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XI UBC General Conference succesfully carried out in Liepāja


Over 200 participants from 76 member cities, including mayors, city officials, experts and representatives of other organizations, gathered at the 11th General Conference of the Union of the Baltic Cities. On 5-6 October 2011 in Liepāja, Latvia, the Union celebrated the 20th anniversary of its foundation in Gdańsk on 20 September 1991.

Much has happened since UBC creation in 1991. The Baltic Sea region has been an arena of spectacular changes. From the region divided for 45 years by the iron curtain, it transformed into an area of vast cooperation. The theme of the conference was  'Building on the past, heading for the future'. Reference to the past should be, however, a stepping-stone to the discussion about the future.

The first plenary session brought an outlook on what happened during last 20 years from the cold war to the present cooperation and what can happen during the next 10-20 years.

Ms Catharina Sørensen, representing European Commission DG Regio, presented  the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region: A New Framework for Joint Action.

A historical perspective of the BSR development was in focus in the speech of Mr Jerzy Marek  Nowakowski, Ambassador of Poland to the Republic of Latvia, entitled “Baltic Sea Region: From Cold War to Arena of Cooperation”.

Mr Igor Lonsky, Deputy Chairman - Head of the International Cooperation Department of the Committee for external relations of Saint-Petersburg, was speaking about the future prospects for the Baltic Sea cooperation.

Challenges and possibilities for economic cooperation in the BSR was presented by Mr  Martti Kohtanen, CEO of Siemens Finland, a strategic partner of the Baltic Development Forum.

The second plenary session highlighted the cities’ role, their expectations, interests, etc. Ms Marie-Louise Rönnmark, Mayor of Umeå, 1st Vice-President of UBC  and Ms Urve Tiidus, City of Kuressaare, former Mayor, Member of the Parliament of Estonia, delivered interesting speeches presenting the cities’ point of view.

The youth representative, Mr Pavels Jurs, Director of Liepāja Youth Centre, listed several ideas on how to involve young people in the UBC work.

The second conference day started with the inspiring workshops covering three crucial issues our societies are facing:

- How to strengthen economic attractiveness of cities;

- How to master climate change; success factors in local integrated climate management;

- How to meet the demographic challenge; the ageing society.

The competent experienced speakers stimulated interactive discussions with cities’ delegates.

The second day was also devoted to the internal UBC matters, such as reports, elections, finances, etc. The new Executive Board was elected and now Gdańsk (Poland), Jyväskylä  (Finland), Keila (Estonia), Kristiansand (Norway), Liepāja (Latvia), Næstved (Denmark), Šiauliai (Lithuania), Rostock (Germany), St. Petersburg (Russia), Växjö (Sweden) are the Board members during the next period.

Mr Per Bødker Andersed was re-elected as the President. Ms Marie-Louise Rönnmark, Umeå, will hold the position of the 1st UBC Vice-President, whereas Mr Jarkko Virtanen, Turku, and Mr Andres Jaadla, Rakvere will be the Vice-Presidents. Gdańsk will serve as a host city of the UBC Secretariat.

Also, the Board of Audit and the Auditor were elected.

The Medieval Week on Gotland and the Punk Song Festival in Rakvere shared the UBC Cultural Prize 2011.

The Conference approved the creation of the UBC Commission on Local Safety. 

The next  XII UBC General Conference will be held in Mariehamn in 2013.

Further information:

UBC Secretariat
Wały Jagiellońskie 1
80-853 Gdańsk, Poland
Tel. +48 583010917
        +48 583019123
Fax: +48 583017637
E-mail: info@ubc.net

Last modified: 01.12.2011 14:53
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