3. November 2005

Meeting of German NGO-Initiative for Baltic Sea Cooperation in Hamburg, 29.10.2005

Fruitful meeting
On Saturday, 29th of october, the German NGO-Initiative for Baltic Sea Cooperation came together for an annual meeting. 14 participants met in the house of the Lawaetz-Foundation, Hamburg.

Our meeting was attended by 14 people, including Mr Jan-Axel Voss, advisor on Baltic Sea Cooperation at Federal Foreign Office, Berlin.
(contact: Jan-Axel Voss, Auswärtiges Amt, Ref. E 07-9, Berlin,

The participants:
Albert Caspari, Verein INFOBALT, Bremen,
Stefan Hansen, Hohe Tied e.V., Kiel, greenbalt[ät]aol.com
Lutz Hüttel, FIDEA e.V., Hamburg, webmaster[ät]fidea.de
Burkhard Luber, Stiftung DIE SCHWELLE, Bremen,
Gerhard Maschack, Kulturzentrum Lagerhaus, Bremen, gmaschack[ät]web.de
Frauke Rubart, Kulturzentrum Lagerhaus, Bremen, fraukerubart[ät]aol.com
Bernd Scheda, Kulturzentrum Lagerhaus, Bremen, info[ät]kulturzentrum-lagerhaus.de
Maik Schulz, Verein BaltiCult, Neustadt-Glewe/Ortsteil Tuckhude, maik.schulz-2.vorsitzender[ät]balticult.de
Karin Schmalriede, Lawaetz-Stiftung, Hamburg, schmalriede[ät]lawaetz.de
Alicja Skodowska, Deutsch-polnische Gesellschaft, Hamburg, alchemikde[ät]yahoo.de
Hans-Joachim Tiefensee, Verein INFOBALT, Bremen, joachim[ät]infobalt.de
Christian Wellmann, Schleswig-Holstein Institute for Peace Research (SHIP/ Kiel), wellmann[ät]schiff.uni-kiel.de
Hartwig Zillmer, Deutsch-Polnische Gesellschaft, Hamburg, ha.zillmer[ät]web.de

In the first part of the meeting we gave some time to everybody to introduce each NGOs work and projects. Participants came together from four different Federal States: Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Bremen.

Later we continued our meeting with a short review on the BALTIC SEA NGO FORUM in Gdynia/Poland. All participants of NGO FORUM 2005 regarded the Forum as very useful for better cooperation with especially polish NGOs, as it was a good chance for meeting and discussions. Some new projects were born at the NGO FORUM, and part of them even realised already in 2005. Especially positive reports came from Kulturzentrum Lagerhaus, Lawaetz-Stiftung, INFOBALT and from FIDEA. Many German participants felt the FORUM as being one day too short - not much time to really get to know people and finish discussions. Other remarks were, that it was, as always, important to get a picture also of the meeting place outside the conference-halls (to get an impression of the atmosphere at the spot). Some people expressed their wish to have a place for introducing their projects at future NGO FORA, others wished to have more young people involved into Baltic Sea NGO Networks activities.

Mr Voss told about his experiences in his new job as advisor for Baltic Sea Cooperation at the German Foreign Office. It was an open and friendly discussion of different views and experiences. Mr Voss told about some topics raised by the Islandic presidency during recent meetings of CBSS-officials: measures against traficking, for energy-networking, Baltic Sea as PSSA - particular sensitiv area, Baltic Sea wide radiation-measuring, and the willingness of CBSS for more cooperation with Ukraine.
During the discussion a question came up on experiences of "NGO-support-offices" in East-European countries. As German NGOs don't have such offices, they are not able to hold a constant contact and propose more cooperation. Many of German NGOs believe that they do not know much about the situation of NGOs in other countries and lack a constant contact to "NGO think tanks" in Baltic Sea countries. The communication inside the Baltic Sea NGO Network seems to be too sporadic and changeful for getting a constant input on the situation in CBSS-countries, but of course we hope for improvement in future.

Some decisions of our meeting:

1) As the update of our webpage www.cbss-ngo.de would cost too much money (which we don't know where to get from), we open another common (english language) webpage, which es easier to handle, and cheaper.
The adress is
www.baltic-ngo.blogspot.com , and contributors of Baltic Sea NGO Network are also invited to participate.

2) We continue to inform all members of German NGO Initiative for Baltic Sea Cooperation by an Email-Newsletter. It is open to every NGO interested. Contact: post

3) We continue to hold annual meetings of our NGO Initiative. We will try to change meeting places, for holding travel costs acceptable for all participants. After having had meetings in Kiel, Berlin and Hamburg the next annual meeting in 2006 will be held in Rostock. We will decide about the date after getting to know the date for BALTIC SEA NGO FORUM 2006 in Sweden.

4) We discussed possible speakers for thematic networks of the Baltic Sea NGO Network.

Environment - Annelie Ehlers (CCB-network) or Stefan Hansen (Hohe Tied) greenbalt[ät]aol.com - further information can be asked from Stefan Hansen

Culture - Lutz Hüttel, FIDEA.
webmaster[ät]fidea.de Lutz will write a paper on his interpreation of the activities on this field.

Human Rights - Burkhard Luber
luber[ät]dieschwelle.de. Burkhard already wrote a paper on the issue and put it on our new Website www.baltic-ngo.blogspot.com

Social affairs - Karin Schmalriede (
schmalriede[ät]@lawaetz.de). Karin regards the field of all possible social activities as too broad and general, and will write an own paper on what she can do.

Voluntary work - Stephan Malerius, "German-Russian Exchange", Berlin,
stephan.malerius[ät]gmx.net . Stefan is ready to tell about many experiences with voluntary projects of "German-Russian Exchange", also in Ukraine.

Civil security - no one of us acitive on this field.

Regional development (possibly together with culture, Lutz Huettel will write a paper on the topic)

5) We decided on a new version of common paper on the aims of our German NGO-initiative. The German version of this new paper (which will renew the "Berlin declaration" of 2001) will be possible to access at our common webpages soon.

6) We will collect proposals from different NGOs regarding the 1.preparatory meeting for BALTIC SEA NGO FORUM 2006, which is planned to be arranged in Copenhagen 27.-29.1.2006.
Some first proposals are: Fishery, discussion between social NGOs/Trade Unions/fishery associations/environmental NGOs, traffic in the Baltic Sea region, alternative journalism, NGO capacity building, conversion.

7) We discussed possibilities to have an "Baltic Sea Office" for the German NGOs. Since we did not see realistic sources for financing, this option seems to be still an illusion. But on the other hand activities of the German NGO-initiative for Baltic Sea Cooperation can not be arranged only on voluntary base (as from 2001 until now). The government of Hamburg offered support and consulting for EU-programmes, but condition is that it should fit into the interests of Hamburg town (as we do not concentrate on one Federal State only, this condition is difficult). In Bremen the "Culture Center Lagerhaus" offers rooms for such Baltic Office, but still some money is needed to cover the costs. We will continue in evaluating the possibilities.

Albert Caspari
www.infobalt.de / post[ät]infobalt.de
NGO Initiative Ostseekooperation www.cbss-ngo.de

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