64th Executive Board meeting, Rakvere, 24 May 2012

Minutes of the 64th Meeting of the Executive Board
Rakvere, 24 May 2012
 
 
The 64th meeting of the Executive Board of the Union of the Baltic Cities was held on 24 May 2012 in Rakvere, Estonia, upon the invitation of Andres Jaadla, Mayor of Rakvere, UBC Vice-President. The meeting was attended by the members of Executive Board, delegates of Estonian member cities, representatives of three commissions, invited guests.  The list of participants is attached to the minutes.
 
1.            Opening of the meeting and adoption of the agenda.
 
The meeting was opened by Per Bødker Andersen, President of the Union. Mr Andersen expressed his gratitude to the hosts for inviting the UBC Executive Board to hold the meeting in Rakvere. The meeting adopted the agenda, attached to the minutes.
 
2.            Election of two persons who, together with the President, will check the minutes.
                                                                                                                                                                
Andres Jaadla,  Mayor of Rakvere, UBC Vice-President and Piotr Grzelak, Councillor, City of Gdańsk, were elected to check the minutes together with the President.
 
3.            Application for membership, Arendal, Norway.
 
Arendal is the administrative center of East-Agder county and belongs to the geographical region of Sørlandet. With approximately 42 000 inhabitants, Arendal is the tenth largest town in Norway. Founded on the industries of shipping, forestry and mining, the town now has a largely tourism-based economy, due to its location, climate and resources for recreational boaters and holiday makers. Approximately 150,000 people visit the town during the summer season.
 
Decision:
The Board decided to accept Arendal as a member of the Union of the Baltic Cities and wished Arendal a successful cooperation with other UBC member cities.
 
4.            Developing a Smart city - concepts and solutions.
 
4.1          Presentation by the city of Rakvere, Andres Jaadla, Mayor of Rakvere.
 
The city of Rakvere is the administrative, economic and cultural centre of Lääne-Viru county. The city is situated 98 km from Tallinn and inhabited by 17.000 people.
 
The Mayor presented the projects and actions carried out by the municipality, e.g. project Innocere, improving quality of life and safety of elderly citizens.
 
Mr Jaadla  informed that the city is a signatory to the Covenant of Mayors. All street lights and municipal buildings in Rakvere use Green Energy since June 2009. This brings 13% reduction of CO2.
 
The city also develops an idea of the Smart House in Rakvere. It will be the first intelligent building in Estonia, planned to be built till the summer 2014. It’s a common initiative by Estonian universities, some entrepreneurs, City of Rakvere and other municipalities in the region of North Estonia. There is a research group, where different innovations will be tested. The existing old building will be developed into a Smart House with smart solutions providing and guaranteeing energy efficiency. The City Government plans to move there.
 
In this project there are two goals. First – the renovation of the old building in a sustainable way. The other aim is building a new part with nearly zero energy standard, according to the directives of the European Commission for 2018. The house will be smart but also environmentally friendly, with a smart heating using wind and solar power and the ground heat.  The smart construction process is made with using OPEN BIM Program, which means reduced cost and time spent on a building projects, getting results with less faults, reduction of facility management and operational costs. The Municipality also created a place on the Internet - rakvere.stickyworld.com for the inhabitants of Rakvere to write their comments on the Smart House.
 
4.2          Presentation by Siemens on behalf of the city of Turku, Lars Maura, Business Development
                “Making Cities Work – Sustainable Urban Infrastructure”
 
Cities, the engines of development, facing different challenges have to balance between sustainable development and the need to ensure economic competitiveness and to provide good place for living. Except for policies, it’s also technology that helps to solve the problems. 
 
Mr Maura presented examples of cooperation with cities:

  •  “Smart Building in a Smart Grid” where the difference between day and night energy consumption is utilised
  • Hyllie - a district of the city of Malmö - technical solutions and systems integration of smart grid for electricity, heating and cooling, with the role of consumers, controlling their own energy consumption
  • In Sello Shopping Mall - increasing the energy efficiency by optimising ventilation and air conditioning system
  • London – project improving  the transportation network and services, helped to reduce the congestion and to improve the air quality
  • Vienna - “Mobility Card“ - one access to the public transport, enabling utilisation of different modes of transportation
  • Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, the world’s first CO2-neutral city

 
Siemens has also a vast cooperation with the city of Turku, with a vision to make Turku a best-practice example for sustainable development in mid-sized cities. The collaboration is in infrastructure development projects. The results are concept papers, studies, reports etc.
 
