Bringing the Ocean to Society
4 Jul 2019
Let's involve youth in the blue and green economy!
EurOcean Member SUBMARINER leads the way on inclusion of young generations in the Baltic Sea region.

The SUBMARINER Network/Blue Platform seminar at European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) conference was entitled "Blue and green bioeconomy in the BSR from a youth perspective" and took place in in Gdansk, Poland on 13 June 2019. Based on the work carried out in Policy Area Bioeconomy and the Policy Area Innovation flagship SUBMARINER Network, this interactive event presented an insight into the topics of youth and the bioeconomy in the BSR and brought over 60 participants together to discuss bioeconomy trends, tools and the youth perspective on how to develop a sustainable bioeconomy. 

Torfi Johannesson from PA Bioeconomy and Esa Kokkonen from PA Innovation opened the seminar by focusing on how the seminar would feature examples of direct youth involvement, contribution to policy development, and identification of major future trends in blue and green bioeconomy in the region.

This was followed by a presentation from Mads Wolf from Nordic Sustainability where he presented preliminary finding from an upcoming trend analysis on bioeconomy in the BSR and North West Russia commissioned by PA Bioeconomy and the Nordic Council of Ministers. The presentation was followed by roundtable discussion about trends for the bioeconomy and how youth affect these trends.

To represent the youth perspective directly, the seminar then offered five Nordic Council of Ministers Bioeconomy Youth Ambassadors the chance to each present a call to action. The presentations were based on a series of op-eds in the online magazine Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way where participants of the Swedish Institute’s Baltic Leadership Programme on Youth and Bioeconomy laid out their thoughts on how we develop a sustainable bioeconomy in the BSR. By engaging youth representatives as experts within the field of bioeconomy, the seminar went beyond youth engagement as a token exercise and instead allowed for a serious discussion with respect for the perspectives that the youth has to offer.

Angela Schultz-Zehden, managing director of the SUBMARINER Network presented the Network with emphasis on what actions are currently taken within the blue bioeconomy to inspire youth to play an active role in the blue bioeconomy, e.g. through entering blue professional fields; trainings for future practitioners, investors, entrepreneurs or future leaders.

With the aim to develop new ideas for action by sharing experiences, SUBMARINER organised ten round table discussions. The tables were hosted by SUBMARINER members: experts in blue biotechnology, fish and shrimp aquaculture, fisheries, mussels, macroalgae, and the general blue economy. The groups discussed already available tools to attract youth to these sectors, and engaged in interactive discussions on how more good practices could be developed.

Moderator: Esben Lanthén, Nordic Sustainability and Efthalia Arvaniti, SUBMARINER Network


  • Opening statements: Torfi Johannesson, PA Bioeconomy & Esa Kokkonen, PA Innovation
  • Key trends: Mads Wolf, Nordic Sustainability, BSR Bioeconomy Trend Analysis
  • Youth speakers: Santa Niedola, Martin Rümmelein, Jussi Nissi, and Agnė Dapkuvienė, all participants of the Baltic Leadership Programme on Youth and Bioeconomy
  • The blue bioeconomy: Angela Schultz-Zehden, SUBMARINER Network, SUBMARINER Network activities

 Organizers: Nordic Council of Ministers/PA Bioeconomy, SUBMARINER Network for Blue Growth EEIG