The ratification of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the UN General Assembly in September 2015, composed of 17 goals and 169 targets, set a global agenda for achieving environmental sustainability, social inclusion and economic development by 2030.

Over the years, the Baltic Sea Regions have had a strong track-record on sustainable development in both principle and practice. In June 2016, the members of the *Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) adopted a Declaration on Baltic 2030, building on their previous legacy of cooperation and extending it to align with the global 2030 Agenda.

The CBSS Expert Group on Sustainable Development, where the CPMR’s Baltic Sea Commission is one of the standing members, has been tasked with drafting the Action Plan. The timeline states that the Action Plan should be decided upon by June 20, at the CBSS Foreign Ministers meeting.

This Action Plan is set to present a shared vision of sustainable development for the Baltic Sea Region. It adapts the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals to our regional context and provides a roadmap for working together — across all countries, sectors, and stakeholders — to achieve them. The Action Plan is intended to inspire engagement and action not just among national governments, but among every institutional actor and citizen in the Baltic Sea Region.

On May 17, the Expert Group met to draft the Action Plan. It includes six priority focus areas, developed after an extensive review of regional issues and reflecting the input of many regional stakeholders. It represents a practical way to address the complexity of the 2030 Agenda in the Baltic Sea region.The CPMR Baltic Sea Commission has emphasised the importance of a territorial approach and the need of multi-level dialogue and further emphasises of policy learning and coherence.

Åsa Bjering, Executive Secretary of the BSC, stated in conjunction with the Expert Group meeting:  “The territorial approach was discussed during the meeting, partnerships that are both cross-sectorial and multi-level must increase.  SDGs provide a set of ambitions to whose realisation all countries must contribute. One of the challenges is adjusting the focus, looking beyond national approaches to the powerful role that regions play.” Executive Secretary, Åsa Bjering stated in conjunction with the Expert Group meeting.

For 2017-2019, the Executive Committee of the CPMR Baltic Sea Commission has proposed to its General Assembly that the organisation should prioritise the enhancement capacity and opportunities of member regions to increase their knowledge of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and relate them to their regional development strategies, as well as creating partnerships for the implementation of the goals at the regional level and throughout the Baltic Sea Region.

*What is the Council of Baltic Sea States?

The Council of the Baltic Sea States is an overall political forum for regional inter-governmental cooperation. The Members of the Council are the eleven states of the Baltic Sea Region as well as the European Commission. The states are Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden and a representative from the European Union