5.            Activity reports from the UBC Commissions.
 
Commissions on Local Safety, Transportation, Youth Issues presented activity reports for the period October 2011 – May 2012 as well as plans for the second half of 2012.
Main activities of above mentioned commissions in the reporting period:
 
Commission on Local Safety
4th Meeting of the Commission, 20-21 October 2011 in Nacka
5th Meeting of the Commission, 24-25 May 2012 in Tallinn
Application for two projects:
- Building security networks for municipalities
- Best Practice Conferenceand EuropeanCrimePreventionAward
SAFE & COOL project was launched on 6 March 2012
 
Commission on Transportation
"Bike to School" Grant Competition 2011
European Road Safety Charter - articles in the UBC bulletin
Support for ABC.MULTIMODAL project
Survey on transport issues, 18 cities responded
”Revitalize the city for sustainability” -  Joint seminar with commissions on Urban Planning, Environment, Energy, Halmstad, 9-10 May 2012
 
Commission on Youth Issues
Meeting of the Commission, Kemi, 21-23 February 2012
Joint project “Life, Media, Participation – Youth in Baltic Sea Region” with 8 participating cities, 15-16 May 2012 - a preparatory meeting in Tallinn 
 
The commissions’ activity reports are attached to the minutes.
The Board thanked the commissions for their work and encouraged them to carry on efforts for the benefit of member cities.
 
6.            How to do the lobby work for the benefit of cities, ideas from the Brussels offices working group.
 
One of the goals set by the UBC Strategy is to strengthen the UBC presence in Brussels and enhance its lobbying capacity. There are many BSR cities/ regions offices in Brussels. UBC shall use their knowledge and potential. On 15 February 2012 the Board met the cities/ regions EU representations to discuss how to do the lobby work for the benefit of the UBC members. Sixteen EU representations took part in the meeting. As a follow-up, the working group consisting of Brussels offices was established to coordinate UBC activities in Brussels.
 
Ms Krista Taipale-Salminen, Head of Turku -Southwest Finland European Office presented ideas of the Brussels offices working group how to do the lobby work for the benefit of cities.
 
The working  group proposed to focus on the following policy areas:

  • EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and the role of cities
  • Urban policy and the role of cities
  • Smart Specialisation Strategies (3S)
  • The Covenant of Mayors
  • The Arctic dimension

 
The working group made following suggestions:

  • UBC member cities could build either a Baltic Covenant of Mayors city group or a Baltic Covenant of Mayors macro region
  • UBC could offer training in developing 3S for UBC cities’ regions  in collaboration with Brussels offices
  • Consider a 3S for the Baltic Sea Macro Region
  • Develop EU-roadmap for UBC-relevant EU-related issues and activities
  • Keep EU stakeholders updated about UBC positions and activities
  • Keep Brussels offices in the loop
  • Regular coordination meetings with Brussels offices
  • Networking event in Brussels
  • Offer UBC training on most relevant EU-topics for UBC

 
The Board thanked  Ms Taipale-Salminen and the working group of Brussels offices for their contribution and encouraged them to continue their important efforts in Brussels for the benefit of our member cities.
 
7.            Culture in harmony with nature - Centre for cultural initiatives in Chojnice.
 
Mr Michał Karpiak, Inspector, City of Chojnice, introduced the project.
The City of Chojnice is situated in the southern part of Pomeranian region, close to the National Park and Biosphere Reserve of UNESCO.
 
The planned Centre for Cultural Initiatives would be an attractive place for education and presentation of cultural heritage, as well as a place for organizing cultural activities (workshops, exhibitions, cinema, theatre etc). The relations between nature and culture - how nature influences culture and how nature can be influenced by culture – are in the focus of the project. The centre would serve the Pomerania and the whole BSR.
 
The city of Chojnice looks for partners for "small projects" in the field of theatre, dance, painting, pottery etc. The city would also like to start cooperation with cultural and research institutions and organizations, as well as universities.
 
Chojnice intend to apply to European Economic Area Financial Mechanism for project funding. Edward Pietrzyk, Deputy Mayor of Chojnice,  proposed to organize the Festival of the Baltic Cities or other UBC cultural events in Chojnice.
 
Mr Pietrzyk asked UBC to support the project.
 
Decision:
The Board decided to have the Commission on Culture express an opinion on the project.
 
