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Chapter 1
Baltic 21 An AGENDA 21 for the Baltic Sea Region


Overall goals

Overall Goal for Sustainable Development in the Baltic Sea Region

»The essential objective of Baltic Sea Region co-operation is the constant improvement of the living and working conditions of their peoples within the framework of sustainable development, sustainable management of natural resources, and protection of the environment.« Sustainable development includes three mutually interdependent dimensions – economic, social and environmental.

Green starThis means for the region:

  • That a safe and healthy life is secured for current and future generations.
  • That a co-operative and prosperous economy and society is created for all.
  • That local and regional co-operation is based on democracy, openness and participation.
  • That biological and ecosystem diversity and productivity are restored or maintained.
  • That pollution to the atmosphere, land and water does not exceed the carrying capacity of nature.
  • That renewable resources are efficiently used and managed, within their regeneration capacity.
  • That materials flow of non-renewable resources is made efficient and cyclic, and that renewable substitutes are created and promoted.
  • That awareness of the elements and processes leading to sustainability is high among different actors and levels of society.
  • The Baltic Sea Region recognises its interdependence with other parts of the world and makes its contribution to the fulfilment of sustainable development goals at the global and European level.


Overall Goal for Baltic 21 Education

  • All individuals should have competence to support the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
  • Education for sustainable development should be based on an integrated approach to economic, societal and environmental development.


Orange starThe aims of Baltic 21

  • To protect the Baltic Sea Region by reducing the environmental impact of municipalities, industrial plants, agriculture and transport.
  • To co-operate regionally on environmental, economic and social aspects. Regional cooperation is based on joint actions and sector actions in eight sectors: agriculture, education, energy, fisheries, forestry, industry, tourism and transport.
  • To place emphasis on environmental aspects, including health and spatial planning and to focus on long-term aspects and holistic perspectives.


Sustainable development essentially aims at:

  • Constantly improving the living and working conditions for the peoples of the Baltic Sea Region.This is to be achieved through sustainable management of natural resources and through protection of the environment. Three interdependent dimensions are included:
    • - the environmental dimension
    • - the economic dimension
    • - the social dimension


Countries involved:
Baltic 21 comprises 11 countries and the European Commission.The countries are Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Northwest Russia and Sweden.

Baltic 21 is committed to democracy, open-and broad public participation.


Basic principles:
Sustainable development in Baltic 21 is based on

  • The Precautionary Principle
  • The “The Polluter Pays” Principle

These principles are based on international agreements including the conventions on “Climate Change”, ”Biological Diversity”, “Long-range Air Pollution”, “Protection of the Marine Environment”, “Responsible Fisheries” and “The Amsterdam Treaty”.


Introduction to Schoolwork on BALTIC 21 Sectors

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are my expectations for the future?
  • How would I like my life, and that of my children and their children to be?
  • What do I basically need?
  • What do I just like to have or get without really needing it?
  • What am I willing to do in my private life to realise my expectations?
  • How can I take part and work for a sustainable future?

Basically, we all need food, drinking water, air, health, friends, love and care.

But is our food always healthy? Is our drinking water always clean? Do we breathe clean air? Why do so many people fall ill, become injured or even die in today’s traffic and industrialised society?

The governments in 11 countries, namely Den-mark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, North-west Russia and Sweden, together with networks of cities and organisations have decided on a regional Agenda for the 21st century: an Agenda for the Baltic Region entitled “Baltic 21”. The governments have defined aims and goals for sustainable development in the following sectors: agriculture, education, energy, fisheries, forestry, industry, tourism and transport.

Baltic 21 is committed to democracy, openness and broad public participation.

Now ask yourself two more questions: “Do I agree with the politicians? Do I want to take part?” 


Green starWhat does sustainable development mean to you?

Purpose: To find out what each of us understands by sustainable development:

Write two sentences on sustainable development: one sentence that you really believe will lead to sustainable development, and one sentence that you consider will not (do not mark which one is which!).

In pairs: read each other’s sentences and discuss which ones you believe in and which ones you do not. If possible, come to an agreement, and then share your ideas with other pairs.

