The 27th meeting of the Executive Board of the Union of the Baltic Cities was held on the 1 April 2000 in the City of Kemi, Finland, upon the invitation of Mr Juhani Leino, Mayor of Kemi.
The meeting was attended by the Members of the Executive Board and the Chairpersons of the Commissions. The list of participants is included as annex 1 to this report.
- Opening of the meeting and adoption of the Agenda.
The 27th meeting of the UBC Executive Board was opened by Mr Anders Engström, the President of the Union. Mr Engström greeted all participants and wished them a successful meeting.
Mr Juhani Leino, Mayor of Kemi, welcomed all delegates and wished them the fruitful discussions and a pleasant stay in Siauliai. Mr Leino made an overhead presentation introducing the City of Kemi and its surroundings.
- Election of two persons who, together with the President, will check the minutes.
Mr Aulis Laaksonen, Deputy Mayor of Pori and Mr Edvins Drigins, Deputy Executive Director, Liepāja, were elected to check the minutes.
- New Member Cities.
Secretary General Paweł Żaboklicki informed the Executive Board about the application for Union membership submitted by the city of Linköping, Sweden.
The Board decided to accept the city of Linköping as a Member of the Union of the Baltic Cities and wished Linköping a fruitful cooperation with other UBC member cities.
- Decision on 1st and 2nd Vice-President.
President Anders Engström reminded that since the beginning UBC had two equal Vice-Presidents. At its last meeting the Board decided that it should be determined who of the Vice-Presidents shall be the first and who shall be the second vice-president.
Mr Armas Lahoniitty, Mayor of Turku, proposed Mr Eugenijus Gentvilas, Mayor of Klaipėda, to be a First Vice-President of the Union.
The Board decided that Mr Gentvilas shall serve as the 1st Vice-President and Mr Lahoniitty as the 2nd Vice-President of the Union.
- UBC Internal Regulations.
The President reminded that at the last Executive Board meeting held in November 1999 in Šiauliai the Board decided to postpone the adoption of Internal Regulations as representative of the city of Rostock expressed the wish to include three amendments to the version of the document adopted by the Board in Tartu. Rostock was asked to submit written proposals to the Board in Kemi. Mr Engström concluded that proposal submitted by Rostock include a number of amendments, in many cases the details. Mr Audun Øiestad, Bergen, proposed to adopt the document prepared in Tartu so the Union organs will have clear rules how to work. He also proposed that the Secretariat and Presidium shall go through Rostock proposals and prepare a written proposal to the Board.
The Board decided to adopt the Internal Regulations, the document is enclosed as annex 3. The Board asked the Secretariat and the Presidium to analyse Rostock proposals and prepare a written proposal to the next Board meeting.
- UBC Action Plan.
President Anders Engström reminded at the last meeting the Board authorised the Presidium, the Secretary General and the UBC EU Coordinator to prepare, in cooperation with the Commissions, the draft of the UBC Action Plan 2000-2001. Mr Engström presented the first draft of the Action Plan. The Action Plans concerns the following organs of the Union: Executive Board, Presidium, Commissions, networks, working groups, secretariat. All activities shall take into account the following guidelines: sustainable development (Local Agenda 21), EU enlargement process, involvement of young people, gender equality. The part of the Action Plan concerning Commissions is based on the Commission Action Plans 2000-2001. After Mr Engström's introduction the Board discussed the contents of the first draft of the Action Plan. Finally the President proposed to send out the first draft of the Action Plan for comments to the Commission and networks chairpersons and to adopt the Action Plan at the next Executive Board meeting.
The Board decided the first draft of the Action Plan shall be send out for comments to the Commission and network chairpersons. The Board authorised the Secretary General and UBC EU Coordinator to include Commissions and networks comments and prepare revised document for the next Board meeting.
- Financial report from 1999 and adjusted budget for 2000.
