On 18-19 September, the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) convened in Riga for its first meeting chaired by the Latvian Presidency. The CSO is the leading structure in the CBSS format, a platform for decision-making and discussions. The CSO supervises the work of the CBSS task forces and coordinates the overall CBSS activity.

The CSO meeting focuses in particular on a report by the CBSS Vision Group entitled “Vision for the Baltic Sea Region beyond 2020”. One of the authors of the document, Professor Žaneta Ozoliņa from the University of Latvia, is taking part in a discussion on the Vision Group report. The Latvian Presidency will see the analysis and evaluation of recommendations contained in the Vision Group report.

Several Latvian experts representing various sector will take part in the meeting. They also include Irēna Liepiņa, Deputy Chair of the Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia, who will introduce the audience to the priorities of the Baltic Sea Trade Union Network (BASTUN). The Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia is currently holding chairmanship of BASTUN, a close strategic partner to the CBSS.

High importance in the CBSS cooperation format is attached to promoting youth cooperation in the region and their involvement in taking the processes forward. Uģis Zanders, Senior Expert at the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of Latvia, Head of the CBSS Expert Group on Sustainable Development, will inform the participants about the outcomes of the ReGeneration 2030 youth movement summit that took place in the Aland Islands this past August. The youth movement and its manifesto adopted at the meeting are closely connected with the promotion of the region’s sustainable development goals set out in the strategic framework of “The Baltic 2030 Action Plan. Realizing the Vision”. The working group for the formulation of the summit manifesto was chaired Zane Skuja, Member of the Board of “Zero Waste Latvija” association, who is also taking part in the CBSS SCO meeting. 

The Latvian Presidency of the CBSS covers the period from 1 July 2018 to 30 July 2019, and will be handed over to Denmark. The main priorities of the Latvian Presidency are a secure and inclusive society, spatial development, climate change, as well as preservation and digitalisation of cultural heritage. This is Latvia’s third Presidency since the CBSS was established in 1992.