Definition formulated by the Brundtland Commission, 1987:
“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”



Schools can use the following three-step-methodology, generally agreed among the Baltic Sea Project co-ordinators and educators:

  • Step 1: Preparatory work
  • Step 2: Practical work
  • Step 3: Discussion

It is suggested that students take their starting point in one of the general BSP themes or programmes (www.b-s-p.org), or in any of the Baltic 21 sectors: sustainable agriculture, education, energy, fisheries, forestry, industry, tourism and transport (www.baltic21.org).

Alex Tulina, Russia

Preparatory work:

  • In what subjects will you do your work?
  • Can the work be interdisciplinary in approach, with several subjects and teachers involved?
  • Can practical work be done? What kind of practical work will you do?
  • What people, institutions, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and local politicians can be of use in your work?


Practical work:

  • Make a list and a time-table for your actual practical work
  • Make your results known to others!



  •  How does your work lead to a more sustainable future?



Baltic 21 sector: Agriculture

Political sector goal – Agriculture:

Sustainable agriculture is the production of high-quality food and other agricultural products and services with long-term impact on economy and social structure. Sustainable agriculture means that the resource base of non-renewable and renewable resources is maintained. Sustainable agriculture will meet society’s needs for food and recreation.

Pierre Geisler, Germany

Sustainable agriculture will preserve the landscape, cultural values and the historical heritage of rural areas. Production methods should not threaten humans or animals or degrade the environment, including biodiversity. The ethical aspects of agricultural production will be considered. Renewable resources should gradually replace non-renewable resources.


Suggestions for schoolwork with Baltic 21 sector: Agriculture

Preparatory work:

  • What kind of food production takes place in your area?
  • What is the general attitude to farming and to the job of a farmer in your area/country?
  • What is the national policy concerning agriculture? Fertilisers? Pesticides? Technology?
  • What is the net production? Is your country selfsufficient? What does your country import and export?


Practical Work:

Search local newspapers and make a selection of cuttings. What kind of problems or discussions are presented in connection with food production related to:

  • human health?
  • environmental impact?
  • economic and social aspects of being a farmer?
  • other aspects?

Make a study visit to a farm:

  • What is produced? How is it produced? Where are products sold? What is the farmer’s financial situation?
  • What impact does the farm have on the landscape, the biodiversity of the land, its cultural values, historical heritage, etc?
  • Is the farm land used for recreational purposes – birds, flowers, insects?

Make study trips to local food stores and select certain food items, e.g. fruits or vegetables.

  • Are the goods produced locally? How far have they been transported?


  • What changes can be implemented to achieve the sector goals?
  • Why are some people vegetarians?

Drawing of a cow by Benjamin Mühlichen, Germany 
Benjamin Mühlichen, Germany


Baltic 21 sector: Education

Political sector goal – Education (Schools) :

The individual learner should have the knowledge, values and skills to be an active, democratic and responsible citizen and to participate in decisions at the personal level, as well as at different levels within society, locally and globally, in order to contribute to creating a sustainable society. Learners in vocational education should also have skills and competences relevant to their future professions.

Illustration by Malene Priske Meier, Denmark 
Malene Priske Meier, Denmark


Suggestions for schoolwork with Baltic 21 sector: Education

Preparatory work:

  • Is education for sustainable development part of the overall goal, the plan of , and the set of values in your educational institution?
  • Who is responsible for achieving the overall goals?
  • Are all subjects in education equally responsible for sustainable development?
  • How does your school administration support work for a sustainable future?
  • Does your school have awards that show the school works for sustainable development?


Practical work:

  • Perform an eco-audit on your school. Perhaps using a questionnaire, investigate the following topics:
  • Biodiversity: Does your school have green surroundings and/or a green school-yard? How is the area maintained? What species of plants or trees grow near your school? Are there any old trees? How far from your school is the nearest green area, such as a park, a forest, a field, the beach? How often do classes go there?
  • Buildings: What materials were used to construct your school building? Do you have access to open-air areas? What sort of heating and ventilation system is used?
  • Consumption of water, energy, electricity, paper and other resources at your school: How much water, energy, etc. is consumed per year per person? What are the sources?

