Baltic cooperation

Monday, 21 May 2012 14:50

History of cooperation (1990-1998)

The Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian academies of sciences signed a communiqué on cooperation between the three academies of sciences on 28 June 1990. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences played a not insignificant role in fostering this process. In order to establish a closer contact between the Academies of Sciences of the three Baltic States and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, a meeting was arranged on June 26-28, 1990 in Tallinn with representatives of four academies.

It was then decided that the academies should initiate and encourage scientific collaboration, with particular emphasis on environmental research. As an important first step it was decided that a joint meeting between active research workers in the four countries should be organized at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. Quoting the member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Professor B. Sundin: “The commitment of the Academy of Sciences to questions concerning the protection and preservation of the environment and natural resources can be said to be based on traditions reaching back to the Academy’s very beginnings” (1989). The conference with the title “Environmental Toxicology and Health”, in May 1991, was a very interesting and successful meeting.

From 1991 until 1996 the Baltic-Norwegian Legal conferences were held, upon the initiative of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters, in order to discuss the legal and constitutional issues with special focus on the Baltic States, which recently had reinstated their independence. These conferences that were twice held in Norway (1991, 1994), once in Latvia (1992) and once in Tallinn (1996) were found to be an area where the collaboration agreements with each of the Baltic academies of sciences signed in April 1991 were really coming into useful practice.

During the 1990’s the academies of sciences around the Baltic Sea entered into bilateral agreements aimed at enhancing mobility of scientists and facilitating scientific networking. The Estonian Academy of Sciences, the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences and the Latvian Academy of Sciences established close and friendly contacts with a number of the academies in Sweden, Norway and Finland. Over the following years the inter-academy cooperation, particularly among the Baltic academies of sciences, was realized in the following forms: exchange of information, exchange of scientific visits, joint meeting/conferences and mutual consultations to represent internationally the views and positions.

After the 1990 Tallinn meeting, the delegations of the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian academies of sciences started meeting regularly. During the 1990’s the delegations from the three Baltic academies met annually in Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius to discuss the topical problems and issues of research cooperation.

In 1996, the geography of participating academies was extended beyond the southern part of the Baltic Sea Region, and the delegations of the academies of sciences of the Nordic countries were invited to attend these meetings. Until 2000, the delegations of the three Baltic academies of sciences met regularly and several Baltic-Nordic meetings were held. The major topics of the first decade of these meetings were: scanty budgetary funding of science in the Baltic countries, upholding of the positions of the Baltic and Nordic academies of sciences internationally (ALLEA, ICSU, IAP, etc.), three joint research programs of the Baltic academies of sciences; the scientific justification of the Baltic energy system, establishing a Baltic academies’ webpage and databases on internationally recognized experts of the Baltic countries, joint publishing (Revue Baltique, others).

Already in 1998, during the Tallinn meeting it was agreed to broaden the discussions, to step beyond the internal matters of the academies of sciences, and a couple of decisive decisions were made. It was then decided to hold the next meeting of the Baltic Academies of Sciences in conjunction with a scientific conference to be organized in Riga in 1999. Besides, the presidents of the three Baltic academies agreed to establish a joint Medal of the Baltic Academies of Sciences to be awarded in recognition of distinguished contribution to the advancement of collaboration among scientists of the Baltic countries and for performing joint research.

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