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All over the world, the main aim of the political and administrative body in cities in democratic countries is to cater for the well-being of its citizens and for the future generations. This aim is similar for all democratic cities, regardless of size, location, wealth or importance.

The aim takes concrete shape in a wide variety of different activities and responsibilities. These are very close to the everyday life of the citizens and basically similar all over the world, with some national differences. Cities are responsible for schools, social services, water supply, waste handling, street management and much more, and is also responsible for spatial, economic and strategic planning of the city for the benefit of future generations.

With this background, it is natural for city management and political leadership to meet and share experiences and to act together in order to reach common goals. The aim of UBC is to be such a meeting place for cities in the Baltic Sea Region, to carry out activities together with other cities and to be an instrument to express the views, problems and political aims of cities.

UBC has fulfilled that role in the Baltic Sea Region since 1991 and can therefore celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2001. During these ten years, UBC has grown from 32 to 100 member cities. Much of the practical work is carried out in the UBC Commissions, and in addition there are several temporary and ordinary networks and working groups, all together involving several hundreds of committed politicians and officials in our member cities.

When UBC started, the Iron Curtain had just fallen. Now the Baltic Sea Region is one of the most promising in Europe in terms of stable economic, political and environmental development. In a foreseeable future, the Baltic Sea will almost be an Inland Sea of the European Union.

I look back on these bygone 10 years with great pride, and I am certain that the next ten years will be as interesting and filled with events. UBC will continue to play an important role as a meeting-place and as a political platform for cities. I hope this brochure will give you a glimpse of the history of UBC, a little on the present days and some ideas on the future.

Anders Engström

UBC President 1991-2001

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