What happens to the waste? How much money is spent per year on each item? If possible: compare with previous years and with other schools.

  • Food: Does your school have a canteen? Does the canteen serve organic food? Where do the raw ingredients come from?
  • Transport: How do students and teachers get to school each day: What percentage walk? What percentage cycle? What percentage come by bus? What percentage come by train? By car? What reasons do students or teachers have for their choice of transport?
  • Waste: Are organic waste products composted? Are other materials recycled? Are disposable or non-disposable materials used, etc.? How much money is spent per year on waste disposal?



  • How can your school be made more sustainable?
  • How can your local progress evaluated or indicated?
  • How can sustainability measured? What time-scale is needed?


Illustration by Ramona Rozmisa, Latvia 
Ramona Rozmisa, Latvia


Baltic 21 sector: Energy

Political sector goal - Energy:

Sustainable energy concerns security of supply, the carrying capacity of the environment, resource management, economy and safety. Sustainable energy requires an increase in renewable energy production and an increase in energy efficiency and energy savings.

Sustainable energy supply must not give rise to pollution that exceeds the critical loads or levels of acidification (substitution of high-carbon fossil fuels by low-carbon fossil fuels), eutrophication, tropospheric ozone and global climate change. Hazards of nuclear waste and nuclear energy production should be eliminated. Efficiency can be increased by combined heat and power production and by energy savings.

Illustration by Angelika Rabiej, Poland 
Angelika Rabiej, Poland


Suggestions for schoolwork with Baltic 21 sector: Energy

 Preparatory work:

  • What kind of energy production takes place in your area?
  • To what extent is your country dependent on imported energy? In what form, from where and from what sources?
  • What indicators can be used to show the impact on the environment, the impact on biodiversity, or the impact on human health by energy production?
  • What kind of sustainable energy has been introduced in your area?
  • What is the general and the political attitude to sustainable energy forms such as wind turbines, solar cells, solar panels, biogas, etc?
  • Has opinion changed over the last five to ten years?

 Windmills by Dumila Tymecko, Poland

Practical work:

  • How much energy is used for different purposes in your daily life at home or at school?
  • How can the amount be reduced?
  • Make a study visit to an institution such as a power plant, a wind-turbine, a combustion station (= a waste incinerator), a municipality with biogas, or a pilot project, and find out its resources, its efficiency and its possible impact on the environment, for example with regard to acidification, eutrophication, tropospheric ozone al climate.
  • Is work there considered safe and cally acceptable?
    Does the construction of the building change the landscape or the cultural historical heritage?



  • What kind of energy savings would you be personally prepared to make your life?
  • Does the energy production in your area have an impact elsewhere?


Baltic 21 sector: Fisheries

Political sector goal - Fisheries:

Long-term strategies should be developed for major fish stocks i.e. cod, salmon, herring and sprat. Important fish habitats should be restored. Sustainable aquacultures should be achieved.

Sustainable fisheries require sound ecosystems, so that fish stocks can replenish themselves, and the establishment of selective fishing techniques.

Paulina Ciesielska, Latvia


Niklaus Paegle, Latvia


Suggestions for schoolwork with Baltic 21 sector: Fisheries

Preparatory work:

  • What species of marine or freshwater fish do fishermen catch in your area?
  • Where do the these species breed?
  • What percentage of marine catches is made up of cod, salmon, herring or sprat?
  • What kind of ecosystem do these fish need during a lifetime?
  • Which fishing techniques are used to catch fish? How far do fishermen travel to catch fish?
  • What is meant by selective fishing techniques?

