The Baltic Sea Region developed within the last ten years to one of the best examples for regional co-operation in Europe. It is a region of great natural resources with considerable human and economic potential. But it also faces big challenges in overcoming long distances, bridging over wide socio-economic gaps and ensuring preservation of cultural identity.
Youth exchange and youth co-operation plays an important role within the strongly networked Baltic Sea Region. An active and encouraged participation of young people is of great importance for a democratic and sustainable development in the region.
Since March 1999 the Baltic Sea Secretariat for Youth Affairs serves as a centre or hub for information distribution and co-ordination for all forms of co-operation activities between youth policy structures, between governmental and non-governmental youth structures as well as youth projects in the Baltic Sea region. The work and experience of the Secretariat proofed that funding for activities is still one of the major burden of youth co-operation in the region. The Conference on Baltic Sea Youth Co-operation in Lübeck, June 2000, adopted the need to establish a centralised database on the financial resources available for youth exchange in the region.
Lack of financing is very often also a lack of information about the existing funds. But information is not easy to get. Therefore, the Baltic Sea Secretariat for Youth Affairs (www.jugendsh.de) and the International Youth Exchange and Visitors Service of the Federal Republic of Germany (IJAB) (www.ijab.de) took the initiative to develop an online-database as an information resource for funding opportunities in the Baltic Sea Region. They decided to co-operate with and use the experience of Eurodesk Brussels Link (www.eurodesk.org). The Eurodesk European Network has partners in 23 countries providing information services on national and regional level. It includes information from the European Commission and other European level agencies together with other relevant information from the participating countries.
The new Baltic Sea Desk online-database contains
The information will be updated continuously partly by Eurodesk Brussels Link and partly by the Baltic Sea Secretariat for Youth Affairs.
Baltic Sea Desk was financially supported by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth during the German Presidency of the Council of Baltic Sea States 2000/2001.