On the 17th of May 2017, CBSS Baltic 2030 Expert Group on Sustainable Development (EGSD) met for the 16th time in Reykjavík, Iceland. Chaired by Danfríður K. Skarphéðinsdóttir, Head of Division at the Icelandic Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources, the meeting focused on two main topics: information exchange regarding Member States’ efforts in SDGs/2030 Agenda implementation and finalising the Baltic 2030 Action Plan. 17 participants represented 9 countries and 3 pan-Baltic organisations in the meeting.
SDGs and energy production – the Icelandic way
The Expert Group received an in-depth briefing on the Icelandic approach to 2030 Agenda implementation. Maria Mjöll Jonsdóttir from the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs shared her country’s latest actions and plans: backed by a special 5-year budget, Icelandic government formed a Steering Group on SDGs and is planning to establish a National Commission and a National Youth Council on SDGs, to involve all levels of governance and society in achieving the Global Goals.
Hólmfríður Sigurðardóttir, Head of Environment Affairs of Reykjavik Energy, shared Iceland’s unique work in energy production (85% of country’s energy comes from renewable sources) and the state-of-the-art research.
Baltic 2030 Action Plan – a unique macro-regional approach to common challenges
Recognising that the 2030 Agenda can only be achieved through the common and cooperative efforts of all countries, sectors, and stakeholders, in June 2016 the high representatives of the Council of the Baltic Sea States government institutions called upon the CBSS Expert Group on Sustainable Development to elaborate Baltic 2030 Action Plan, specifically tailored for the Baltic Sea Region to guide the region stakeholders through the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Since then the CBSS Baltic 2030 unit worked on the Action Plan draft in a holistic and inclusive way, drawing on the extensive knowledge of the Expert Group members and international experts as well as on the collective input from key stakeholders from the BSR countries. During the day, Melanie Rideout (AtKisson Group) presented the final draft of the Action Plan both to the Expert Group and to the CBSS Committee of Senior Officials. Both gatherings expressed their support for the document and offered constructive remarks.
After an extensive discussion on the Action Plan draft, the Expert Group agreed to finalise and approve the document by the end of the Icelandic presidency (June 2017) in order to present it for endorsement by the CBSS Foreign Ministers.
Swedish Presidency Priorities
Anne-Cerise Nilsson from the Swedish Ministry for the Environment and Energy informed the Expert Group about the priorities for the upcoming Swedish presidency in the CBSS and their relevance to the work of the EGSD. Sweden will focus on SDG12 (responsible consumption and production), SDG13 (climate action) and SDG17 (partnerships for the goals), and will promote gender equality.
Next meeting of the EGSD is planned to be held on 11th of October in Stockholm.