On May 23-24 the Annual Event "Unlocking the potential of blue and green regional development" of the Interreg South Baltic Cross Border Cooperation Program took place in Klaipėda, the seaport of Lithuania.
The Annual Event of the Programme was dedicated to mark the successful implementation of the Programme and to present to the public the most important and interesting joint projects of the Western part of Lithuania and other regions of participating countries - Denmark, Poland, Sweden and Germany. The Programme's Annual Event attendance was high. The event attracted about 150 participants from Lithuania and other South Baltic countries. Every year, this event takes place in another South Baltic region’s country participating in the Programme.
Currently, 72 Interreg South Baltic Programme‘s projects are being implemented across 5 countries. 44 Western Lithuanian (in Klaipėda, Tauragė and Telšiai regions) organisations participate in 59 projects.
The rescue of the Baltic ecosystem from pharmaceutical pollution, the adaptation of aquaculture technologies, e.g. shrimp farms, to the specific conditions of the Baltic region, the introduction of one ticket system for various means of transport across borders, bird observation activities for attracting tourists are just some of the important projects implemented by partners in Lithuania, Denmark, Poland, Sweden, Germany.
On the first day the participants of the Annual Interreg South Baltic Programme‘s Event discussed the progress of the Programme and the future prospects of the South Baltic region after 2020, sustainable tourism, transport, green technology promotion in the region, increase of the qualification and cooperation skills of employees, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship projects in roundtables. On the second day the participants took part in two roundtables on project joint dissemination and clustering.
"Interreg South Baltic Programme provides an opportunity to cooperate in miscellaneous projects - from sustainable tourism to green technologies in the region. Topical projects related to the development of the region help to attract foreign partners and necessary investments into the South Baltic Sea area, including to the Western part of Lithuania," says Igor Kaniecki, Head of the Interreg South Baltic Joint Secretariat.
Participants of the Event had the opportunity to take part in the boat tour and see closer a project co-financed by the Interreg South Baltic Programme - the LNG terminal. Another group of participants cycled to the sites of projects that are being implemented in the city of Klaipeda.
More pictures you may find on the South Baltic Programme's Facebook
Please find below presentations, notes prepared by moderators who led roundtables and workshops.
We also asked moderators to share their thoughts about the workshops:
Arkam Ograk on dissemination and communication workshop:
"I work for Interact programme which supports Interreg programmes and we rarely directly work with project beneficiaries. The South Baltic Programme's annual event was a great opportunity for me to get in touch with projects that are the real products of the Interreg initiative. I once again realized what our everyday work is about: Meeting people working for the great projects for a better future in the South Baltic and the motivation of the participants reinforced my belief that cooperation is the way forward for Europe and beyond!"
Susanne Marx on dissemination and communication workshop:
"Communication was at the heart of our workshop: in lively discussions we considered two topics: the potential of joint communication and of cross-project communication, acknowledging the limited outreach of a single, temporary project. While joint communication activities make sense in case of overlapping target groups (e.g. local politicians), the need for cross-project exchange on communication matters was clearly addressed (e.g. a database of project communication managers and their expertise, by knowledge sharing activities, getting input on trends in communication for all projects, using speed dating at programme events). The use of project websites should be further discussed, as well as, the set up of a calendar of events. Thanks to all participants for your active participation and your ideas! I’d like to invite you again to our project's knowledge base at knowledge.balticmuseums.info, where we publish lessons learned around IT and working methods in attractions, but also some project management or event organization topics."
Arturas Razinkovas-Baziukas on project clustering workshop:
"Project clustering across different priorities could provide additional benefits when the results are linked into add value chain (e.g. introduction of green technologies could facilitate increase in recreational value and promote green tourism). Clustering of projects focused on particular geographical areas could bring enormous benefits as well - sharing stakeholder events and seeking synergy. Participants also expressed further need on horizontal co-operation between regional programmes projects (in the BSR area and beyond especially covering other regional seas as North and Mediterranean). Secretariat should promote and support such interaction which will result in the exchange of ideas and synergy. Seed money are extremely effective tool for developing high quality proposals and could be used also for this."
Rasa Viederytė on project clustering workshop:
“The aim of the workshop was to map out thematic preferences for policy and project level in the blue and green growth area, as well as the feasibility of clustering current projects into existing / same funding / different funding programs. Participants actively engaged in discussions about the possibilities and features of clustering projects, suggested priority areas for improvement of the SB Program, which would encourage projects for clustering. Workshops also reviewed the possibilities of clustering other program projects. Clustering has sparked a discussion not only about the possible direction of project clustering: between different programs, different priorities in the same program, the same priority in the same program, but also about clustering projects in organizational terms and clustering projects in terms of continuing ideas. During the event, the participants presented their projects to be implemented, presenting the potential clustering of these projects with other projects of the program, discussed which SB Program priorities could be more interconnected, and expressed their position on whether it is important to single out blue and green growth, while these priorities become horizontal, passing through other priority areas. Inspiring discussions on proposed discussion areas lasted after workshops.”
Ulf Wikström on project clustering workshop:
"I liked the open and positive attitude in the work shop. People seemed to be interested in the topic and shared their views."
Susanne Marx, Mareike Demann, Johannes Volkmar on sustainable tourism roundtable:
"The round table ‘Sustainable tourism’ was arranged under the lead question: 'What do we need to succeed in sustainable tourism cooperation post 2020?'. More than 20 participants shared their thoughts on future challenges, trends and needs for sustainable tourism development in the Baltic Sea region. The insights gained out of the discussions feed into a process towards the 11th Baltic Sea Tourism Forum from 14-15 November 2018 in Riga (Latvia) and support a position paper for the tourism sector focussing on needs and targets beyond 2020."
Dr. Dalia Baziukė on skilled labour force roundtable:
"Skilled labour force itself became a challenge. This could happen because of the mismatch between what higher education and other educational institutions are producing between the requirements and needs of businesses. What could help in this situation? Sharing, communication and cooperation are the keywords. Instead of saying “not”, let us say “do”. Cooperation, communication and sharing can help for both sectors to overcome this obstacle of mismatching skills. Competence of entrepreneurship is highly important because it will allow to start new businesses that could boost the economy of this South Baltic region."