High-Level Panel Discussion: 25 Years of Nordic-Baltic Cooperation & the 1st CSO meeting under the CBSS Icelandic Presidency

On 26-27 September 2016, the Icelandic Presidency of the CBSS hosted the 1st Committee of Senior Officials meeting under their CBSS presidency and a High-Level Panel Discussion – 25 Years Nordic-Baltic Cooperation, at the Nordic House in Reykjavik. The panel discussion was opened by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, H. E. Lilja Alfreðsdóttir, with a keynote speech by the President of Iceland, H. E. Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, marking the 25th anniversary of the Icelandic recognition of the re-independence of the Baltic States.

Moderated by Ambassador Guðmundur Árni Stefánsson, Chair of the CBSS Committee of Senior Officials and Bogi Ágústsson, journalist at the Icelandic National Broadcasting Services, the panel included H.E. Lilja Alfreðsdóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, H.E. Linas Antanas Linkevicius, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, H.E. Edgars Rinkēvičs, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Latvia & H. E. Jürgen Ligi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Estonia. The discussions centred around the current and potential future formats of Nordic-Baltic cooperation.

At the 1st Committee of Senior Officials meeting under the CBSS Icelandic Presidency the members touched upon general points of cooperation, budget, as well as adopting the Annual Report for the CBSS Polish Presidency 2015-2016 and discussing the future of cooperation in the field of higher education linked to Eurofaculty. The CBSS Secretariat also presented the project Baltic TRAM, giving an overview of the CBSS Member States involvement in the project implementation and a follow-up to the 1st Science Ministerial meeting. Points of information were also shared on the activities of the innovation programme Balticlab, youth cooperation and the CBSS activities at the upcoming EUSBSR Annual Forum in Stockholm, 8-9 November.

The Icelandic Chair of the CBSS Expert Group for Children at Risk, Mr. Bragi Guðbrandsson gave an introduction to the Icelandic priority of “Children” including a short briefing on the Promise project, were the Barnahus model is promoted: a child-friendly and multiagency response to sexual abuse and exploitation. The Barnahus stands for children’s house, a model which was established in Iceland in 1998 as a way to experiment with new ways to deal with responding to the sexual abuse of children. The model embraces cooperation between social services, police, prosecutors, judges, pediatrics, and child/adolescent psychiatry in one place. Building on this model, the Promise project aims at applying the model in as many European countries as possible through a series of exchanges, reports and tools to support national-level capacity-building and multi-disciplinary and interagency implementation strategies. Mr. Guðbrandsson also touched upon the priority of unaccompanied children and trafficking, emphasising the weight of this problem he noted that the upcoming joint meeting in Reykjavik in October, were the CBSS Expert Group on Children at Risk and the CBSS Task Force against Trafficking will cooperate closely, will address child friendly measures on how to deal with suspicions of trafficking.

See more images from the meetings here .