12th Executive Board meeting, Gdynia, 7-9 September 1995

12th Executive Board meeting, Gdynia, 7-9 September 1995

MINUTES FROM THE 12TH MEETING OF THE EXECUTIVE BOARD

OF THE UNION OF THE BALTIC CITIES

Gdynia, Poland, 7-9 September 1995

 

INTRODUCTION 

The 12th meeting of the Executive Board of the Union of the Baltic Cities was held on 7 - 9 September 1995 in Gdynia, Poland.

The Meeting was attended by the members of the Executive Board of the Union, representatives of Union's Working Commissions as well as invited guests.

The meeting was opened by Mr Anders Engström, the President of the Union.

Opening of the meeting and adoption of the agenda.

The Meeting adopted the agenda.

Information on ongoing International Exhibition of the Baltic Sea Region.

Ms Karolina Sudwoj (WTC Gdynia-Expo) reported on the ongoing Interbaltic'95 exhibition. She informed that the exhibition has been attended by the cities, companies and organizations from all Baltic countries, although the number of participants was relatively moderate, as it was the first display of this kind in the Baltic Sea region.

Ms Sudwoj expressed the hope that the next exhibition will gather even more representatives of the mentioned region and World Trade Center Gdynia-Expo is ready to be an organizer.

Decision:

The Board took note of the WTC Expo's proposal and will take it into account planning future exhibitions.

Election of two persons who, together with the president, will check the minutes.

Mr Carl Nielsen from Aarhus and Mr Peter Gavelin from Sundsvall were elected to check the minutes.

Work of the Commissions, projects related to the work of the Commissions.

Report from the Commission on Environment.

Mr Carl Nielsen, chairman of the Commission, reported on latest activities of the Commission regarding the realization of two projects - "Institutional Strengthening and Human Resources Development" and "Baltic Municipal Environmental Audits".

Report from the Commission on Social Affairs.

Dr. Ulrich Bauermeister and Ms Karin Wohlgemuth from Rostock presented the results of the Commission's work between April and September this year.

Report from the Commission on Transportation.

Mr Maciej Krzyżanowski, the chairman of the Commission reported on the latest Commission's activities concentrating on the Conference on Actual Problems of the Sea-Land Transportation Systems of the Baltic Sea Regions organized by the Commission in Gdańsk on 27-28 April 1995.

Mr Vitalij Shipov, Mayor of Kaliningrad informed the Board about the participation of the city of Kaliningrad in the RUSSTI project - an investigation of possibilities to set up short sea shipping and transport routes between North-Eastern and North-Western parts of Europe. The project is sponsored by the European Union (DG XVI) through the ECOS programme.

Additionally the Board discussed the problem of ports ownership and fully supported the opinion of Eastern cities that the ports should be owned by the municipalities. Such a situation would enable the UBC to help in the modernization of Baltic harbours and consequently in the development of the Baltic transportation system.

Report from the Commission on Culture.

Mr Sławomir Szafrański from Szczecin, chairman of the Commission presented report on Commission's activities since April 1995, focusing on the III International UBC Culture Festival -Szczecin'95 which started on the 11th of August and ends in September 1995. Mr Szafrański informed that the location of the next festival is still the open issue, but the city of Szczecin is willing to undertake the organization of this event.

Mr Ib Jensen (Copenhagen), coordinator of the Baltic Music Network programme, presented shortly the character of his organization's activities underlining the uncommercial aim of the cultural exchange. Mr Jensen addressed his speech to all the representatives of the Baltic Region who should not refuse to help the young artists from their and other Baltic cities.

Decision:

The Board gave its support to the activity of the Baltic Music Network and stressed that it is a very good example of the voluntary organization network in the Baltic Region.

Report from the Commission on Telecommunication.

Mr Raimonds Pavulitis (Riga) concentrated on three main issues described in the report of the Commission on Telecommunication, namely the access of all UBC member cities to the Internet, creation of the databases and the proposal of Mr Robert Lach (Gdańsk) to create V-SAT satellite telecommunication system and GIS (Geographical Information System) network between selected UBC member cities. The project shall be realized in cooperation with the United States Trade Development Agency and the intergovernmental programme VASAB 2010.

Decision:

The Board accepted the proposal and announced that the project implementation will largely depend on financing from the external sources due to considerably high costs of the project.

Report from the Commission on Sport.

