The Extension stage project aimed to
- support the implementation of the strategic plans and concepts developed for the demo regions through demonstration, awareness raising, mobilization, and training activities;
- transfer good practices and concepts developed during the Main stage to other demo regions and non-partner regions outside the project;
- “test” the sustainability principles and criteria developed during the Main stage;
- feed corresponding findings into higher level policy and programme development, particularly for the new EU funding period 2014-2020.
In the Extension stage seven of the initial 17 demo regions started to implement the regional strategic plans and concepts drawn up during the Main stage. The implementing activities included awareness-raising, mobilization and training of local stakeholders and decision-makers, and the adoption of complementary strategies.
The Extension stage project also comprised bilateral “twinning” activities between demo regions, e.g. between the regions of Zealand (Denmark) and Skaraborg (Sweden), and the region of Zealand and Gdynia (Poland). Some of the partners entered into a dialogue with non-partner regions outside the project and discussed opportunities to transfer experiences, good practices and strategic concepts (joint Danish-German transfer initiative in the region of Latgale/Latvia).
The Extension stage project envisaged the “testing” of the sustainability principles and criteria developed during the Main stage. For this purpose the partners entered into a dialogue with energy utility companies and the European Commission about sustainability criteria for solid and gaseous biomass used in electricity, heating and cooling, and held a joint workshop in Brussels during the Sustainable Energy Week organized by the Polish project partners.
The project partners also prepared assessments and recommendations to consider sustainability principles and criteria in the framing of the new EU funding programmes including the EU Baltic Sea Region Programme, the Central Europe Programme, and the forthcoming national and regional programmes under the European Cohesion and Rural Development Policies 2014-2020.
Finally, the partners deepened the dialogue with the Council of Baltic Sea States Expert Group on Sustainable Development “Baltic 21” and other policy actors in the Baltic Sea Region to feed project results into policy and programme development at the macro-regional (BSR) level, including the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and its Action Plan.