North-West Russian Federal District Strategy and the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region

HA Neighbours organized with Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia ICSER Leontief Centre a round table discussion in Forum Strategov on the 28th of October 2019. With its aim to raise the question of using the Sustainable Development Goals as a bridge between the Russian and European strategies to find common ground to stand on.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a common global agenda through implementation of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. This global agenda must go hand-in-hand with all macroregional strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and boost economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.

The European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and the Strategy for Socio-Economic Development of the North-West Federal District of the Russian Federation are the first macro-regional strategies developed in Russia and the European Union, which concern the Baltic Sea region. Currently both strategies are under the revision-updating process and both, hopefully will mainstream the Sustainable Development Goals, localizing the SDGs’ implementation in the Region of Baltic Sea. The panelists discussed key issues of cooperation in developing and implementing new-generation strategies, taking the SDGs as a common framework for cooperation in BSR.

The round table addressed issues such as: What are the principles and approaches of updating/revising strategies? What is an added value for interaction and coordination between macroregional strategies for achieving Agenda 2030/SDGs? What strategic areas require joining efforts between strategies based on experience of previous cooperation? The discussion outlined the structure of both strategies and how they are linked to the SDGs and for example in the question of the EUSBSR it was noted that it is able to muster the society from the bottom up to work on the SDGs. It was noted by many of the speakers that there should be a mapping of both strategies linkages to the SDGs in order to assess the commonalities more profoundly and to use them as fuel for political discussion. All in all it seems that the update process of both strategies is a gateway for more cooperation with or without the brindging with the UN SDGs.