Mr Paweł Żaboklicki, Secretary General, submitted UBC financial report for 1999. Mr Żaboklicki underlined that all member cities paid their membership fees and the financial position of the Union is stable. The financial report displays UBC incomes, expenditure, table with membership fees, expenditure of the Commissions, costs of the secretariats and UBC projects with external funding. Subsequently Mr Żaboklicki presented the adjusted version of UBC budget for the year 2000. UBC budget 2000-2001 was adopted by the V General Conference in Stockholm in September 1999. The financial report from 1999 and adjusted budget for 2000 are enclosed as annex 4.
The Board took note of the financial report for 1999 and adopted the adjusted budget for 2000.
- Cooperation with LVRLAC.
President Engström recalled that Swedish International Development Agency requested UBC to transfer the know-how to the Lake Victoria Region Local Authorities Cooperation. Following his and Mr Jokinen's visit to Victoria Lake region in November 1999, the President informed that in April, the Secretary General and UBC-EU Coordinator will go to Uganda in order to work out the document indicating the areas of cooperation between UBC and LVRLAC. The document will be signed in May in Uganda by the Presidents of both organisations. Cooperation will consist of joint projects, seminars/courses, study tours for civil servants from Victoria Lake cities in the Baltic Sea cities. All project costs are covered by SIDA. SIDA's remuneration for the UBC EU Coordinator's work within the project will be transferred to the UBC budget. Mr Engström asked the Board for the authorisation to sign the agreement on cooperation with the LVRLAC.
The Board authorised the President to sign the agreement on cooperation with the LVRLAC.
- Report from the meeting Presidium-Commissions.
President Engström informed the Board, that the day before the Executive Board meeting the Presidium met the chairpersons and coordinators of UBC Commissions in order to discuss the ways of work in the future. The leaders of seven out of nine UBC Commissions were present. Participants discussed inter alia the following issues: UBC steering documents, guidelines for Commissions work, decentralisation of responsibilities, Commission secretariats, UBC Action Plan. The meeting was described both by the Presidium and the Commission chairpersons as very useful - the participants expressed an opinion that such meetings shall be held regularly once a year. The report from the Presidium-Commissions meeting is enclosed in annex 5.
- Report from the meeting of Commissions chairpersons.
Mr Risto Veivo, UBC Environmental Coordinator, reported from the first meeting of the Commissions chairpersons which was organised in association with the Executive Board meeting in Kemi. The meeting was attended by the leaders of the Commissions on: Business Cooperation, Culture, Environment, Health & Social Affairs, Sport, Tourism, Transportation and the coordinator of UBC Women's Network. The leaders of the Commissions exchanged experiences and ideas on the activities, structure and ways of work of respective Commissions. The Commission chairpersons expressed opinion that such internal meetings are beneficial to all Commissions and should be held systematically. The report from the meeting of Commission chairpersons is enclosed in annex 5.
- Barents Euro-Arctic Region - potential fields for cooperation.
Mr Rune Rafaelsen, Project Manager in Barents Secretariat, made a presentation introducing the Barents Euro-Arctic Region. The Barents Council was established on 11 January 1993 by the foreign ministers of Finland, Norway, Sweden and Russia. The purpose of the Barents Euro-Arctic Cooperation is to secure stability and progress in the area and in Europe as a whole. Presentation of Rafaelsen is enclosed as annex 6.
The Board expressed its thanks to Mr Rafaelsen for attending the UBC Executive Board meeting and introducing the cooperation in the Barents Region. The Board authorised the Secretariat, the 2nd Vice-President and the city of Kemi to discuss with the Barents Secretariat in which areas it could be beneficial to exchange information and experiences between our organisations.
- Report from UBC EU Coordinator.
