On 9 and 10 April 2019, the fifth meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) under the chairmanship of the Latvian Presidency was held in Jurmala. The Committee is the main discussion forum and decision-making platform in the format of CBSS cooperation and is composed of representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Member States of the Council and of the CBSS Secretariat.
At the meeting, the CSO continued its discussion on the CBSS reform plan, chaired by the president of the CSO CBSS, Ambassador-at-large Juris Bone. The CBSS reform plan is based on the commitment expressed in the closing document of the Swedish Presidency in the context of the CBSS Vision for the Baltic Sea Region beyond 2020 report and its recommendations. The aim of the CBSS Presidency of Latvia is to agree on the main elements of the CBSS reform road map, strengthening essential directions for the necessary improvements, so that concrete changes to the CBSS's operational principles can be achieved by 2020.
Representatives of the CSO discussed involvement of experts from the region in the high-level events that took place and are planned during the Latvian Presidency. On 3 and 4 April, an international conference was held in Jurmala, entitled “Development of sustainable maritime economy: opportunities and challenges for small and medium-sized ports in the Baltic Sea Region". It discussed the possibilities, challenges, solutions and good practices for the development of small and medium-sized ports. On 21 and 22 May, the Latvian National Library will hold an international conference entitled “Digital Approaches in Cultural Heritage: towards a pan-Baltic Cooperation Network”.
The CSO members were informed by the senior advisor to the CBSS secretariat, Kaarina Williams, on the long-term “Regional Identity” priority for the tasks and future plans. However, Uģis Zanders, the senior expert at the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, the Chairman of the CBSS Expert Group on Sustainable Development, presented the presentation and participated in the discussion on the process of drafting the new mandate of the work group.
Meetings of the CSO CBSS shall be held by the CBSS Member State. The Latvian Presidency in the CBSS will continue until 30 June 2019, passing it on to Denmark. It is planned to organise six meetings together during the Latvian Presidency.
The main priorities of the Latvian Presidency are public safety and integrity; regional sustainability, territorial development, climate change; preservation of cultural heritage and digitalisation. Since the founding of the CBSS in 1992, this is the third Latvian Presidency.
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