On 9 May 2019, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs greeted the participants and guests of the Baltic Sea Region Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) Forum. In her opening address for the forum, the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, congratulated the participants on behalf of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS). Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica underlined the role of the European Union in the region, symbolically demonstrated by the opening of the event on Europe Day.
The Parliamentary Secretary noted that “strong NGOs are the mainstay of any democratic society. Decisive action by NGO members increase the resilience of civil society against populistic sentiments among politicians and the media in the present-day Europe”.
The Parliamentary Secretary highlighted the importance of the main theme of the NGO forum – security, sustainability and identity – for the Baltic Sea region, in which cooperation between civil society organisations and government foster the atmosphere of mutual respect and tolerance in the region. Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica underlined the role of the European Union in the Baltic Sea region, which contributes to cooperation both among EU Member States and with non-EU countries.
A speech at the forum was also delivered by the Director of the Civic Alliance Latvia association, Kristīne Zonberga, who informed the audience about the goals and tasks of the Baltic Sea Region NGO Forum focusing on the contribution by civil society to the development and growth of the Baltic Sea Region. Kristīne Zonberga pointed out that the drivers for the region’s security, sustainability and identity were respect for democratic values and fairness, trust-based cross-sectoral partnership, and forward-looking and active contribution by civil society to sustainable development.
The 17th Baltic Sea Region Non-Governmental Organisations Forum takes place in Riga from 9 to 11 May. The event is organised as part of the Latvian Presidency of the CBSS by the Civic Alliance Latvia association, representing Latvia on the coordination committee for the Baltic Sea Region’s NGO forum. The Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is one of the organisations supporting the forum.
The forum brings together more than 150 experts from the non-governmental, public, academic and business sectors and the media in the Baltic Sea Region for sharing opinions on the ways to cooperate towards promoting sustainable development and mutual trust.
Latvia is holding the presidency of the CBSS from 1 July to 30 June 2019, when it will be passed on to Denmark. The priorities of the Latvian Presidency are public security and integrity; the region’s sustainability, territorial development, climate change; and the preservation and digitalisation of cultural heritage.
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