Janis Presis, Latvia

Practical work:

  • Make a study visit to a fisherman’s boat or to a fish fuction and investigate the variety of species/biodiversity and the quantities. Are the fish for human consumption or for the fish industry?
  • What is the fisherman’s attitude to his job, including the »quality of life«, and the financial rewards offered?
  • Visit a fish industry and investigate the products, the amount of natural resources, the economy, etc. Are the goods for the local market or for export?
  • Visit an aquaculture ("fish farm") and investigate the net production size, the economy and quality of life of the people working at the aquaculture: Are there any special precautions necessary when feeding the fish, treating the fish, and treating the water? Is there any special legislation  regulating the establishment of aquacultures in your area?
  • Interview anglers on the coast or along the river bank about their reasons and motives for angling



  • What indicators can be used to establish whether a is viable and replenishing itself?
  • Are fish generally considered healthy food in your area?


Baltic 21 sector: Forestry

Political goal - Forestry:

Sustainable forestry maintains its biodiversity, its productivity, its regeneration capacity and its vitality. Sustainable forestry fulfils ecological, economic and social functions and does not cause damage to other ecosystems, be it at local, national or global levels. Consideration must be given to global carbon cycles, conservation of biological diversity, and the productive functions of wood and non-wood, in particular protective forest management concerning soil and water. The promotion of wood and wood-based products should emphasise wood as a natural renewable resource that is environmentally friendly.

Illustration by Edgars Kujatkoskis, Latvia 
Edgars Kujatkoskis, Latvia


Suggestions for schoolwork with Baltic 21 sector: Forestry

Preparatory work:

  • What percentage of your country is covered by forest? What percentage of this is natural forest?
  • Does legislation differ between national and private forests?
  • What do people generally combine with the forest in your area?
  • What do ordinary people use the forest for?
  • Which tree species are harvested?
  • What products are produced from wood from forests in your area?
  • Is waste wood used for any practical purpose other than fire wood?


Practical work:

  • Investigate the biodiversity of the forest e.g. by conducting phenological studies.
  • Interview people about their recreational use of the forest (picking mushrooms and berries, roving and camping, mentally relaxing etc).
  • How can annual growth and net production be measured?
  • What harvesting methods are used – clear-cuttings or individual trunks? At what age are trees felled for other purposes?
  • How does a lumberjack consider his “quality of life” as a forest worker, and is his financial and social situation acceptable?
  • Any threats to forests in your area?

Illustration by Joanna Kuligowska, Poland 
Joanna Kuligowska, Poland


  • What is your definition of a forest? What characterises a forest in your area?
  • What emotional issues are connected to forests?


Baltic 21 sector: Industry

Political goal - Industry:

Sustainable development means economic, social, technical and environmental improvements. Sustainable strategies apply to resources, processes, products and services. Sustainable industry ensures the availability of goods and services that satisfy human needs and bring quality of life, whilst simultaneously reducing the eco-logical impact and resource intensity throughout a lifecycle. Ecological impact should not exceed the carrying capacity with respect to biodi-versity, ecosystems and usage of natural resources. Sustainable industry means improving the working environment and safety of the workforce.

Illustration of industry by Rolands Salmins, Latvia 
Rolands Salmins, Latvia

Suggestions for schoolwork with Baltic 21 sector: Industry

Preparatory work:

  • Where are industries located in your area?
  • Why are they located there?
  • In what way have your local industries influenced the local environment, its biodiver-sity, the quality of the water and the air? What indicators can be used to investigate these factors?

Maigonis Preikss, Latvia

Practical work:

  • Make a study visit to a local industry, and find out about environmental attitudes concerning production processes and waste. Find out for different product categories what happens "from cradle to grave": How are products manufactured? What resources are required? What environmental hazards does the manufacturing process cause? How are the products used by people who buy them? For how long are they used? What happens after use of the product? Can the product be recycled or does it end as a waste product?
  • Industries can be awarded “green certificates”: What standards are required to obtain such a certificate, and in what way does this have an impact on the industry’s image and economy?



  • Market development and the view and awareness of the consumer are of great importance: Define what is meant by "the political/green consumer" and to what extent increasing awareness puts pressure on industrial goods to be more environmentally friendly.
  • "From cradle to grave" projects have been carried out on industrial products: What applied aspects bring "quality of life" to the consumer?
  • In what way do products "satisfy human needs" - and in what way have the needs changed over the last decade or two?
  • Hazardous waste products are often transported long distances and deposited abroad: Do we need another planet?


