Baltic Gates – a pilot project starts
During 2019 a first and focused pilot project and a feasibility study along the Viabal concept lines has been established – the Baltic Gates project.
Every coastal Baltic Maritime Heritage site has links to the joint Baltic Sea history, to other countries and sites around the Baltic Sea.The Baltic Gates project, with ten partners from four countries, will in 2019-2020 explore the opportunities to build, organize and utilize a joint base of such links for increased awareness around the Baltic Sea of our joint maritime cultural heritage.
The project is funded by the Swedish Institute. It aims to explore the opportunities of the idea and to, possibly, prepare for a more comprehensive application to the EU funding system in the 2021-2027 program period.
Read more under tab “Turning idea into a project”.
Taking a more focused road ahead
In Summer the Viabal application to the Central Baltic Program was rejected. The concept as it had been presented was considered to wide and unclear, the contents attractions mentioned not enough elaborated.
During Autumn and Winter there has been consultations and discussions within the Viabal project if and how to proceed. Generally, there seems to be a lessened interest within the EUSBSR for the tourism area.
As a result, during the Winter a more focused approach is now to be tested, with a basis in the Baltic Gates concept of the Viabal project. This will reduce the scope of the project size to about one third, focusing on the ICT component.
The new approach is now in a dialogue with Viabal partners and other operators, to find out the interest in a joint work along these lines. The main features of the Baltic Gates approach are presented in this link
Application to the Central Baltic program
February 25th the Viabal project submitted a Step 1 application to the Central Baltic program 3rd call.
The application forms a project approach in line with the developed Viabal project intentions as an EU Flagship in Tourism.
Project attraction name is set to “Baltic Maritime Heritage Gate”. The program decision on the applications of the 3rd call will be taken June 8-9th.
New partners in the Central Baltic application are Hiiumaa Cooperation Network LAG (Estonia) and Stensund College (Sweden). Associated partners are Sagalund Museum Foundation (Finland) and Swedish Lighthouse Society.
The application focuses on the northern part of the Baltic Sea. However, to ensure competence from an all Baltic perspective as well as a future dissemination of results to the South Baltic area, National Maritime Museum of Poland and Lithuanian Sea Museum are to be attached as experts.
EU expert group strategy meeting
February 27th Viabal was invited to participate and present its views in an EU expert meeting in Riga on the forthcoming EUSBSR Strategy on maritime tourism 2030. The perspective of the Viabal project seems to be well in line with possible coming strategies and actions.
Baltic Sea Region Program application
To the surprise of us all and of the Priority Area Tourism, the Viabal Flagship´s eight partners application failed in the autumn. The rejection, well-motivated by the secretariat, was about lack of Blue economy focus, of stringency between activities, results and outputs, of not including public authorities enough. However, an overall important conclusion from the two calls of the BSR program is that Tourism is not a priority area.
Consultations and PAC Steering Committee meeting
During the autumn the project consulted with the Priority Area Coordinator and the steering committee on how to bring the Viabal Flagship to a successful funding. I was decided that the most appropriate next step was to go for an application to the regional funding programs of the Baltic Sea. This is also the funding strategy proposed in the Viabal Seed Money Report 2015, should the BSR program application fail.
In the Autumn an up-dated Viabal presentation was made to the EUSBSR 7th Forum in Stockholm. It can be viewed here
Taking next step – the Central Baltic Program
With Finland having joined the Viabal project, the work is now going further with an application to the Central Baltic Program end of February. This means a focus on the northern Baltic Sea, since there has shown to be considerable difficulties to run parallel project with the South Baltic and the Central Baltic Programs.
However, the Polish partner has expressed interest in associating to the Central Baltic funded project. This would constitute an important opportunity and a bridge from North to South, should the project success in its funding and implementation.
In December the EU Commission accepted the Viabal project as an EUSBSR Flagship in Tourism. A flagship is the result of a policy discussion within a policy area/horizontal action. It may develop key solutions, new methodologies, practises or be a network looking for new forms of cooperation.
The flagship status represents recognition of the project and what it is addressing as questions of high macro-regional importance, central to the EUSBSR objectives and its policy areas/ horizontal actions. Flagship status will also help raise the profile of the project. Furthermore, in many instances, when evaluated by programmes a project application will be given a higher score if it has flagship status.
New lead partner
In December also the municipality of Nynäshamn entered the Viabal project as lead partner. Nynäshamn is the home municipality of seed money project lead partner Landsort Maritime and Environmental Center. The municipality of Nynäshamn is since long active in promoting and practically working with blue growth issues and the development of destinations in the rural coastal area.
In March German Tourismusgesellschaft Kap Arkona in Rügen and Lituanian Sea Museum in Klaipeda and on the entrance to the Curonian Spit have joined as partners of a potential main Viabal project. Both partners have a long lasting relation to several aspects of the Baltic maritime heritage along the coastal line.
For following research and evaluations the University of Södertörn outside Stockholm has joined the project. A dialogue is at the moment taking place to open up for also a Finnish partner in the project.
