We Make Transition! (Interreg). Towards sustainable and resilient societies through empowered civil society and collaborative innovation

We live with complex ecological and social challenges. Local and regional authorities have a crucial role in driving resilience – societal ability to adapt and react – but due to complexity of the sustainability challenge, they need to mobilise all levels of society to develop and implement solutions that enable a needed change in our traditional ways of doing things.

Various civil society actors – such as NGOs, associations, social entrepreneurs, cooperatives, communities, individuals – have an important role in helping public services to cope with external disturbances. Local authorities, however, lack efficient methods for systematic interaction with civil society actors. A key challenge is to integrate civil society actors in innovation efforts and adapt the support structures to encompass also the eco-social dimension on the side of economic dimension.

We make transition! -project will engage a great number of regional and local authorities, civil society and other innovation actors from the Baltic Sea region to learn, pilot and adapt a so-called Transition Arena method – a strategic tool of transition management. In this project the method is adapted to co-create a transnational inclusive sustainability vision, and at local levels pathways, concrete steps and initiatives to foster sustainability transitions focusing on the role of various civil society organisations.

Each partner region will pilot (in close cooperation with local authorities) local transition arenas that will focus on various eco-social sustainability topics, such as sustainable consumption, circular and sharing economy, nature and biodiversity, food, mobility, employment…

The project will raise awareness among regional and local authorities on transition management and enhance their learning on how to utilise the elements of Transition Arena co-creation process in a practical way as a tool of engaging actors from different levels of society. The project aims also to empower civil society actors and improve the understanding of their role and potential in making transitions.


Key activities of the project include:

  • Focus groups on eco-social sustainability topics in each partner region with local authorities, decision-makers, companies and civil society actors
  • Open webinars on transition management, role of civil society actors and alternative economy models
  • Selecting transnational group of change agents to create a transnational inclusive sustainability vision for the Baltic Sea region
  • Organising transition arena in each partner location in cooperation with local authorities
  • Workshops for local and regional authorities on how to utilise transition arena method to empower and co-create eco-social sustainability solutions with civil society and other innovation actors.


1. The Baltic Institute of Finland (Lead partner)
2. Council of Tampere Region, Finland
3. Regional Council of Helsinki-Uusimaa, Finland
4. Council of Southwest Finland, Finland
5. DD StratLab, Estonia
6. Social Innovation Centre, Latvia
7. Vidzeme Planning Region
8. City of Gdynia, Poland
9. Baltic Institute of European and Regional Affairs – BISER, Poland
10. Trondelag Region, Norway
11. University of Bremen, Germany

Associated organisations:
City of Tampere, Finland
Hämeenkyrö Municipality, Finland
City of Helsinki, Finland
Municipality of Kemiönsaari
City of Uusikaupunki, Finland
Tartu County, Estonia
Lääne Harju, Estonia
Cēsis Municipality, Latvia
Trondheim Municipality, Norway
Federal State Bremen, Germany

The Project is co-financed by the EU Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme.
Total project budget is EUR 3,3 million, out of which EU co-funding is EUR 2,5 million.


 Link project homepage

01 January 2023 - 31 December 2025

Research Team:
Dr. rer. pol. Tina Schneider, Dipl. Geographie (Head of project)
M. A. Anna Burhorst