On 6–7 December 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted the third meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) under the Latvian Presidency. The CSO is the body supervising activities in the CBSS format, and it coordinates the work of the CBSS task forces and cooperation platforms.
At the meeting, the Chairman of the CBSS CSO, Ambassador Juris Bone, presented the work accomplished by the Latvian CBSS Presidency during the first six-month period. A number of conferences, high-level meetings and events have been held in line with the priorities set by the Presidency.
Representatives from the Latvian home affairs sector have concluded their chairmanship of the CBSS Task Force on Organised Crime: a new expert group for combating irregular migration was established, and smooth continuation of work was ensured in the Expert Group on Illegal Circulation of Drugs. A new international project has been launched to prevent trafficking in human beings. A cross-border institutional cooperation platform – the Transnational Referral Mechanism – will be set up in the Baltic Sea region as part of the project to support the region’s professionals in providing assistance to victims of human trafficking.
During the Latvian Presidency, the first year of digitisation of cultural heritage has been successfully concluded, with large numbers of important cultural materials converted into a digital format.
Officials from the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development chaired the 9th Baltic Sea Region Climate Change Dialogue Platform Roundtable meeting, which focused on the climate change adaptation and mitigation policy developments in the region.
A strategic partner to the Latvian CBSS Presidency – the Baltic Sea Trade Union Network (BASTUN) – jointly with the Council of Nordic Trade Unions organised a high-level conference on the topics of labour market and fundamental labour rights, international labour standards, and decent work.
At the CSO meeting, the participants followed up on their exchange of views about an action plan for the CBSS reform in the context of the report by the CBSS Vision Group on the future of the Baltic Sea Region beyond 2020.
Senior Expert at the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of Latvia, Head of the CBSS Expert Group on Sustainable Development, Uģis Zanders, also took part in the work of the meeting and informed the participants about the process of formulating a new mandate for the group. Project development manager at the National Library of Latvia, Karīna Bandere, and programme curator at the Riga Circus, Odrija Fišere, gave presentations on the projects initiated by Latvia and funded by the CBSS Project Support Facility.
From 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019, Latvia is presiding over the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), and will hand over Presidency to Denmark. The priorities of the Latvian CBSS Presidency are as follows: a safe and secure region; the region’s sustainability, spatial development, climate change; and the preservation and digitisation of cultural heritage. This is Latvia’s third Presidency since the CBSS was established in 1992.
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