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The role of B7 is to speak for islands interests

Knud AndersenOne of the "founding fathers" of B7 back in 1989, Knud Andersen, came to speak in the Annual and Tourism Conference of B7 on 26-27th of November 2014. In his address to the representatives of Baltic islands, he said:
"The reason for Bornholm to leave the B7 is, probably, because the present government is elected based upon the policy for kindergartens, elderly care and social care; no-one was elected based upon the policy for development. Since the restructuring reform in Denmark in 2004, five regions were created to advance development and creating jobs. It is the responsibility for regions and out of hands of ordinary municipality to deal with development. Last 15 years I have been the member of the Committee of Regions in Brussels. B7 is well known and well respected in Brussels. While preparing the policy for the Baltic Sea Strategy, we used a lot of the ideas from B7. You can even read sentences and ideas made by B7 in this document. We said in this document that we do not need more money but better coordination in EU. If we believe that our National associations, in Denmark, will take care of island issues, we fail. At least in Denmark, the national associations care about Copenhagen, they don't care about islands. We have our own worries and responsibilities concerning regional policy. More and more we see policies made in Brussels, less in national capitals. We live in outskirts of Europe and development, we have to stick and support each other to make a strong voice.

I cannot make Bornholm come back to B7. What I can suggest, is to reorganise B7 and to look at whether it has to be an island to be a member of B7. You keep the B7 headline because it is a strong label. Look for the remote areas in the Baltic area that badly need development, as much as islands need, or look for smaller islands; this to keep on the voice strong in EU system to speak about regional policy. Personally I am convinced that regional policy in EU will become more and more important. Why? I'll give an example: you cannot talk just about an average development in Italy because there are big differences between South and North parts in Italy. You have to look at regional level of development while distributing your money and support. Because of that I convinced that regional policy will become more and more important issue, we have to have all people involved in progress. In bigger cities where development is ongoing it is less important than in smaller regions. It is a wrong time to reduce the cooperation in Baltic area."

B7 continues to cooperate in 2015-16 under the Presidency of Saaremaa. The main projects will be B7 art project in 2015, B7 Youth Sport Games in 2016, and political networking on the level of local Governments.

B7 25th Annual Conference was successful

Six members of Baltic Islands Network gathered to Hiiumaa to celebrate the 25th Annual Conference and thematic Conference on Maritime Tourism on 26th and 27th of November 2014. Because of the heavy fog in Visby, Stockholm, Tallinn and Kärdla, the delegates from Gotland arrived with one day delay. Hence, the Annual Conference on Wednesday, on the 26th, turned out to be a seminar discussing the future of the cooperation. The participants were prominent: in addition to the Governors and Mayors of islands, former members of B7 were present: Knud Andresen from Bornholm, and Anu Vares, Tarmo Pikner and Toomas Kasemaa from Saaremaa. The common position was, that cooperation must be changed to less bureaucratic, dealing with concrete projects like B7 youth games and art project, but remaining as working body for islands contacts.

On Thursday, when Gotland, with proxy from Öland, finally arrived, the Steering Committee confirmed the decision to remain as B7. Wille Valve, the Foreign Minister of Åland said: "The political commitment is important. We cannot solve problems like marine pollution alone; the voice of all islands is needed".

Steering Committee also agreed that the label of B7 is very well known in Europe, there is no need to change it.

Next B7 Chair Island for two years to come is Saaremaa, the President of B7 is Kaido Kaasik.

In conference centre at Kassari Recreation Centre Next B7 Chair Island for two years to come is Saaremaa

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See the tourist conference presentations and photos at NGO West-Estonia Tourism homepage.

Reet Kokovkin
B7 Secretary
+3725178597
www.b7.org

B7 Annual Conference in Hiiumaa was successful

Estonian TV3 channel broadcasted nation vide a clip on B7 25th Annual and Tourist Conference which was this year organised in cooperation with West-Estonian Tourist Association on 26th and 27th of November 2014. More than hundred participants came to discuss maritime tourism issues.

