Walk the Talk – Implementing Sustainable Development Goals in the Baltic Sea Region

  Baltic2030 with CBSS-for printingBaltic university Logo

7th Strategy Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, Stockholm, 8-9 November 2016

Organisers: Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS), Baltic 2030 Unit; Baltic University Programme (BUP)


Eva Svedling, State Secretary, Ministry for International Development Cooperation and Climate, Sweden

Jerzy Kwieciński,Secretary of State, Ministry of Development, Poland

Daiva Matoniene, Vice-Minister of the Environment, Lithuania

Stefán Haukur Johannesson, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Iceland

Gilles Gantelet, Head of the SDG Strategy Unit, European Commission, DG Environment, Belgium

Dr. Günther Bachmann, General Secretary of the German Council for Sustainable Development, Germany

Prof. Mark Howells, Director, Division of Energy Systems Analysis at the Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden (KTH-dESA), on behalf of  Diana AlarcónChief, Development Strategy and Policy Unit, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, USA


Alan AtKisson, AtKisson Group; Alise Trifane, Baltic University Programme

Session summary:

The High Level Political Session Walk the Talk: Implementing Sustainable Development Goals in the Baltic Sea Region aimed to gather relevant actors in the region and discuss the relevance of the 2030 Agenda for the BSR. The first panellists were ministerial representatives, who illustrated current national efforts for integrating SDGs in their political agendas. The second round of speakers highlighted the European Commission’s commitment and the intra-national efforts. The third sub-session presented research perspectives and showcased examples of existing modelling tools for sustainable development policies.

Public could interact with the panel by asking questions and participating in short surveys via a mobile app called MessOut. Special space was reserved to the delegation of students representing the Baltic University Programme. BUP also provided the session’s co-moderator, who was responsible for collecting the questions from the public and directing them to the speakers. After the panel the students recorded interviews with the speakers with further reflections.

Speakers’ key messages:

Sweden prioritizes issues such as education, employment and climate and considers it important to act on multiple levels of governance, to increase cooperation in the BSR and to improve communication with civil society, business and the third sector.

Poland considers sustainable development a holistic effort combining economical, ecological and social interests. For this reason special attention is paid to changing habits and attitudes in the society.

Lithuania established a national commission for SDGs implementation for combining the different dimensions of sustainability. Education is believed to play a key role in reaching the goals and particular attention is paid to educational programmes in construction and urban planning.

Iceland stressed its commitment at the global level and in the BSR, despite the geographical distance. Particular focus is directed towards the education and the promotion of geothermal technologies, soil management, sustainable business and equality.

Germany is integrating the SDGs in the creation of the new national sustainable development strategy. The process actively engages stakeholders through creating regional hubs and promotes spontaneous action rather than solutions imposed from above.

The EU Commission representative underlined that the European level needs to be included in the discussions around SDGs. The EU is ready to support, cooperate and aid countries and networks in the achievement of macro-regional objectives while trying to maintain balance between the goals.

Finally, UN tools and models for supporting policies in the implementation of the SDGs were proposed by Mark Howells. The speaker stressed that the UN tools are free and can be used by various stakeholders, besides policy-makers.

Key conclusions:

Participants expressed high appreciation with regard to the topic addressed in the panel, the discussions emerged and the quality of the speakers who were able to be informative and approach the topic of the panel in a focused way. Strongly appreciated was also the high interactivity with the audience, which allowed the public to address questions to the panelists and to express participants’ perspectives through the short surveys.

According to the survey results, the participants of the session identified the three most important topics for successful SDG implantation in BSR as: access to implementation tools, knowledge and best practices, improved cooperation and coordination on all levels and common vision for BSR.


BUPWalktheTalk report

Report written by BUP students

Interviews with the participants recorded by the students of the Baltic University Programme

Student Alise Trifane from Latvia on the Annual Forum 2016.
Student Iftikhar Syed from Finland on the Annual Forum 2016.

Eva Svedling
Interviewer: Julia Ajanko

Jerzy Kwieciński
Interviewer: Patrycja Pater

Gilles Gantelet
Interviewer: Ondrej Kohut

Professor Dr. Günther Bachmann
Interviewer: Mirjam Weituschat

Daiva Matoniene
Interviewer: Inga Brusokaite

Stefán Haukur Johannesson
Interviewer: Iftikhar Syed








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