Baltic 21 sector: Tourism

Political goal - Tourism:

Sustainable tourism is any form of tourist development or activity which respects the environment, ensures long-term conservation of natural and cultural resources, and is socially and economically acceptable and equitable.

Sound environments should be sustained to conserve the recreational quality of natural and manmade landscapes. Satisfactory social conditions for tourists and the local population should be created.

Illustration of tourism by Uldis Mangulsons, Latvia

Uldis Mangulsons, Latvia 

Suggestions for schoolwork with Baltic 21 sector: Tourism

Preparatory work:

  • What do tourists do when visiting your area?
  • What is the predominant means of transport?
  • How can tourism be an environmental threat in your area?
  • In what ways does tourism have positive and negative impacts on your local area?
  • What kinds of physical activity are offered and promoted in your area?


Practical work:

  • Bicycle maps have been produced for many local areas, clearly marking sites of cultural or natural interest. Investigate the map by making a bicycle trip and writing about your impressions to the media. If your area does not have a bicycle map, make one -perhaps with a demand to local politicians that special bicycle routes be created away from other traffic.
  • Nature trails can be created around the countryside: Design a nature trail, making the signposts in co-operation with the authorities and designing a plan to maintain it. Ask groups of pupils and/or teachers to test the trail and report their experiences to the local paper.
  • Take part in restoring ecologically-important biotopes through thematic activities, summer camps or excursions - be it by clearing woodlands for endangered species of butterflies, planting grass species or creating special paths to protect dunes from wind erosion. Co-operate with the authorities on such a plan.
  • Organise fishing trips, horseback safaris, survival trips, etc in co-operation with the municipality and the local tourist company.
  • Design a tourist guide for your area that includes what makes the area special to you as a local resident.



  • What do you do in your leisure time?
  • With regard to special biotopes, should endangered species of plants or animals be presented on posters to the public or should they be protected by means of not drawing attention to them?
  • Define the term "ecotourism" in your local context.


Baltic 21 sector: Transport

Political goal - Transport:

Sustainable transport minimises negative environmental effects, consumption of non-renewable resources, and the use of land for transportation purposes. Sustainable transport retains its ability to serve economic and social development in the Baltic Sea Region by establishing an infrastructure that improves efficient transport of goods, by rail and sea in particular. 

Kristine Leja, Latvia

Suggestions for schoolwork with Baltic 21 sector: Transport

Preparatory work:

  • What kinds of jobs are connected to the transport sector in your area?
  • What infrastructure is present in your area? What transport needs are there?
  • What are the main negative impacts on the environment caused by different kinds of transport?
  • What indicators can be used to monitor the impact on the environment, and on the cultural and historical heritage?
  • In what way can transport be a threat to human and animal health?
  • What are the statistics on annual injuries and deaths due to traffic in your country?
  • Why do people prefer private cars to buses, trains or other forms of public transport?


Practical work:

  • Find out what percentage of your country’s land is used for roads.
  • Calculate how many kilometres your group travelled in one week and find the difference in cost using different means of trans-port.Try to include environmental aspects in your calculation.
  • Calculate the CO2 emission resulting from travelling 100 km using different means of transport.
  • Examine the petrol prices and compare them with prices of public transport for a similar distance.
  • Construct maps for bicycle paths away from motor traffic. Present the suggestions to your municipality and design a bicycle promotion campaign.
  • Make a plan for your city centre that prevents private cars in the midst of urban dwellings but allows people to go shopping using other means of transport.
  • Biofuels, ethanol and cars using solar energy have been produced for sustainable energy in the transport sector: Construct a bicycle that can make use of wind energy.
  • Transport of goods should be by sea or rail: Construct a map in the Baltic Sea Region that would create suitable “new Hanseatic routes”.



  • How can public transport be made more attractive?
  • How can cars be made to be environmentally friendly?
  • How can the need for transport be reduced?

Illustration of transport by Euna Lazdina, Latvia 
Euna Lazdina, Latvia


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