On 2 April 2020 via videoconference the Policy Area Secure Steering Group met for the 13th time. Despite these chaotic and unpredictable times, the meeting included representatives from eight Member States form the region, as well as the Union of the Baltic Cities (Safe Cities Commission).
This was the first PA Secure Steering Group meeting to be held online. The usual two-day meeting was shortened to 2 ½ hours and information about the ongoing process and projects was reduced to essential content.
The meeting encompassed key agenda items, including updates on the implementation of the Joint Position on Enhancing Cooperation in the Civil Protection Area and discussions on the ongoing revision of the EUSBSR Action Plan – which is awaiting approval from the European Commission.
The participants were informed about progress in the flagship projects. The CASCADE project has had to postpone many activities until later this year, but the work is proceeding and the Mid-Term Review was released. Similarly, the Interreg Project Platform ResQU2 has had to postpone many activities due to the COVID-19 crisis. The FIRE-IN project has reached the middle point and planned to organize a seminar during the Interschutz fair, but it was postponed till 2021 due to the pandemic; however, the e-FIRE-IN platform is live and sharing best practices for Fire & Rescue operations in the pandemic time! Additionally, information regarding the new flagship project BALTPREP was shared.
PA Secure participated in two proposals submitted to organize a workshop during the 11th EUSBSR Annual Forum in Turku, in October 2020.
During the meeting, Denmark notified that the upcoming Meeting of Directors General for Civil Protection in the BSR will be organized in June 2020, also online due to the current COVID-19 crisis and restrictions on travel.
Later, the upcoming Lithuanian Chairmanship of the Civil Protection Network 2020 – 2021 was discussed. The priorities will include preparedness of the Baltic Sea Region for a major nuclear accident. Additionally, Lithuania plans to organise a Baltic Excellence Programme Seminar: “Baltic Sea Region: acting together against nuclear risks” on 25-26 November 2020.
The Policy Area Coordinators informed the members of the Steering Group of the results of the PA Secure Monitoring and Evaluation process. The M&E report “An Evaluation of the Development and Effectiveness of Policy Area Secure 2013-2019” was produced by an external consultant and is available online.
Finally, The Steering Group members have made it known that they value the workshops and thematic seminars organized back–to–back with the Steering Group meetings. PA Secure will continue to organise seminars and workshops on different topics, related to the activities of the PA Secure. In line with this, a workshop on “Developing concrete proposals and initiatives – operationalizing the PA Secure Action Plan and the M&E conclusions and recommendations” will be organised back-to-back with the next in-person meeting, hopefully in autumn 2020.
Hopefully the next PA Secure Steering Group meeting will be held in person in Autumn 2020! Stay tuned!