On the agenda is now primarily the work on and submission to the Baltic Sea Region Program of a Concept Note, before the end of May.
Summer consultations with four EU-programs
During Summer consultations have been held with four major EU programs of interest – Baltic Sea Region Program, South Baltic Program, Central Baltic Program and Creative Europe. The Viabal project idea is in its components fundamentally considered as a relevant project for all EU funds consulted. Due to the considerable size of the intended Viabal project, there is however a need to downsize and/or separate the project into several applications.
The process ahead
This process is now commencing, aiming at a more focused approach. This approach will be communicated to the parties with which the Viabal project has been in contact during the seed money project in 2014. The time schedule is basically intended to be related to the process for Concept Note and Application to the Baltic Sea Region Program.
PAC and Steering Committee in Tourism
In connection with the Baltic Sea Tourism Forum the Viabal project was presented to the Steering Committee of the Priority Area Tourism, as one of two proposed flagships. A final decision in this matter will be taken when the Viabal project has come back with the new and more focused approach. Viabal project was also presented to the BSTF participants as a flagship proposal.
The Viabal power point material presented to the Steering Committee can be viewed here:
The Final Report from the seed money project stage of Viabal was submitted to the Seed Money Facility in Rostock by the end of February and was approved March 31.
The Concept Note submitted to the Baltic Sea Region Programme was March 20 declared admissible by the BSR Programme secretariat in the first round of checks and will be included in the forthcoming evaluations.
In the first week of March also a decision was made in the Steering committee of the EUSBSR Priority Area Tourism, to propose to the EU commission the Viabal project as a potential Flagship in the Action Plan of the EUSBSR.
Roland Steen Project leader
January 30th the Viabal project team submitted a Concept Note to the Baltic Sea Region Programme, aiming at a forthcoming application for a Main Project. At the same time was submitted a Letter of Commitment from the Priority Area Coordinator in Tourism, supporting the Viabal Project as a potential EU Flagship in Tourism.
Lead partner Project leader
The Viabal project group held its third meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, January 12th. Three topics were on the agenda.
Work packages for a forthcoming possible main project were finally concluded on. Four work packages were decided – Sites, Skills, Routes and Exhibition, together forming a strong concept for a possible EU Flagship project in Tourism.
Funding opportunities were concluded after a mapping of opportunities being reported. A main strategy and approach was formed regarding European Union funding instruments. Also two secondary approaches were decided on.
Partners and associates issue was also on the agenda and finally settled. The team decided to work with a combination of partners and associates aiming at complying with the need of a truly transnational approach and at the same time also the need for project efficiency.
During the period between second meeting in Hiiumaa and the third meeting in Stockholm, there have been a number of activities.
The team members has prepared the work packages concepts, with aims, activities, target groups, expected results and preliminary budgets. Also a mapping was made of funding opportunities.
Visits to and meetings was held with a number of possible new partners or associates in a forthcoming main project. These are located in Latvia, Finland, Denmark and Germany.
During autumn the project also advertised in the EU Parliamentary Magazine, October 2014, no 398, special issue on Tourism, page 13, aiming at a more wide spread information about the Viabal project. Link to add:
By February 22nd the Viabal project is supposed to have delivered it final report to the EU Seed Money Facility.
Lead partner project leader
The Viabal project group held its second meeting in Hiiumaa, Estonia, September 29-30th.
The group decided on a overall document about the context of the project, its aims and visions. Also the draft report mapping the state-of-play for a possible main project was discussed and agreed on – areas was Viabal Context, Demand side, Heritage situation, Complementary projects and Baltic structure.
A preliminary decision was made on five possible Work Packages, their purpose, content, lead partner and possible partners. Responsibilities were appointed aiming at having a preliminary structure for each work packages reported by mid-December. Also the process of identifying potential sources of funding was started, with report of basic data to responsible partner mid-December.
Next meeting in the project group will take place in Stockholm January 12th. Submission of final report to the Seed Money Facility is set to February 22nd.
Roland Steen Lead partner
Now this homepage is up and running. Time for some updated news on our work as well.
The Project Group started it´s work with a meeting in Rostock, Germany, at Bureau Hansa Sail, on March 17th. The Group discussed at length the aims, purposes and expectations. We agreed on building further on making our concept more clear, for presentation to other organisations and future possible partners to be approached. We also distributed activities according to our Output 1 task, bringing together the state-of-play in the area. This work is now going on, with first parts and reports already been produced.
Also is now commencing a job to identify possible further potential partners. Although the issue of deciding on future further partners is to be finally settled when the Output 1 has been accomplished, our short time scale (2014) urges us to keep up the tempo in this important issue. So at the moment we also ”scan” the Baltic for other interesting and interested parties.
Organisations working and aiming along the lines of this VIABAL project are welcome to get in touch!
Next meeting in the Project Group will take place in the end of September, in Hiiumaa, Estonia.
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