How EUSBSR stakeholders can better reach out to policy-makers? To reach out to policy-makers is important if we want the EUSBSR results to count and have an imapct of the regions policies - and the future!

Reaching out is the way EUSBSR stakeholders can really impact processes at the policy-making level and the hard work during the project implementation can start to ‘make the change’.

The only question is – how to do it effectively? We couldn’t find a better way to explain this topic than to ask the EUSBSR Flagships to share their experience and best practices. Here are two Flagship stories from Pan Baltic Scope (HA Spatial Planning) and SUMBA (HA Climate) with concrete steps for you to follow when reaching out to policy-makers!



How do we use the sea to improve lives? How do we share it with our neighbours?

The Baltic Sea is used more and more; wind farms for clean energy, shipping for transport, fishing for food, mineral extraction, all trying to get along with seals, birds and our very own “Baltic Dolphin”, the porpoise.

Right now, all states around the Baltic Sea are planning the Baltic Sea. But they have different laws, traditions, methods and priorities. Still, the plans must work together, across borders. Because we should use the sea in an efficient way, that improves lives.

Reaching policy-makers across borders

So how do you reach policy-makers ­– across borders? This is how it was done in the Pan Baltic Scope collaboration:

"In our partnership we gathered authorities responsible for maritime spatial planning from around the Baltic Sea. Then added research and intergovernmental organizations on environment and planning, and got going. Better together was our motto.

What we did was to share, understand and adapt. One important solution in this was our Planning Forum. In our Planning Forum, officers from ministries and state agencies got together and handled concrete issues which they currently faced, and exchanged good practices. This supported the ongoing national and sub-national planning and policy implementation.

One more point was that our topical subgroups in Pan Baltic Scope, with experts on for example economic and environmental assessments, tested their work in the Planning Forum, to get feedback and stay attuned to the current needs and the challenges the planning officers faced in their everyday work. The experts also produced Baltic-wide maps and information on fishing nurseries, feeding places and valuable nature that planning officers could use in the future. Some groups also reached out to municipality officers.

Thanks to Pan Baltic Scope, officers who took part could then include solutions in their plan proposals to the political level and parliaments, who adopt the plans.

Now Pan Baltic Scope has ended, but we see that the ones who took part really use our joint results afterwards; in their planning, for policy-making, and even when teaching university courses!"



  • Involve the ones actually responsible for implementation.

In our case the authorities who are doing the maritime spatial plans, from all around the Baltic Sea.

  • Build on their real needs, bottom up.

Because then results are developed for the real needs, and the results get used right away, directly boosting the work. In our case the maritime spatial planning going on. It also makes participants feel ownership and fosters the results onwards.

  • Build on previous projects.

In our case this meant building on the trust we built in a previous project, and the idea of a planning forum which was born then.

  • Be flexible.

This involves making room for topics and issues that pop up along the way.

  • Be useful.

Always think: Who should use this, what are their needs, how can we meet those needs?

  • Involve stakeholders to develop a common picture.

Make it easy for people to participate, for example by fixing dates well in advance, being precise about what’s in it for them and any restrictions in influence they are allowed.

  • Say it early, clearly and nicely!



SUMBA is a Flagship project that develops and tests tools that can help urban and transport planners to assess, plan, and integrate intermodal mobility solutions into transport plans and policies of their cities and municipalities. It helps cities to achieve more attractive and environmentally friendly commuting system.

How SUMBA project activities reached out to policy-makers

From the very beginning SUMBA project has aimed to involve policy-makers in the project activities, starting with putting together the project application and including several municipalities (Hamburg, Tallinn, Riga etc.)  in the project. Most of the project’s activities like the Commuting Master Plan creation process involves different stakeholders such as policy-makers, or result in documents that can be directly used for policy making e.g. studies providing reliable data.

SUMBA’s story to reach out to policy-makers

To find the best possible solution for public transport in the Harju County and Tallinn (Estonia), Union of Harju County Municipalities and Tallinn Transport Department ordered a feasibility analysis for the light rail transport in the area. The analysis was done as part of the SUMBA project and it consisted of a wide impact analysis (including socio-economic), suggestions for different routes and transport corridors, to improve the urban transport network, to increase attractiveness and ease of use of public transport as well as the proposals for technical implementation and for investment and financial solutions.

The results of the study that was completed at the end of 2019 demonstrated that it is socio-economically viable both to develop new tram routes and to better utilise the already existing railway, so as to improve the connections between Tallinn and its neighbouring municipalities. Developing light rail and train traffic is the best solution to reduce dependency on cars and contribute to a more human-friendly urban environment. Many policy-makers have agreed that this document can be used by the municipalities and also by the Ministry in planning investments.



  • Work together, not against.

Find what are the policy-maker needs and work together to help solving the existing problems.

  • Include policy-makers from the get-go.

We aimed to involve policy-makers in the project activities from the very beginning, starting with putting together the project application and including several municipalities in the project.

  • Provide reliable data for the policy-makers that can be used easily.

As part of the SUMBA project a feasibility analysis for the light rail transport in Tallinn city and Harju County was conducted and the results were introduced to the policy-makers.

  • Stay tuned!

Be informed about current policies and plans for the future and give realistic ideas that are measured with expenses-time frame.