Nothing about us, without us!

“As young people, we are the future and we have to live with the decisions that the older generation makes. It is so important that young people are included in these hot topics” - Natalia Kila & Monika Gołabek, youth participants 

Youths from all the Baltic Sea states were this year invited to attend the Baltic Sea Youth Camp 2019. From the 8th to 11th of June over 100 youths from the age of 18 to 25 came together to create a better and more sustainable future for the Baltic Sea Region. The camp would produce a Youth Declaration that was presented to important stakeholders and politicians. Furthermore, the Youth Declaration was presented at the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) Annual Forum where this year’s topic was “Circular and sharing economy as an answer to demographic changes and environmental challenges in the Baltic Sea Region». Both the Youth Camp and Annual Forum was this year held in Gdansk, Poland. 

During these four days the youth participated in seminars, workshops and presentations related to the Sustainable development goals (SDGs). Topics such as waste management, forestry, marine life and education were discussed. It was very clear that the participants were very engaged in the topics - the discussions continued outside the formal arena created by the organisers. As the world faces the threats of climate change and its consequences, it was important for both the organisers and the participants to focus on the SDG’s throughout the camp. 

“You see a formal forum during the day and a more informal forum at night. The whole day is filled with different discussions and I’m learning so much. It is a true learning platform at all times.” - Malthe Kjeller, youth participant 

All countries in the region were represented and it was a great opportunity to learn from other people’s culture and experience. Most participants stayed in rooms with a person from a different country in order to continue the cross-culture experience. Not only did the participants attain more knowledge about the current situation in the Baltic, but they gained important knowledge about the differences and similarities between them as individuals. 

“Norway is perceived as a very good country, but we are far from perfect. Therefore, it is so nice to come here and learn so much from other people and other cultures. It is important to try to have a better insight into ourselves.” - Ina Maria Finnerud, youth participant

The programme also contained cultural topics which focused on the importance of honouring the cultural aspect of international cooperation. Building on this the ARS Baltica provided an alternative view on dialogue that focused on the creative aspect. Marcus Hagemann said at one point that “Culture goes beyond and unites”. This became very clear in one of the workshops where the created an a cappella performance using the different sounds and languages from the different countries represented. Thus the camp did not only create a platform for discussions based on science and politics, but also acted as an arena for attaining knowledge about the diverse cultures in the Baltic region. 

“I share a room with a person from Estonia. We have both learned a lot from each other already. It is so exciting to learn about new cultures” - Gven Haton Rigi, youth participant

The politicians and stakeholders that were present at the last day of the camp when the projects were presented were very impressed. Chairman of the Baltic Sea States Subregional Co-operation (BSSSC, lead partner of the Youth Camp) Roger Ryberg said he could not be more pleased with the work the participants had done. He also pointed out the importance of trusting the youth and giving them a platform to excel. 

«We are in an urgent time in terms of the environment. It is important to see that we have to create a green future. The youths are taking such a powerful role in this process» - Roger Ryberg.

The Baltic Sea Youth Camp 2019 is only the beginning of a larger focus on the voice of the youth. There are immense knowledge and perspectives that we are missing when the young are not included at the decision table. The ideas presented in the Youth Declaration show innovative ways of getting closer to achieving the SDG’s and also an improved Baltic region. The participants have high hopes about the future and show that they also have solutions to some of the issues that the Baltic is facing. As the youth are the future, it is important to include such perspectives when mapping out the road ahead. 

 The youth are motivated and will keep on working for to get a seat at the table – nothing about us, without us!

The Youth Declaration

The Youth Declaration contains 10 proposals that are both feasible and realistic in terms of implementation. The proposals are different projects that are generated and planned by the participants of the Youth Camp. Throughout the process of creating the projects, the SDG’s were fundamental and it is evident in the final result. At the Annual Forum the Youth Declaration was presented and consequently the youths were admired for their great work. It is apparent that the voice of the youth is only growing stronger in the Baltic region. 


June 8

10:00 – 18:00 Arrival of participants.

 Registration available at Gdansk Airport, Gdansk Central Railway station and Hotel Orle.

 The Camp provides shuttle buses from Gdansk Airport and Gdansk train station to Hotel Orle.