Mr Zdzisław Urla reported from the first meeting of the Commission which took place in Gdynia the day before the Board Meeting. Mr Urla informed that he was elected as a chairman and Mr Björn Fries (Deputy Mayor of Karlskrona) as a deputy chairman of the Commission. Mr Urla announced that the secretariat assistance to the Commission on Sport will be provided by the city of Gdynia.

Decision:

The Board warmly accepted the report and wished the Commission on Sport successful and effective work.

Proposal to create the UBC Commission on Tourism.

Having in mind an Article 2 a) of UBC Statue stating that the Union shall: "Seek a systematic exchange of experience between member Cities in their common fields of interest, and organize meetings, exhibitions, scientific and popular sessions, as well as other events to popularize achievements of the individual member Cities", Mr Anders Engström put forward a proposal to create the UBC Commission on Tourism. The establishment of this Commission was the idea of two cities - Kalmar and Rēzekne which are proposed at the same time to be the lead-cities of the Commission.

Decision:

The Board accepted the proposal and recommended the General Conference to officially approve creation of the Commission on Tourism.

Moreover the Board advised Commission on Tourism to collaborate closely with the Baltic Tourism Cooperation (BTC).

Report from the meeting of Working Group.

According to the decision of XI Executive Board Meeting in Vilnius, President of the Union, Mr Anders Engström appointed the working group consisting of Board Members and Commissions Chairmen to discuss the work of the Union. The Working Group met on 7th of September 1995 in Gdynia.

The discussion concentrated on the following issues:

A. Actualization of UBC Statute.

The Working Group stressed that there is no need to make radical changes in the Statute. The aims compiled in the Statute are still actual and the Union through its work effectively realizes its objectives.
The Group suggested the General Conference to make an amendment in the Statute to empower the Executive Board to decide upon the creation of new working commissions. In this way interested cities will be able to start the work on proposed field, not waiting until the next General Conference.

B. Evaluation of the work of the UBC organs - General Conference, Executive Board, Working Commissions, the Secretariat.

The Working Group evaluated the work of the mentioned UBC bodies underlining the efficiency of the work of most UBC Commissions and UBC Secretariat in Gdańsk in particular.
As regards the organizational statue of the Commissions, the Group approved the present system, where each Commission decides individually on its organization model.

C. External sources of financing for UBC projects. Mr Juhan Janusson from Baltic Consultation submitted a report on EU Development Programmes with respect of their accessibility for UBC projects.

Mr Janusson concluded that most of the Programmes are not available for UBC as international organization and UBC should influence EU Commission to change this situation.
The Group suggested the UBC should undertake regular contacts with EU officials in order to promote and lobby UBC activities within European Union. The Union should utilize for these purposes existing offices of several UBC member cities in Brussels. It was also stressed that UBC must encourage European Commission to launch as soon as possible the Baltic Sea Development Programme.

D. New possible areas of cooperation.The Group discussed the possible fields of future cooperation between the cities.
It was concluded that UBC might extend in the near future its activity on such fields as:
- Business Contacts Promotion,
- Local Democracy Development,
- Health,
- Energy,
- City Planning.

As regards the field of business promotion the Group proposed to organize a special meeting on the occasion of Hansa Business Days in Tampere in March 1996 to discuss how UBC member cities together with business organizations could support and strengthen business contacts between Baltic countries.

In the field of the city planning Mr Jussi Kauto from Helsinki stressed the necessity to establish regular contacts between the city planners from UBC member cities, in coordination with intergovernmental programme VASAB 2010. Mr Kauto was authorized to initiate the contacts between the member cities in question.

Finally, the Working Group underlined the necessity to work out a Marketing Strategy of the Union. Ms Sonja Hilavuo, representative of the city of Tampere offered to take the responsibility over the elaboration of such strategy.

Decision:

The Board approved the proposals put forward by the Working Group and authorized the Group to continue its work.

III UBC General Conference, Aarhus, Denmark, 8-9 December 1995 - status of preparation.

Mr Carl Nielsen (Aarhus) gave a brief description of the Conference programme and informed about the organizational arrangements. Mr Nielsen reminded that "Unemployment and social issues" will be a head theme of the Conference and the first day of the meeting will be subordinated to these questions. The second day will be related to internal UBC matters such as reports, elections etc.

Mr Paweł Żaboklicki informed that all member cities have already received a preliminary announcement about the conference and the final invitation will be soon sent out.

New UBC Member Cities.

The meeting was attended by Mrs Rosita Meyer - representative of the City of Kiel. On behalf of the city authorities Mrs Meyer expressed the wish of the city of Kiel to become a full member of the Union of the Baltic Cities. Mrs Meyer assured the Board that relevant application along with Kiel City Council decision declaring the will to join the UBC shall be provided to the Union Secretariat before the General Conference in Aarhus.

