Why do we need Umbrella 2.0

After the Umbrella project’s success (Boosting cross-border cooperation capacities of local actors in the South Baltic Sea), Euroregion Baltic decided to propose a package of activities based on already tested actions to involve newcomers in the Baltic Sea Region. The excellent relationship of Euroregion Baltic with the Umbrella 2.0’s partners (Union of the Baltic Cities and BSSSC) will ensure perfect coverage in the Baltic Sea Region regarding stakeholders’ involvement and boost bottom-up actions.

Bottom-up actors are those closer to the citizens and their needs; they know their territory and are aware of how to apply policies in the best way. Euroregion Baltic works as a mediator between the local municipalities and other NGOs and the upper strategic levels, meaning the regional, national, international levels besides the bound to the EU thanks to the INTERREG South Baltic Programme and close cooperation with the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.

The new EU programming period 2021–2027 is underlying the importance of sustainability, which is strongly perceived as fundamental, especially in this pandemic. That’s why Umbrella 2.0 and its partners want to be ambassadors of the EUSBSR, EU Green Deal and UN SDGs.

Raising awareness and supporting partnerships

To do this, we asked ourselves whether the EU is known and well communicated, whether it is close to those who work at the local level, close to citizens. And we asked ourselves whether those things that we take for granted because we work with them daily are clear for others. Often possibilities and opportunities are often not known. EU strategic choices, long-term goals and action plans are simply not known.

Therefore our mission is:

  • To raise awareness of opportunities and benefits of transnational and cross-border cooperation and increase regional stakeholders’ interest in it;
  • To empower stakeholders to build strategic and long term-partnerships, support networking, and straighten community of practitioners in different sectors;
  • To improve knowledge of the EU, its financial instruments and relevant strategies, with particular focus on the EUSBSR;
  • To explore the opportunities and benefits of being part of EUSBSR and offer practical guidelines on how to engage in long-term;

We are project managers and strategists, but we want to pass the concept that process is more important than the result. First of all, we need to involve local actors in networking, building trust, exchanging knowledge, and setting the basis for actions.

Our goals:

  • To raise awareness through networking events or conferences about EUSBSR Action Plan and communication, UN SDGs, EU Green Deal. These are the major topics that need to be investigated by the beneficiaries to make them create a connection between the upper strategic level and the bottom operative level. The latter is the one that actually can have a relevant impact on a local level, especially in terms of sustainable development.
  • To make EUSBSR and local actors meet together, know each other, communicate in 3 two-day “meet-your-flagship” events.
  • To train stakeholders on project management. In fact, once actors are involved in processes and networks, projects are often the most used tool to cooperate across borders.
  • To communicate the EU policies (EU Green Deal, EUSBSR) and UN SDGs through stakeholders’ thematic trainings.

Text by: Valentina Scandola, Umbrella project manager