 
 
 
8.            XII UBC General Conference, Mariehamn, 1-4 October 2013.
 
Secretary General Pawel Żaboklicki reminded the General Conferences so far consisted of two separate parts. Day one has been an open conference devoted to current challenges the Baltic Sea region is facing. Apart from the cities also international institutions and governments participate in open conference. Mr Zaboklicki said one of the potential themes could be smart innovative solutions for city development as discussed during morning session of the Board meeting in Rakvere.
The second conference day – the General Assembly – has been devoted to internal UBC matters such as reports, elections, finances etc.
 
The Board decided to re-activate the task force responsible for preparations of the General Conference. The President is authorised to appoint task force members. Task force is requested to provide proposals of theme(s) to be discussed at the GC by the next Board meeting in Koszalin, 4 October 2012.
 
9.            UBC Strategy.
 
Mikko Lohikoski, Strategy Coordinator, made a presentation on latest developments concerning UBC Strategy. The presentation is attached to the minutes.
 
9.1          Communication and Marketing Strategy.
On 14 February 2012 in Brussels the Board decided to adopt UBC Communication and Marketing Strategy. The Secretariat distributed the strategy to the member cities and published it on the UBC website.  A task force on implementing the strategy was formed.
 
14 participants from member cities, commissions, board of audit, secretariat took part in the first meeting of the task force held in Gdańsk on 17 April 2012 and discussed the ways of strategy implementation.
 
The next meeting of the task force is scheduled for September in Rostock. The TF shall prepare recommendations for strategy implementation before the autumn Board meeting (4 October, Koszalin).
 
9.2          Evaluation criteria of the commissions.
At the Board meeting in Brussels 14 February 2012 the common criteria for evaluation of the commissions’ work were presented.
 
After Brussels Board meeting the proposal of the evaluation criteria was sent out to the commissions and members cities for comments with the DL 15 May 2012.
 
Mikko Lohikoski , Strategy Coordinator, informed there had been some responses from the cities and commissions. He said there was no disagreement on the proposed criteria.
 
Decision:
The Board decided to adopt commissions’ evaluation criteria. The criteria are attached to the minutes.
The Presidium, together with the Secretariat, is requested to instruct in more detail about the practical implementation of this decision.
 
9.3          Expert exchange project – latest information.
Citizenship programme could have some suitable funding to start a pilot project on expert exchange, where 5-10 municipalities could attend (maximum project size around 40.000 €). The deadline for application is 1.9.2012. Cities of Turku and Jyväskylä jointly decided to prepare a project proposal and invite other interested cities to take part. Project initiator Jyväskylä informed that interested partners are invited to project preparation meeting to Turku on 7 June . During the proposed project it would be possible to organize for example one week study visits for experts as well as expert seminars. The project could be also used for trainings within new communication and marketing strategy and during the urban forums.
 
9.4          UBC task force.
Mr Lohikoski informed the last meeting of the task force was held in Turku on 20 April 2012. The task force had a discussion concerning: General Conference, Executive Board, Presidium, Secretariat, Commissions. The next meeting of the task force is scheduled in September in Rostock. The task force will submit suggestions to the Executive Board in 2013 before the General Conference in Mariehamn.
 
Gunars Ansins, Deputy Mayor of Liepāja, said that task force members (who are mostly civil servants) should consult all proposals with their mayors before task force report is finalised and submitted to the Executive Board.
 
The President underlined, that the Task Force has been established by the Board and must refer to the Board, making suggestions and recommendations. The Board is the only body to address the General Conference with its suggestions and recommendations based on the work of the Task Force.
 
The Board encouraged the task force to continue its work.
 
10.          Cooperation within Conference of European Cross-border and Interregional city Networks (CECICN).
 
President Andersen informed that in March he was unanimously elected as President of CECICN. The Conference of European Cross-border and interregional City Networks CECICN was born in 2010. Its objective is to boost territorial cooperation among border cities in Europe and to reinforce the message concerning the importance of territorial cooperation. CECICN gathers six cooperating networks that represent more than 500 cities in border regions and 37% of European population.
 
Mr Andersen informed about successful conversations that he held together with the Board of CECICN with various EU institutions on 2/3 May 2012 in Brussels.
 
