Exploring the Northern Dimension

ND newsflash

Northern Dimension in 2030 – How to grasp the opportunities and fight the challenges?

The second Northern Dimension Day took place in Stockholm, Sweden, back‐to‐back with the 7th Strategy Forum of the EU Strategy…

Kaliningrad Wastewater Treatment Plant officially opened

The long-awaited wastewater treatment plant in Kaliningrad started operations on 7 June 2017 at full capacity. The construction work of the plant was completed in 2015, and since then the plant has been taken into use step-by-step. The handling and disposal of wastewater sludge that was a condition for the operations was ready in May 2017.

The construction of the wastewater treatment plant was started as early as the 1980s. The project has been delayed for years, it has met with many obstacles, and the construction work was been suspended several times. It was not until December 2007 when the Russian Federation confirmed its funding for the project and the Financing Agreement of the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership was signed. The project also includes the drinking water treatment plant in the eastern part of the city (EUR 35 million), which should be completed in 2018.

Kaliningrad wastewater treatment plant is very good news for the Baltic Sea, because until very recently, this city of almost half a million people was pouring 150,000 cubic meters of raw sewage into the sea every day. What has been in the making for more than forty years is now up and running.

Sources: Ministry of the Environment and Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and Nordic Investment Bank.

BSR Policy Briefing: The EU-Russia relations and their reflections in the Baltic Sea region - Some recommendations for policy-makers

BSR Policy Briefing: The EU-Russia relations and their reflections in the Baltic Sea region - Some recommendations for policy-makers

By Stanislav L. Tkachenko

Since the early spring 2014 the European Union-Russia relations are in a deep crisis. Re-evaluation of principles and aims of the EU relations with Russia has been done at the level of communitarian structures in Brussels as well as by all EU member states. Multiple Russia’s attempts to destroy unity of the EU countries regarding rejection to recognize integration of Crimea into Russian Federation have failed. EU member states and the Union’s structures see Russia as fighting actor in the bloody conflict in Eastern Ukraine, but Russia ignores these claims. Current stalemate situation requires innovative steps for restoration of dialogue between the two entities. First of all, it is crucially important for the Baltic Sea Region as the only area where the EU and Russia have common land border. Future dialogue should be grounded at principles of mutual rejection of economic and visa sanctions, as well as on confidence-building measures, especially in hard-security issues. New Foreign Policy Concept of Russian Federation, which was adopted on November 30 2016, provides solid political and legal ground for these initiatives.

Read more on the Centrum Balticum's website.

From 2013 onwards Centrum Balticum has published BSR Policy Briefing series. Articles of Baltic Sea Region experts dealing with topical and significant issues of the region are published in the series.

Baltic Rim Economies 6/2016 published

The Pan-European Institute publishes a discussion forum, Baltic Rim Economies (BRE), which deals with the development of the Baltic Sea Region. In the BRE review, high-level public and corporate decision makers, representatives of Academia as well as several other experts contribute to the discussion.

The latest issue of the Baltic Rim Economies (BRE) review was published on the 19th of December 2016. This issue includes, among others, articles “Standing by Ukraine” written by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, ”The future we want for the Baltic Sea region” by President of Finland 2000-2012, Tarja Halonen, and ”Thinking and acting internationally is in the DNA of Turku” by the Mayor of the City of Turku, Aleksi Randell.

Read the latest issue: BRE 6/2016

Promoting clean shipping by learning from sulphur regulations - project Envisum

Air pollution control of ships is receiving a lot of attention. While international organisations and governments have been actively fighting greenhouse gas emissions from industry and cars since the 1970s, ships were tackled only at the beginning of this millennium. Decreasing sulphur emissions has been in focus for the past years with a step-wise tightening of sulphur limits in fuelling ships. The Baltic Sea is a forerunner and test region for tighter limits. The cooperation project EnviSuM looks into the effects of the latest sulphur-limit tightening on human health, environment and the economy, namely the shipping sector.