Decision:

The Board warmly welcomed the decision of the City of Kiel to join soon the Union of the Baltic Cities.

Furthermore the Board once again discussed the case of the city of Bremen which since UBC creation in 1991 has not paid any membership fee. President Engström informed that according to the decision of XI Executive Board Meeting in Vilnius he has sent a letter to the Mayor of Bremen informing that if Bremen wants to maintain as UBC member, it must pay annual fee like all other cities. Mr Engström has not received any response to his letter. Mr Michael Bouteiller, Vice-President of the Union and Mayor of Lübeck proposed that he will contact personally Mr Henning Scherf, the Mayor of Bremen to definitely clarify the Bremen's position.

Decision:

The Board accepted a proposal from Mr Bouteiller and authorized him to undertake relevant action in question.

Information from the Secretary.

Mr Paweł Żaboklicki, the Secretary of the Union submitted report on UBC income in 1995 (status on 6.09.1995).

Total income: 188.014,61 PLN (87.000 USD)

Mr Żaboklicki informed that 51 cities have paid the membership fees and 4 cities requested to postpone their payment until the end of the year, these are Kaunas, Liepāja, Rēzekne and St. Petersburg. The city of Bremen has not paid the membership fee.

Decision:

The Board accepted the report.

Other matters.

Reports from conferences and meetings attended by Union's representatives.

  • Hansa Business Days, Karlskrona, 11-12 May 1995.

Mr Anders Engström informed that the event was organized by the Baltic Sea Chamber of Commerce Association and consisted of market places and seminars. Mr Engström took part in the panel discussion about the future of the Baltic Sea region.

  • The 2nd Baltic Sea Conference, Norrköping, 18-20 May 1995.

President Anders Engström reported from the Conference where he was one of the key-speakers and submitted a presentation titled "Local Environmental Initiatives" describing UBC activities in the field of environmental protection.

  • 4th Ministerial Session of CBSS, Gdańsk, 18-19 May 1995.

Mr Engström presented a brief report from the Conference, where he was representing the Union along with the Secretary. President Engström was one of the speakers and using this opportunity he applied for the financial support from CBSS to strengthen Union activities with 80.000 USD per year in 1996 and 1997. Mr President informed that the answer to UBC application is expected very soon. Mr Engström underlined the importance of UBC good relations with the Council of the Baltic Sea States in order to have the governmental assistance for UBC activities.

  • 2nd Plenary Session of Council of Europe's CLRAE, Strasbourg, 30 May - 1 June 1995.

Mr Paweł Żaboklicki submitted a report from the Conference and briefly informed the Board about the structure and the aims of Council of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe where the Union has an observer status.

The Secretary also informed that at the Conference he had talks with the representative of International Union of Local Authorities on possibilities to join IULA by UBC. Mr Żaboklicki provided the Board with official letter from IULA describing the conditions UBC must fulfill to join IULA.

Decision:

The Board authorized the President and the Secretary to investigate whether UBC accession to IULA shall be of profit for the Union.

Information from the President about forthcoming conferences.

Mr Anders Engström informed the Board about major forthcoming conferences where the Union shall be represent and will submit presentations or statements:

- 4th Parliamentary Conference on cooperation within Baltic Sea area, Rønne, Denmark, 12-13 September 1995

- Regiones ad Mare Balticum - Forum'95, Bornholm (Denmark)-South East Scania (Sweden), 13-16 September 1995

- EUROCITIES East/West Seminar, Gdańsk, Poland, 22-23 September 1995

- 3rd Conference on Baltic Sea States Subregional Cooperation, Västeras, Sweden, 8-9 November 1995

1000th Anniversary of the City of Gdańsk "997-1997" - status of preparations.

Mr Andrzej Jankowski, Secretary of the City of Gdańsk, reminded all participants of the meeting that the city of Gdańsk will celebrate in 1997 the 1000th anniversary of its \recorded history and will commemorate it by organizing a number of remarkable events. Programme of all scheduled events is being coordinated by the special Organizing Committee of Gdańsk 1000th set up in accordance with City Council decision. One of such events will be European St. Dominic's Fair combined with the presentation of achievements, culture, art etc. of Hanseatic and Baltic cities. This special year will be also the occasion to organize the next General Conference of the UBC in Gdańsk.

Conference for social offices in UBC member cities, Copenhagen, 6-9 June 1996.

