The Baltic Sea Initiative 2010– The what, why and how?
What is the Baltic Sea Initiative
Baltic Development Forum along with a number of its public and private partners has initiated an in-depth discussion among key stakeholders from business, politics, research and innovation agencies in the Baltic Sea region with the aim of enabling better coordination of existing initiatives, of defining joint ambitions for the region, and providing input to a strategy and an action agenda for strengthening the region’s competitiveness and innovative potential.
In short, BSI serves as a joint platform for discussion, networking and defining joint ventures, ultimately leading to coordinated and focused action. BSI is open to all institutions with a stake in the economic competitiveness, innovation and development of the 11 countries that form the Baltic Sea region.
Why the Baltic Sea Initiative
The Baltic Sea Region has been very successful in the last decade. However, the region is entering a new phase of economic and political development and is thus facing new challenges. An impressive array of regional institutions networks and initiatives has been created, constituting a huge asset and an important strength of our Region. Building on this strength in order to increase prosperity across the Region, however, requires more coordination and a shared understanding of our ambitions.
A strategy is needed to enable our efforts to be mutually supportive, to build on the strengths and potential in the Region and to provide a new direction as we enter a post-EU accession era. If we do not gather our forces across the Region to implement a concrete action agenda, we risk loosing momentum and the Region will have increasing difficulties in inspiring support and attention.
How the Process works
Key stakeholders are invited for targeted debates on how to move forward with and coordinate regional economic development. A limited number of strategic areas will be defined for the participants to choose from. Each area has a moderator “coaching” and moving the discussion forward.
The stakeholder meetings are foreseen to take place on an annual basis, preferably in the spring. Participants are triple helix representatives from each of the 11 countries in the Baltic Sea Region, as well as representatives from regional institutions, networks and initiatives.
A Core Group provides input for the target areas and follow-up in between meetings. It also works to broaden the stakeholder involvement on a national or sub-regional level and/or act as information channels to relevant regional inter-state institutions.
The Framework and Requirements
In line with the request by the Core Group in Helsinki in October 2006, Baltic Development Forum offers to be the neutral platform and secretariat for the Baltic Sea Initiative. Supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers, BDF will make the Baltic Sea Initiative a priority in its work. Each stakeholder participating in the BSI process must agree to bear his/her own costs.
A crucial requirement for the success of the Baltic Sea Initiative is the engagement and involvement of stakeholders. Active participation, input and follow-up from regional stakeholders on political levels, among the business community, research institutions, regional networks and innovation and trade agencies is necessary to formulate an action agenda of relevance – and to implement it.