03.02.2017

8th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region

Stakeholders of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region meet for the 8th time at the annual forum in Berlin, June 2017. Around 800 participants from governments, international organisations, NGOs, universities, local and regional authorities is expected to join the forum for discussions on this year’s theme connectivity.

Policy area Innovation will arrange a session on Inclusive Digitalisation in collaboration with Policy area Bioeconomy, Baltic Development Forum and Nordregio.

Digitalisation has been viewed as a solution that can turn around the trend of outmigration from smaller cities, towns and communities into larger city areas. However, globalisation, urbanisation and digitalisation affect different places, rural and urban, in different ways, and today the impact of digitalisation is often experienced by smaller towns and remote areas as the absence of banks and shops and with healthcare provision as a distant e-service. Recognizing both the opportunities and challenges of digitalization this session will initiate a discussion of how to ensure an inclusive digitalization, as a solution to connect the BSR societies, including industries and consumers.

We will introduce a discussion of this issue through two inter-connected seminars (following each other):

  1. Tech StartUps and Digital Transformation in rural areas
  2. Digital disruption in the bioeconomy – experiences and potentials in the food and forest industry

A key opportunity arising from digitalization is the possibility to act local while ensuring a global outreach – building on local advantages, competences and social networks – connecting the “Local buzz and global pipelines” (State of the Digital Region 2016, by Top of Digital Europe, www.topofdigital.eu.)

Secondly, the bioeconomy in the BSR could benefit from a digital ‘revolution’ as digital technologies can help the development of new, local and sustainable products and services, improving both the ecological footprint and creating new jobs. An essential part of this development is the disruptive nature of digitalization with regard to traditional value chains and the opportunities for remote regions to connect directly to end consumers.

It is in this context of recognizing both the opportunities and challenges of digitalization that the session will initiate a discussion of how to ensure an inclusive digitalization, as a solution to connect the BSR societies.

Both sessions will explore the following overarching questions:

  • Is it possible to achieve a “successful” digital transformation in rural areas and smaller towns? How would such a transformation look?
  • How can digitalisation push for sustainable solutions in tech StartUps, respectively in the food- and forest sector in the Baltic Sea Region?
  • What initiatives / policies are needed to ensure an inclusive digitalisation outside metropolitan areas?

For more information and to register, please visit the EUSBSR website.