Mr Michael Bouteiller, Mayor of Lübeck put forward a proposal to organize jointly with the organization called Social-Hansa the conference for the representatives of employment and social offices in UBC member cities in Copenhagen on 6-9 June 1996. Such meeting would be an excellent platform to exchange experiences on social and employment fields between the member cities.

Decision:

The Board expressed its support to this proposal and authorized Mr Bouteiller to undertake further contacts with Social Hansa with respect to conference organization.

Project on Social Welfare - status of realization.

Mr Mikael Daxberg from Kalmar presented shortly the current stage of the realization of "Social Welfare Project".

II International UBC Women's Conference, Sundsvall, 6-8 October 1995 - status of preparation.

Mr Peter Gavelin from Sundsvall explained the absence of Mrs Hjördis Höglund, the main organizer of the forthcoming Women's Conference, due to the fact that Mrs Höglund at the same time was attending 4th World Women Conference in Beijing. Mr Gavelin informed that organizationally the City of Sundsvall is fully prepared to host the Conference.

Ms Antonina Maidak from Kaliningrad expressed the hope that this conference will be attended by women - decision makers from the cites, able to put the conference results into practice.

Seminars on public transport in Lithuanian cities - report on present status.

Mr Juhan Janusson, project manager, reported on the status of the project regarding the reorganization of the Lithuanian public transport. The start of the project is scheduled for January 1996. Mr Janusson informed that the project is to be financed by the Swedish Ministry of Communication and he is also investigating possibilities of project co-financing from the sources of ECOS/OUVERTURE programme.

Report on film project "The World of the Baltic Sea".

Ms Joanna Pacana from the film company "Video Studio Gdańsk" presented the report on the realization of the documentary series "The World of the Baltic Sea". She informed that the shots have been taken in a number of cities from Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Germany and Poland. The cities from the Baltic States and Russia will be visited by the film making team in September. The final realization of the series is expected in March 1996.

Ms Pacana on behalf of the "Video Studio Gdańsk" expressed thanks to the Union of the Baltic Cities which considerably contributed to the film realization helping the film making team with contacts, accommodation, transport, free access to the museums and other interesting sights in UBC member cities.

Decision:

The Board expressed its satisfaction with the cooperation with "Video Studio Gdańsk" and decided to utilize the produced film as a marketing instrument to promote Baltic Sea region.

Seminars on Technical Heritage 1995 & 1997.

Mr Waldemar Affelt from the Technical University of Gdańsk reported on the status of preparation to the International Seminar "Preservation of the Industrial Heritage - Gdańsk Outlook II", Gdańsk, 4-7 October 1995 to which the UBC gives its patronate. It will be the second seminar on this subject arranged by the Technical University of Gdańsk and because of the wide interest the third seminar titled "Preservation of the Engineering Heritage - Gdańsk Outlook III" will be organized in Gdańsk in 1997. Having in mind this opportunity Mr Affelt requested the Union of the Baltic Cities to maintain its patronate over the seminar in 1997.

Decision:

Following the request from the Technical University of Gdańsk the Board decided to extend UBC patronate over the seminar on Engineering Heritage in 1997.

New way of cultural networking.

Ms Kathrine Winkelhorn, Secretary General of the Organizing Committee Copenhagen'96 - Cultural Capital of Europe, presented the programme of cultural events planned to be organized in Copenhagen on this occasion. Ms Winkelhorn put forward the proposal to organize in 1996 in Copenhagen the Conference for the representatives of the Culture Departments from the City Halls of the member cities.

Decision:

The Board supported the proposal and authorized the Secretary to take further contacts with Copenhagen in question.

Other issues:

Mr Raimonds Pavulitis on behalf of the authorities of the cities of Aalborg and Riga informed the Board about activities of Aalborg-Riga Business Development Centre established in Riga for 3-year period in 1992. As the work of the centre has been extremely effective, it will continue its work for another 2-year period.

Next Meeting of the Executive Board.

Mr Anders Engström announced that the next meeting of the UBC Executive Board will take place in Aarhus, on the eve of the General Conference, namely on 7th December 1995.

Closing of the Meeting

The Chairman of the Meeting, Mr Anders Engström expressed his thanks to the City of Gdynia as well as to the WTC-Gdynia Expo for hosting the delegation and closed the XII Meeting of the Executive Board of the Union of the Baltic Cities.

Mr Anders Engström                                        Mr Carl Nielsen

Chairman                                                         Adjuster

Mr Paweł Żaboklicki                                         Mr Peter Gavelin

Secretary                                                       General Adjuster