As B7 input to the Conference were three presentation:
From Knud Andersen, Bornholm - Tourism and Environment. Is it gone with the wind?
Martina Schwinkendorf, B7 Rügen - Small entrepreneurship in islands as a way of living
Hanna Westerin, B7 Gotland - Success stories from Gotland: How to make rich in six weeks.

Watch the TV3 clip here.

Bioeconomy – universal tool for coastal and rural development

Madis TilgaModern society faces fundamental intertwined challenges, which need to be dealt with swiftly and often simultaneously. Climate change, resource scarcity, regional disparities, environmental hazards, population growth are underlying aspects of any serious decision making process. For many years the concept of „green growth" or „green economy" has been adopted to address the above mentioned challenges. Now, bioeconomy - as part of green growth - takes a very pragmatic approach in an attempt to decouple economic growth from environmental pressures by focusing on the sustainable use and production of both land-based and marine biomass.

What is it all about?

Before the fossil revolution and long before solar panels and wind parks, renewable biomass was used for energy purposes and production of various commodities. Then came petroleum disruption/take over. Bioeconomy intends to claim back much of it by analysing bio resource value chains and introducing modern technologies to ensure the best and efficient utilisation of these. Bioeconomy is based on the efficient use of renewable terrestial and aquatic natural resources as well as residual biomaterials and biowaste. It includes primary production, such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, and industries using / processing biological resources, such as the food, pulp and paper industries, parts of the chemical, biotechnological and energy industries.

In practice it can be viewed in three aspects. First, we try to see alternative ways of using biomass that until now has been only converted to energy. Idea is to find the most efficient and optimal use for biomass. There might be more value to certain biomass than just to burn it. That said, bioenergy absolutely will play its role. Secondly, we try to reveal the potential of untapped bio resources. This would imply for example marine biomass – reed harvesting, algae collection, small scale fish farming etc. Thirdly, we try to get rid of waste streams or attribute value to certain part of the value chain that until now has been regarded as waste. Organic waste streams lock huge potential. For example in EU food processing and organic household waste reach both up to 200 mil/tonnes/per annum; yard&forestry waste twice as much and agricultural waste even close to 1 bil/tonnes/per annum. Again, this implies finding the most optimal use for bio resource, regardless in which part of the value chain it is present.

What is in it for islands and rural areas?

The overarching aim regarding bioeconomy and rural/coastal development is to find out what does it take to make the bioeconomy as the main driver for sustainable local economic development. This is central issue for the work of the Nordic Council of Ministers and is being met with engagement from local stakeholders, innovation agents and research.

Where do the rural areas or more specifically, the islands come in? Most naturally, this is where biomass is, most notably the marine biomass in the case of islands. There are already some pre-studies and practices emerging regarding possible uses of reed, algae collection and cultivation; small-scale fisheries, blue biotechnology. Good news is that this bioeconomy approach doesn't often require huge capital investments but rather cross-sector dialogue and analysis to see where the potential lies under current circumstances. Finland has strong pulp&paper industry and growing number of capture fisheries. Fish feed is expensive, specially produced. Now, they are discovering that certain residues from pulp and paper could be converted into fish feed. Fish industry for Iceland is of paramount importance. They are now trying to imporve the efficiency of cod industry. They claim they are now able to use 100% of cod, compared to conventional 57%. There will be inputs to chemistry, material industry, cosmetics, jewellery.
Again, finding the most optimal and valuable use for bio resource is the ultimate goal.

