how to best cooperate within the EUSBSR framework and how to tackle topical challenges on a macro-regional level. Many challenges in the Baltic Sea Region are common for several countries and have a cross-sectoral nature.

The solutions to these challenges benefit from being addressed together by various countries and sectors. The Annual Forum 2020 will facilitate a stronger dialogue among stakeholders from different countries and sectors. The aim is to form innovative constellations to find common approaches, which will contribute to the three objectives of the Strategy; Save the Sea, Connect the Region, Increase Prosperity.

To facilitate the development of truly cross-sectorial teams for each workshop we came up with a set of guidelines for the organisation of the workshops:

  1. The format of the event is a 90 min workshop led by a facilitator(s). The task of the workshops is to discuss sustainable and innovative solutions to problem(s) that have been chosen or raise an interesting point that might have been overlooked. You are free to choose the most appropriate method to carry out the task.
  2. All workshops should be cross-cutting. Workshops relevant for three or more Policy Areas or Horizontal Actions of the EUSBSR will be given a strong priority.
  3. The organisation of the workshops should be inclusive and participation as diverse as possible. Gender balance should be taken into account and it is recommended to include inter alia representatives from the private sector, academic institutions, youth and NGOs in the workshop.
  4. The outcome of the workshop should be as concrete as possible. The following day, the outcome will be discussed in the sub-plenaries and summarized in the closing plenary with a vision forward.

The deadline for submitting the proposals for workshops was 15 March 2020.