Centre for Maritime Studies of the University of Turku is the lead partner of the Interreg project.

Read more on Interreg Baltic Sea website or visit the EnviSuM project page.

HELCOM meeting: Greenlighting assessment tools and indicators for State of the Baltic Sea report

​​​​​​​Delegations representing all Baltic coastal states as well as the EU meet this week at HELCOM headquarters to discuss and decide on the best measures for improving the Baltic marine environment.

The meeting participants will face major decisions required for completing HELCOM State of the Baltic Sea report Draft Recommendations on sewage sludge and conservation of underwater biotopes and habitats are expecting agreement. The 2-day meeting will also discuss the final plans for the HELCOM high-level segment on ocean-related Sustainable Development Goals, taking place on 28 February 2017.

Read more on the meeting, its targets and future work on HELCOM website.

Risks of oil spills closely mon­itored in the Gulf of Fin­land

The Gulf of Finland has the highest risk of oil spills in the Baltic Sea. Working under the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, the Working Group on Risks of Maritime Activities in the Baltic Sea focuses on developing tools which will enable different institutions to understand the risks.

The Gulf of Finland is a narrow marine area with a great deal of traffic. The biggest environmental risk is posed by the heavy traffic of oil tankers from Russian harbours. 

Working under the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the Working Group on Risks of Maritime Activities in the Baltic Sea is developing scientific tools which will support the decision-making related to oil risks.

Read more on the Working group on University of Helsinki website.

Latest Baltic Rim Economies issue on Corporate Social Responsibility

The Pan-European Institute publishes a discussion forum, Baltic Rim Economies (BRE), which deals with the development of the Baltic Sea region.

In the BRE review, high level public and corporate decision makers, representatives of Academia, as well as several other experts contribute to the discussion.

 

The latest BRE Special Issue on Corporate Social Responsibility can be downloaded on Pan-European Institute website.

Reducing the amount of plastic waste in Baltic Sea - BLASTIC project

The BLASTIC project (2016-2018) aims at reducing plastic waste and, thereby, the inflow of hazardous substances into the Baltic Sea by mapping and monitoring the amounts of litter in the aquatic environment.

The BLASTIC project demonstrates how plastic waste in urban areas finds its way to the Baltic Sea and becomes marine litter. Land-based sources count for most of the marine litter, while rivers are major pathways feeding the sea with litter. In practice, the project takes regional and national strategies into use on a local level and also produces updated local action plans. The project also provides a methodology for mapping the most important sources and pathways of marine plastic litter and monitoring litter in rivers and coastal waters/areas.

Read more about the project on the website.

Improving wastewater management in the Baltic Sea Region - IWAMA project

IWAMA aims at improving resource efficiency in wastewater management of the region. The project actions are distributed along three main fields: capacity development, smart energy management and smart sludge management.

The intention of IWAMA is working together to improve the state of the Baltic Sea. In the publication, a visualisation of the scope of the project is present on the map, picturing the geographical locations of 17 project partners and 12 associated partners from 10 countries of the Baltic Sea Region. To strengthen the flow of knowledge and experience, the partners of IWAMA are united to provide the region with inspiration through the Baltic Sea Challenge network.

Download the IWAMA infograph leaflet on the UBC Sustainable Citied website.

Promoting clean shipping by learning from sulphur regulations: survey ongoing

Air pollution control of ships is receiving a lot of attention. While international organisations and governments have been actively fighting greenhouse gas emissions from industry and cars since the 1970s, ships were tackled only at the beginning of this millennium. Decreasing sulphur emissions has been in focus for the past years with a step-wise tightening of sulphur limits in fuelling ships. The Baltic Sea is a forerunner and test region for tighter limits. The cooperation project EnviSuM looks into the effects of the latest sulphur-limit tightening on human health, environment and the economy, namely the shipping sector.

Read more about the project on Interreg Baltic Sea website.