Political engagement

There is a growing political endorsement for bioeconomy because with its cross cutting nature it can deliver on wide range of issues: contributing to climate goals, regional policy, environmental protection, resource efficiency, waste management and not the least - innovative economy. According to EU estimates bioeconomy in Europe has a turnover of around 2 trillion EUR and already employs 22 million people. On 13 February 2012, the European Commission adopted a strategy "Innovating for Sustainable Growth: A Bioeconomy for Europe" to accelerate this process. All the Nordic countries have bioeconomy high on agenda (with respective strategies in place), joint Nordic Bioeconomy Initiative has been launched and Nordic Council of Ministers has been appointed with the task to faciliate developments within bioeconomy according to EUSBSR HA Sustainable Development and Bioeconomy. In Estonia the Ministry of Agriculture is taking the lead in national bioeconomy co-ordination, Latvia is examining the matter.
In the near future the Nordic Council of Ministers is convening series of stakeholder meetings and seminars around the Baltic Sea in order to identify regional stakeholders, map interests and shortcomings with the final aim of rolling out joint actions.

Look for more: http://www.norden.org/en/theme/nordic-bioeconomyor contact:
Madis Tilga (Baltic side),
Mads Wolff (Nordic, Germany, Poland).

MA/JS launches support to project development

Are you ready for Interreg Baltic Sea Region? This week, the Managing Authority/ Joint Secretariat (MA/JS) launches support activities to project development for the first call of the new Programme. You can now find the key information on the Programme website. The JS is ready to give feedback on specific project ideas. Face-to-face support will be started soon as well. Note that the Programme is not finally approved. Thus the date of the first call cannot be specified yet. Please find detailed information below: http://eu.baltic.net/Project-support-launched.30215.html

Successful B7 Games in Åland 15-16th of August 2014

This year invitation for B7 Games came from Åland Sportfederation. Åland took over the task of organizing the eighth B7‐Games in three fields of sports: Football, Beach Volleyball and Atheltics. The age census was for youths born in 1998 and 1999. The games were strongly linked to social interchange between the islands.

See the results of the Games of Day 1 (Friday the 15th of August) http://ifaland.net/B7-Games/lpresults_friday.pdf and Day 2 (Saturday the 16th of August) http://ifaland.net/B7-Games/lpresults.pdf

B7 games in Åland 2014

Jessica Josefsson leaving the B7 Board

Jessica JosefssonJessica Josefsson of Åland Government, the member of the B7 Board, is leaving her position. „From next Monday, August 25th I will start a new chapter in my life and go on maternity leave", says Jessica.

On behalf of the President of B7, we thank her for the excellent job and we all are very happy for Jessica.

B7 artists plugged in

Artists from all B7 island stayed for a week in Kärdla (Hiiumaa) for a joint project to create installations from materials found on site. "We have never had an international art event of such a large scale here in Hiiumaa", said Ermo Mäeots, the representative of the B7 workgroup People-to-People, on the opening of the exhibition. "It is truly a historic moment". The exhibition that followed the project was opened on 5th of June in the old Kärdla Electric Plant under the heading: Vool/The Flow. Or, if translate the word from Estonian in accordance with the site of the exhibition: The Current.

Participating artists are: Ellen Kock and Stefan Walkowiak (Rügen), Lene Degett (Bornholm), Helle Kvamme ( Öland), Jennie Olofsson (Gotland), Minna Öberg (Åland), Richard Kuusk and Sander Raudsepp (Saaremaa), Valev Sein and Kalli Sein, Maret Kukkur, Ott Lambing, Märt Rannast, Lia Lüdig-Algvere, Toomas Kokovkin, Natalia Kuhi, Sulev Loopalu and the Ceramic Group of Tubala Aanagama (Hiiumaa).

The exhibition stays open for the summer in Kärdla Electric Plant. Contact: Kalli Sein +372 5032246

Vool 1  Vool 2

Baltic islands greeted Kärdla Marina

Tommy Eliasson at marina„We are happy for Hiiumaa and Kärdla", said Tommy Eliasson from Öland in his greeting at the occasion of opening the new Marina. Representatives of The Baltic Islands Network B7 participated in the opening ceremony of Kärdla Yach Harbour on 24th of May 2014. The day earlier, B7 held a seminar on the EU policy and future of B7 cooperation. The key speaker was Hannes Rumm, the Head of the EU Commission Representation in Estonia. Other guests were H.E. Aleksi Härkönen Ambassador of Finland, Janne Tamminen Secretary of CPMR Baltic Sea Commission and Georg Linkov Vice President of CoReg.