Mr Juhan Janusson, UBC EU Coordinator, informed the Board, that the President set up a working group to work out a programme for cooperation between local and regional authorities in the Baltic Sea Region. Mr Janusson presented the document describing the initiative, prepared by the working group. The working title of the document is "BSIC - Baltic Subnational Initiative for Cooperation". The programme should be financed by Interreg III strand B and shall consist of a bundle of projects, managed in the BSR. The project sizes shall vary between 50.000 and 200.000 Euro. The Board fully supported the initiative and authorised the working group to continue its work. Furthermore Mr Janusson reported from his latest visit to Brussels and from the EU Coordinators Network meeting in Tartu.
- Proposals from cities and commissions.
- Proposal from the Commission on Environment.
- European Sustainable Cities & Towns Campaign
In the UBC Local Agenda Action Program 2000-2002 adopted by the General Conference in Stockholm in September 1999 it is stated that UBC should continue its active cooperation on sustainable development at the European level. Having in mind above the Commission on Environment proposes that UBC should apply for the membership in the Coordinating Committee of the European Sustainable Cities and Towns Campaign.
The Board decided that UBC should apply for the membership in the Coordinating Committee of the ESCTC and delegated the Commission on Environment (and Agenda 21) Secretariat in Turku to take necessary practical measures.
- Update on UBC LA21 Action Program
The Commission informed that the project on demonstration areas of sustainable development, led by the city of Nacka, is to be added to the actions of UBC Local Agenda Action program 2000-2002. The Board was also informed that the last meeting of the UBC Local Agenda 21 working group was held in the city of Riga on 16-18 March 2000.
- European Sustainable Cities & Towns Campaign
- Proposal from the Commission on Culture.
- Contemporary Art Biennial N.E.W.S
Commission on Culture asked the Board to allocate extra 5.000 $ from the UBC budget for the exhibition Baltic Contemporary Art Biennial N.E.W.S to be held in Riga in May 2000.
Having in mind that the organisers of the exhibition already received 5.000 $ from the UBC in 1999, the Board decided to reject the application.
- 2nd International Choir Festival in Szczecin
Commission on Culture asked for the UBC patronage over the 2nd International Choir Festival to be held in Szczecin on 9-11 June 2000, in association with the fourth annual meeting of the Commission. The festival attracts choirs from all Baltic Sea countries.
The Board decided to give UBC patronage over the 2nd International Choir Festival to be held in Szczecin.
- Contemporary Art Biennial N.E.W.S
- Flag of Aland.
The City of Mariehamn asked the flag of Aland to be included in all UBC publications that include flags of the Baltic Sea countries. Aland is an autonomous island within the state of Finland.
The Board agreed to Mariehamn's proposal.
- Application from the Commission on Urban Planning.
The Commission on Urban Planning asked the Board to allocate extra 5.000 EUR for the Commission activities in 2000, in order to support the participation of representatives of eastern cities in the events to be organised by the Commission.
The Board reminded that all Commissions have 5.000 EUR earmarked in the UBC budget for 2000. The Board concluded that extra resources for Commission activities are not available.
- Proposal from the Commission on Environment.
- Information on SAIL project.
Secretary General Paweł Żaboklicki informed the Board that the SAIL (Spreading Awareness to foster the Implementation of LA 21 around the Baltic Sea) project has been completed. The project was financed by BSPF EU program, 100.000 EUR from PHARE (applicant - UBC Secretariat) and 60.000 EUR from TACIS (applicant - City of Lahti). The project consisted of 10 seminars for the LA21 coordinators and municipal decision makers from cities in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia. The project produced information materials (manuals) on Local Agenda 21 in five national languages of countries mentioned above.
The Board expressed its satisfaction with the outcomes of the SAIL project.
- Information on UBC website.
Secretary General Paweł Żaboklicki reminded that during the last General Conference in Stockholm President Anders Engström agreed with the Chairman of Szczecin City Council, that city of Szczecin will take over UBC homepage from the city of Kalmar. Following this agreement the UBC homepage have been transferred from Kalmar to Szczecin in February 2000. In March 2000 the webmaster started to update the homepage with the information sent from the secretariat.