Currently, the University of Tallinn is running a survey about the economic impacts of Sulphur Emission Control Area (SECA) regulations on maritime market stakeholders. Maritime stakeholders from across the Baltic Sea region are encouraged to express their views. The comments will help policy makers get a better view of challenges that maritime stakeholder face. Participate the survey on this link.

Baltic Funding Portal

A new tool for searching funding for projects in the Baltic Sea Region has been developed by INTERACT and Swedish Institute. Baltic Funding Portal is an inventory of more than 300 funding instruments making cooperation possible in the Baltic Sea Region.

Read more about the portal on EU Strategy for Baltic Sea Reagion website.

International Mobility of Researchers in the Baltic Sea Region

Baltic Science Network (BSN) is an Interreg Baltic Sea Region funded project. Its aim is to provide science and research ministries of the Baltic Sea region states with an overall coordination framework to develop and implement science policy in a macro-regional dimension and to ensure a better representation of macro-regional interests on the EU level.

The BSN project also aims to develop and implement transnational strategies, incentives and programmes to support higher education, research and innovation and to develop R&I excellence.

The project has published a report "International Mobility of Researchers in the Baltic Sea Region". Please download the report on the project website.

 

Economic Dimensions on Health and Social Care

The NDPHS Secretariat is pleased to announce a report ”Economic Dimensions of Health and Social Care,” which Dr. Björn Ekman has recently written for the NDPHS.

This report reviews the evidence for the efficiency of investments to improve health and prevent disease in the Baltic Sea Region. Based on the existing evidence it also assesses the returns to such investments, both in the short- and long-term. Finally, it discusses policy options for best-practices for health promotion and disease prevention.

The report can be downloaded from the NDPHS Database here.

“Where are we heading – wealthier and healthier in the decades to come, or just the opposite?” NDPHS Seminar in 7th Annual EUSBSR Strategy Forum

The seminar, organized by the Secretariat of the Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being (NDPHS) in cooperation with the eHealth for Regions Network (eH4R) focused on linkages between health of populations and the economic prosperity of their countries, current and possible future regional challenges to health and social care, and debated how big impact what is happening now can have on our future lives and on the economies of our countries.

The seminar was moderated by Mr. Marek Maciejowski, Director of the NDPHS Secretariat and the speakers were Dr. Björn Ekman of the Lund University (Sweden), Prof. Dr. Roland Trill of the Flensburg University of Applied Sciences (Germany) and MD Dr. Galina Maslennikova of the National Research Centre for Preventive Medicine (Russia).

Read the full article on NDPHS website.

Registration for Interreg Central Baltic project applicant seminars is open

Project applicant seminars are targeted towards the partnerships that are in an advanced planning phase of their projects and will submit their application for the third call. The Project applicant seminars are working seminars focused on preparing the project application. Seminar day is built on three main blocks: Programme/ project intervention logic, designing a work plan and drafting a budget.

As a part of the third call for project applications the Joint Secretariat organises two Project applicant seminars, in Tallinn and Stockholm. Please visit the programme website for details and registration.

Helcom seminar in EUSBSR Strategy forum: More transparency and political leadership

Marine environment protection was high in the agenda of the EUSBSR Strategy Forum in Stockholm 8.-9.11.2016. The regional work by the sectors – shipping, ports, tourism, agriculture, wastewater management, fisheries and aquaculture – to protect the Baltic marine environment was debated about in a seminar hosted by HELCOM.

Read the whole article on HELCOM website.

State of the Digital Region 2016 report published

“State of the Digital Region 2016” report, published by Top of Digital Europe, a joint initiative of Baltic Development Forum and Microsoft, presents an overview of how Baltic and Nordic countries have been performing within the digital economy.

Read more and download the report on Scanbalt website.

Baltic Development Forum State of the Region 2016 report published

The 2016 State of the Region Report was written by Christian Ketels and Helge J. Pedersen, who also presented it in the Baltic Development Forum Summit in Stockholm on November 8th.

The report is titled "The Top of Europe - Doing Well Today, Feeling Worried about Tomorrow".

