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CBSS Baltic 2030 Expert Group on Sustainable Development meets in Stockholm

CBSS Expert Group on Sustainable Development (EGSD) gathered in Stockholm for its 17th meeting to review the work on the Baltic 2030 Action Plan, refine the communication strategy of the group and approve EGSD Working Plan for the next six months. Experts from 5 pan-Baltic organisations and 6 countries participated in the meeting.

EGSD chair, Ms. Anne-Cerise Nilsson, Head of Division at the Swedish Ministry for the Environment and Energy, opened the meeting by outlining the priorities of the Swedish chairmanship of the Expert Group for 2017-2018. The priorities include the implementation of the Baltic 2030 Action Plan, and focus on SDG 12 (Sustainable Consumption and Production), SDG 5 (Gender Equality) and SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).

Dr. Kjell Nilsson, Director of Nordregio, which hosted the meeting, introduced the trends and challenges in the Baltic Sea Region, most notably the Regional Potential Index, featured in the latest State of the Nordic Region report ( the new report is expected in February 2018).

Valdur Lahtvee, Policy Officer of the CBSS Baltic 2030 Unit, introduced the preliminary results of the mapping, carried out to create an overview of organisations and networks working with different SDGs in the Baltic Sea Region. The experts welcomed this initiative and provided useful insights on how to develop it further. The group agreed to continue the mapping jointly and to use the results to facilitate more partnerships on 2030 Agenda implementation.

Andriy Martynenko, Project Officer of the Baltic 2030 Unit, summarised the existing communication activities of the Expert Group and presented a draft outline of the EGSD Communication Strategy to the participants for comments and suggestions. The group agreed to follow the proposed structure of the Communication Strategy and to finalise the drafting process jointly in time for the next meeting in April 2018. During the discussion, two focus areas of the future communication strategy emerged: EGSD should concentrate on promoting the Baltic 2030 Action Plan and showcasing the best practices of SDGs implementation from the region.

The Expert Group was presented with a model of a web-based BSR collaborative platform for SDGs, developed by the Baltic 2030 Unit. Creation of such platform is foreseen in the Baltic 2030 Action plan as a tool to support the plan’s activation processes and to stimulate stakeholder activity by sharing knowledge and best practices. While recognizing the unique role it may play as the only macro-regional SDG-related online resource, the participants also highlighted the challenges in making the platform truly functional, such as the difficulty with ensuring active users participation. Dedicated admin team, focus on the Baltic 2030 Action Plan and linking the website with all relevant international and national SDG-related resources were named as the key factors of success.

Special guest of the meeting, Mr. Peter Repinski, Senior Expert and Head of the Societal Transition Unit at Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) informed the Expert Group about the Sustainable Lifestyles and Education Programme, co-led by the Ministry of Environment of Japan and the Government of Sweden and its 20 international projects. The programme is implemented under the UN 10-year Framework Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production. Its aim is to make sustainable lifestyles a common norm by scaling up new progressive technologies to ensure their positive contribution to addressing global challenges, such as climate change, resource efficiency, and poverty eradication.

The meeting finished with a presentation by the CBSS Baltic 2030 Unit’s Olga Zuin on recently completed project Towards Baltic 2030 – From Talk to Work. During the project, workshops were organised in Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, and Ukraine. The workshops involved government representatives, NGOs, international organizations, researchers and youth and focused on the following questions:  What institutional capacities should be built to address the SDGs in each country? How should we formulate national SDG implementation strategy? What are our common challenges for implementing the 2030 Agenda in the Baltic Sea Region? The project helped to refine the focus areas of the Baltic 2030 Action Plan and facilitated the development of the BSR collaborative platform for SDGs.