Please see practical information about the time schedule.

12:00 – 18:00 Welcoming activities at Hotel Orle.

 Kayaking

 Biking

 Dance workshops

 Regional performance workshop 1/2 (together with a local producer the youths in this

activity will work throughout the camp on a performance portraying the Baltic Sea Region in

all its diversity)

 Sustainable fashion workshop (Elco) (several shorter workshops)

 European public sphere debating

18:00 Welcome – official opening from local officials.

19:30 Dinner

20:00 Ikenga Drummers

21:00 Djembe workshop around the campfire (weather allowing)

23:00 Good night

June 10

08:00 Breakfast

09:00 Welcome open day – local schools of Gdansk are invited. Introductions.

09:30 Parallel activities

1. The importance of trans-border cooperation for security in the Baltic Sea Region: brief

introduction. Fire brigade from Gdansk - live demonstration of fire extinguishing technics and

first aid.

2. EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) for dummies – introduction to the strategy.

Workshop: how can the strategy be communicated to youth?

3. Baltic University Programme: Systemic thinking on sustainability

4. Creative workshop “Windbreaks”: What connects and separates the cultures of the Baltic Sea


5. Live action role play – “The Abyss” (Sirius Game Studio)

6. Listening to the world through meditation: acoustic ecology or soundscape studies, discipline

studying the relationship, mediated through sound, between human beings and their


7. DNA: See the unseen (former name: Biotechnological laboratory)

8. Developing a concept for a Baltic University

9. Polish ecological club - How can we protect the Baltic sea?

10. ABCD - ARS BALTICA Creative Dialogue

11. European public sphere debating

12:00 Lunch

13:30 Open day ends

14:00 Parallel activities

1. Climate action workshop: What’s my CO2 footprint?

2. ABCD - ARS BALTICA Creative Dialogue

3. Creative workshop “Windbreaks”: What connects and separates the cultures of the Baltic Sea


4. Live action role play – “The Abyss” (Sirius Game Studio)

5. Regional performance workshop 2/2. (Together with a local producer the youths in this

activity will work throughout the camp on a performance portraying the Baltic Sea Region in

all its diversity) – lasts until 1730.

16:30 Free time

17:30 Continue work on Baltic Sea Youth Declaration

19:00 Entertainment: The participants of the Regional performance workshops perform

20:00 Dinner

21:30 DJ Baltic Sea - Last party!

??:?? Good night


June 9

08:00 Breakfast

09:00 Plenary session. Introductions to..

 The program of the Youth Camp (Kuba, also moderator).

 The Baltic Sea Youth Declaration. (Martin Rümmelein)

 The EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (OIga Zuin)

 Sustainable Development Goals (Olga Zuin)

 Circular economy – sustainable cutlery - Gdańsk University of Technology

 Culture as a tool for mutual understanding. (Marcus Hagemann, ARS Baltica,).

11:00 Group activities. 10 working groups on the Baltic Sea Youth Declaration.

12:30 Lunch

14:00 Parallel activities

1. Baltic University Programme – Systemic thinking on Sustainability

2. Idea development: A floating University on the Baltic Sea aligned with the SDGs

3. Sustainable fashion workshop – Elco

4. Climate action workshop: What’s my CO2 footprint?

5. Business role playing game: Maritime spatial planning – you are the decision maker! (will

continue until 1900)

16:30 SDG Movies + discussion (minus those in activity 6)

17:30 Group activities: Continuation of work on Baltic Sea Youth Declaration

19:15 Dinner

20:00 Entertainment by Artistic Academy on the beach (weather allowing)

20:30 workshop by Artistic Academy on the beach (weather allowing)

23:00 Good night

June 11

08:00 Breakfast

09:00 – 10:00 finishing touches on Baltic Sea Youth Declaration.

 Arrival of Politicians and stakeholders from all over the Baltic Sea Region.

10:00 Presentation of Baltic Sea Youth Declaration

 Politicians and stakeholders present

10:30 Dialogue with politicians and stakeholders

 Working groups

 Speed dating

12:00 Lunch

13:00 End of program. Shuttle busses to Gdansk city center / Gdansk Airport.