Download the report on BDF website.

The Baltic sea region strategy for beginners published

Why is it so important to cooperate with other Baltic Sea States? How does it all fit together, and what in fact are the differences between the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, Europe 2020 and the Baltic Sea Region Programme? The new brochure answers these questions and many more.

Download the brochure on EUSBSR Strategy Forum website.

EBRD supports improved quality of water supply in Belarus - investment grants from NDEP

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing loans for the total amount of €21 million to rehabilitate water supply and wastewater infrastructure in three Belarusian towns with a total population of over 400.000 people.

The loans are extended under the €40 million Belarus Water Sector Framework, which will also be expanded to other municipalities across the country. It will help modernise water and wastewater treatment facilities, rehabilitate corresponding networks, modernise pumping stations and finance the purchase of maintenance equipment in the towns of Lida, Polotsk and Orsha.

Subprojects of €6 million in Lida (western Belarus) and of €9 million in Polotsk (northern Belarus) will help local utilities comply with EU standards for wastewater treatment and will follow recommendations by the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission to bring significant environmental benefits to the local population and reduce the pollution of the Baltic Sea basin. The Polotsk subproject also envisages the construction of a brand new wastewater treatment facility.

The subprojects will be co-financed by investment grants of €3 million and €4.21 million, respectively, provided by the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership. Pre-investment feasibility studies for both Lida and Polotsk were implemented with the help of technical cooperation funds provided by the government of Sweden.

Read more on the EBRD website.

New HELCOM assessment on networks of marine protected areas

The Baltic Sea has in terms of areal coverage the highest protection of all European marine regions; 12% of the HELCOM area is designated as marine protected areas (MPAs) thus, the target set by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity of conserving at least 10% of coastal and marine areas has been reached in the Baltic Sea.

The network of coastal and marine protected areas in the Baltic Sea, or HELCOM MPAs, is however not yet ecologically coherent, concludes the new HELCOM assessment. A coherent network, an achievement only possible through cooperation between the Baltic Sea countries, would ensure that the MPAs in the Baltic Sea are providing protection beyond the individual sites. Satisfactory coherence is important as it would contribute significantly to the biological diversity in the Baltic Sea and to favourable status of habitats and species, which are both major goals for HELCOM.

Read more and download the assessment on HELCOM website.

Transnational Destination Branding for the Baltic Sea Region

EUSBSR Policy Area Tourism has initiated a discussion paper series. It aims at improving the dialogue and exchange between tourism stakeholders in the Baltic Sea region, particularly those who are actively engaged or interested in transnational cooperation in tourism matters.

The first paper “Transnational Destination Branding for the BSR – Political Aspiration and Practical Application” is the first tangible result of strategic discussions within the Steering Group concerning the potential for joint actions. The paper discusses the reasons for transnational branding of the Baltic Sea Region and analyses the preconditions for such activities.

Download the full paper on EUSBSR website.

Northern Dimension events at EUSBSR Strategy Forum

The future of Northern Dimension cooperation will be discussed in at least two events during the 7th Strategy forum of EU Strategy for Baltic Sea Region in Stockholm, Sweden, 8-9 November.

The second Northern Dimension Day will take place back-to-back to the strategy forum on 7 November.  Following the lines of the Forum, it will focus on envisioning the achievements of ND cooperation by 2030 and topical challenges within the thematic areas of the four partnerships in 2030. For more information and registration see http://northerndimension.info/news/news/613-northern-dimension-day-7-11-2016

As part of the EUSBSR Strategy Forum, the Northern Dimension Partnership on Health and Social Well-being (NDPHS)  will host a seminar "Where are we heading – wealthier and healthier in the decades to come, or just the opposite?"on 8 November. The seminar, organized in cooperation with the eHealth for Regions Network, will discuss a topic close to the heart of each and every one of us, namely our chances to live a healthy and wealthy life in 2030. For more information see http://www.ndphs.org/?e-news

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