The Board emphasised the importance of professional internet service and expressed gratitude to the city of Szczecin for maintaining the UBC homepage.
- Reports from the conferences attended by Union's representatives.
The following delegates submitted reports from the conferences where they represented the Union of the Baltic Cities:
- CBSS CSO Meetings, Oslo 15 December 1999 and Brussels 8 February 2000 - reported by Anders Engström
- Ministerial Meeting on Trade and Investment, Bergen, 8 February 2000 - reported by Erling Winter
- 3rd European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns, Hannover, 9-12 February 2000 - reported by Eugenijus Gentvilas
- VASAB 2010 Seminar in Vilnius, 14-15 February 2000 - reported by Anders Engström on behalf of Lars Malmborg
- Seminar on Public Transport, Gdańsk, 2-3 March 2000 - reported by Paweł Żaboklicki, Risto Veivo and Juhan Janusson
The Board took note of the reports.
- Questions raised at the meeting.
Mr Anders Engström informed that the Swedish Sailing Club would like to use UBC network to initiate contacts between the sailing clubs from Baltic cities. They would also like to publish a book introducing marinas and small harbours in Baltic cities. The Board was positive to this idea.
President Engström informed that the Presidium decided to allocate funding for the Commission secretariats in 2000 as follows: Environment 10.000 EUR, Health & Social Affairs 5.000 EUR, Tourism 5.000 EUR. The city of Klaipėda will receive 2000 EUR for the video film about the Baltic Sea region; the film will be also sponsored by UNESCO with 35.000 $.
Mr Juhan Janusson informed that Nordic Council of Ministers proposed UBC to organise jointly a seminar in Klaipėda on maritime cross border cooperation in the end of 2000.
The Board supported the idea.
Mrs Lillian Westerberg, Stockholm, informed about the Baltic Tourism Destination Project launched by Stockholm and St.Petersburg. The aim of the project is to promote the Baltic Sea region as a tourist destination. The project will inter alia coordinate a joint Baltic cities exhibition at the EIBTM tourist fair in Geneva in May.
Mr Mikko Jokinen, Turku, informed about the on-going discussion on the future location of Baltic 21 secretariat. At present the Baltic 21 secretariat is located in Stockholm in the same premises as CBSS secretariat. There are three options: the secretariat will remain in Stockholm; the secretariat will be moved to Helsinki and will be located together with HELCOM; the secretariat will be split between Sweden and Finland. Mr Jokinen notified the Board that Mr Guldbrand Skjönberg from Nacka will replace him as UBC representative in the Baltic 21 Senior Officials Group. Mr Jokinen also informed that he's been appointed as member of the EU Expert Group on Sustainable Landuse, as representative of the local level. During one year the group will work on the development of EU policy concerning sustainable landuse.
Mrs Karin Wohlgemuth, Rostock, informed that the preliminary programme of the VI UBC General Conference in 2001 has been already prepared. Mrs Wohlgemuth handed over the programme to the presidium. Mrs Wohlgemuth proposed the preliminary conference fee DM 350. The Board praised Rostock for the early start of preparations to the General Conference 2001. The Board approved preliminary conference fee DM 350. The Board confirmed that, as usual, the General Conference announcements can be published in UBC bulletin.
- Next Meeting of the Executive Board.
Following an invitation from Mr Vladimir Yakovlev, Governor of St. Petersburg, the next meeting of the UBC Executive Board will be held in St. Petersburg, on 16-18 June 2000.
- Closing of the Meeting.
Mr Anders Engström expressed his thanks to all participants for the fruitful meeting and to the City of Kemi for its warm hospitality and closed the 27th Meeting of the Executive Board of the Union of the Baltic Cities.
Mr Anders Engström - Chairman
Mr Paweł Żaboklicki - Secretary
Mr Aulis Laaksonen - Adjuster
Mr Edvins Drigins - Adjuster