These high-level talks had the following objectives:
•             Increase the awareness of CECICN at the European Union 
•             Discussion of our key ideas for future territorial cooperation in Europe
•             Promote conference in La Coruna in June 2012
•             Explore the possibilities of cooperation between the EU institutions and CECICN
 
President Andersen had the chance to discuss intensively with the President of the Committee of the Regions, Mercedes Bresso and Michel Delebarre, Chair of the Commission COTER and President of the Mission Opérationnelle Transfrontalière (MOT). In addition he could discuss our concerns with Normunds Popens, Deputy Director General for Regional Policy and Pierre Delsaux, Deputy Director General for Internal Market and Services. 
 
During talks CECICN had the chance to present the following demands:
•             Financing Territorial Cooperation in Cohesion Policy
•             Improving the strategic dimension of cooperation
•             Developing the tools for Territorial Cooperation
•             Contributing to the Single Market to overcome the economic crisis
 
President Andersen encouraged the member cities to participate in the 1st Congress on Smart Cooperation, to be held on 25/26 June 2012 in A Coruña (Spain). The aim is to discuss the key messages and goals and transmit them to the European Institutions. All participants will have the opportunity to transmit their position to the representatives of the European Institutions attending to the congress.
 
11.          Renewal of declaration of common interest between Committee of the Regions and five Baltic Sea organisations.
The document sets frames for cooperation between the Committee of the Regions and five Baltic Sea organisations namely BSSSC, B7 Islands, Euroregion Baltic, Euroregion Pomerania, UBC. The previous declaration has been signed four years ago and concerned the years 2008-2011.
The declaration highlights the following issues:

  • Involvement of expertise in selected areas of interest of the Committee of the Regions
  • Dialogue between the European Commission and the Associations of Regional and Local Authorities
  • Participation in conferences and other activities organised respectively
  • Joint activities in the field of communication and the mutual publicity of key events
  • Joint efforts to strengthen regional participation in the Northern Dimension
  • The development and realization of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region towards Europe 2020 Strategy: A common objective
  • Regional response to economic crisis

The declaration is attached to the minutes.
 
12.          Latest conferences attended by UBC representatives.
UBC was recently represented at the following conferences:

  • 94th Plenary Session of the Committee of the Regions, 15-16 February 2012, Brussels (Per Bødker Andersen, President of UBC)
  • V European Summit of Regions and Cities "The European urban fabric in the 21st century", Copenhagen, 22-23 March 2012 (Andres Jaadla, Vice President of UBC, Mayor of Rakvere, Paweł Żaboklicki, UBC Secretary General, Mikko Lohikoski, Strategy Coordinator)
  • Conference "The Baltic Sea region - from planning to common action", St. Petersburg, 21 March 2012 (Mikko Lohikoski, Strategy Coordinator)
  • Baltic Metropoles meeting, Helsinki, 11-13 April 2012  (Mikko Lohikoski, Strategy Coordinator)
  • 95th Plenary Session of the Committee of the Regions, 3-4 May 2012, Brussels (Per Bødker Andersen, President of UBC)

The Board took note of the information. Reports from the conferences are attached to the minutes.
 
13.          Any other business.
 
13.1       Baltic Cities Bulletin “Welfare and Health Promotion”.
The latest issue of the Baltic Cities Bulletin is entitled “ Welfare and Health Promotion”. The stories present the cities’ experience on how to increase and maintain the social welfare, security and participation in society. Many of the UBC members have their own local health strategies or programmes, numerous projects co-funded by the EU are implemented. There is a wide range of areas focused on, e.g. primary healthcare, health promotion, encouraging healthy lifestyles, reducing the use of addictive substances, social care, prevention work concerning cancer. More often the cities tackle the demographic challenge of the ageing society, initiating projects addressed at the seniors which main aim is to maintain their social involvement.
Moreover, the Bulletin brings the information on latest UBC meetings and activities, news from the member cities and more. The Bulletin was published in 3800 copies, printing cost ca. 1680 EUR, posting ca. 2600 EUR.
 
14.          Next 65th UBC Executive Board, Koszalin, 4 October 2012.
 
The Board received an invitation from the Mayor of Koszalin, Poland, to hold the meeting in Koszalin on 4 October 2012. The Board accepted the invitation and decided to hold the 65th meeting in Koszalin on 4 October 2012.
 
 
 
Per Bødker Andersen                                                                                           Paweł Żaboklicki
Chairperson                                                                                                         Secretary
 
 
Andres Jaadla                                                                                                     Piotr Grzelak
Adjuster                                                                                                             Adjuster
 
 

64th Executive Board meeting, Rakvere, 24 May 2012