During the discussion, B7 island representatives highlighted some of the most urgent issues in island's agendas: sustainable energy, prevention of sea pollution, decrease of population and integration of refugees.

In the morning session of the B7 Steering Committee meeting, on the 24ht of May, the updated Charter of B7 was adopted and made a decision to partly support teams of islands with the transport costs to the upcoming B7 Youth Sport Games.

Marina

B7 Steering Committee meets in Hiiumaa

On 23rd of May, the Steering Committee of B7 has its meeting in Hiiumaa, hosted by the President of B7, Riho Rahuoja. „It is very important to meet B7 politicians personally", says Rahuoja. „Especially, when we have such a remarkable occasion to celebrate, I mean - the opening of new Kärdla Marina".

The meeting will discuss political situation in the Baltic Sea area, the prospects for islands and for B7 to implement their strategies during the new period of EU financial perspective.

„We expect representatives of Gotland, Aland, Öland and Saaremaa to come to Hiiumaa", commented the Chair of the B7 Board, Aivi Telvik.

The key-note speaker for the meeting will be the Head of the EU Commission Representation in Estonia, Hannes Rumm. Also participate in the meeting the Secretary of the CPMR Baltic Sea Commission Janne Tamminen; the vice President of the Committee of Regions of EU Georg Linkov; Marketing and Communications Director of Enterprise Estonia Katrin Aunpu; and H.E. Ambassador of Finland Aleksi Härkönen. Ambassador kindly hosts the dinner after the political meeting.

On 24th of May the celebrations of the opening of Kärdla Marina starts at noon. The Hiiu Municipality invites citizens and guests to numerous concerts and events during the day. See the program at http://marina.kardla.ee/opening-of-kardla-marina-on-24th-of-may

Greetings from the maritime piece of land, Hiiumaa!

Georg LinkovHiiumaa is the Chair for the Baltic Seven Islands network B7 in 2014, and we can feel the excitement already in the air. We have so much to offer and to share that right now we don't even know where to start.

B7 has previously declared that the topics related to the sea and maritime policies that have impact on all of the different Baltic Sea islands, will be always in the agenda of B7. This is what binds us together. The creation of a single European maritime policy must take into consideration the development of the islands and the creating of better jobs, in order to accelerate and consolidate the strong, growing, competitive and sustainable maritime economy. We, islander, all have a huge advantage, we have the sea! This is our "gold" and we have to keep it "shining".

Everyone is aware that the year 2014 has been nominated to be the year of the Gulf of Finland, but it is still known to few that in 2014 in Kärdla, after a seventy year break, an event of the century is taking place: The Revival of the Kärdla Marina. The new marina has been built and marked on the map of the Baltic Sea for good to provide a shelter from storms at any time and to all.

You are always welcome to the Kärdla Marina! For the first time in history, early in July, the Estonian largest sailing event, the Moonsund Regatta will take place here! It is all part of the Maritime Policy and the tourism industry, but not only – this is also a matter of a cooperation. On the sea you acknowledge partners you can rely on. Islands in the Baltic Sea must cooperate together on good years, in order to have strong partners when it is a necessity.

Opening events of the Marina will take place on 23-24 May, 2014. We kindly invite the politicians of B7Baltic Sea islands to join us and to take the opportunity to discuss the future of the Baltic Sea, the islands and the importance of the cooperation in the threshold of the new EU programming period.

I am pleased to thank all our partners in B7 islands for the work done so far. I wish the Chairman Island many "flying" ideas for the benefit of the B7.

Long live, Hiiumaa!

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  12. B7 delegation greets the new Åland Government
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