It is very easy to say that the voice of youth has to be heard – but it is harder to make it happen.
But youth and actions for young people are about to be more prioritised in the CBSS’ work since a genuine interest in intensifying cooperation in this field has been expressed by various regional partners and stakeholders.
On 14 November 2017, the CBSS Secretariat hosted representatives from the Baltic Sea States Sub-regional Cooperation (BSSSC), the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM), Union of the Baltic Cities (UBC), Euroregion Baltic (ERB), National Council of Swedish Youth Organisations (LSU), the Swedish Institute, from EUSBSR Priority Area Education and Horizontal Action Capacity, to discuss the role of ensuring that the perspectives of young people are heard, and to increase their involvement in actions and policies in the Baltic Sea Region. Director General of the CBSS Secretariat, Ambassador Maira Mora, opened the meeting and welcomed the participants by stressing that “democracy requires the participation of all and not just of adults”.
During the meeting, the present state of youth cooperation was reflected on, how it could look like in the future and how to create a joint platform for youth participation in the Baltic Sea Region which would help to make their voices heard in policy-making and implementation. Furthermore, the need to streamline ‘youth’ in the activities and projects of the CBSS – and in organisations present at this meeting – was expressed. Valuable input to the meeting’ agenda was also given by the CBSS Baltic 2030 Unit, which organised in June 2017 the panel discussion “Connecting the voice of the youth for a sustainable future of the Baltic Sea Region” at the EUSBSR Annual Forum, and presented the conclusions and viewpoints of the young panellists concerning the implementation of the UN SGDs and general involvement in political decision-making processes.
Young people have a main role in shaping the future of our region. As it was also expressed during the symposium A Future Outlook on Cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region in Reykjavík in March 2017, active dialogue, openness and mutual understanding are key elements for successful future cooperation. In this context, the upcoming Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue in Helsinki and St. Petersburg was highlighted as a programme for young people, supporting to build transnational trust and providing a basis for sustainable Baltic Sea youth cooperation in media, education, science and the labour market.