UBC General Conference called for tackling populism and adopted a resolution on sustainable development goals

The XIV Union of the Baltic Cities General Conference, held on 24–27 October in Växjö, Sweden, called for tackling populism and Euroscepticism. The General Conference also adopted a resolution on United Nations Agenda 2030 for sustainable development goals.

Photos of the conference are available in UBC Flickr.

Nearly 300 high-level politicians, city officials, other experts and youth participated in the XIV Union of the Baltic Cities (UBC) General Conference in Växjö, Sweden, on 24–27 October 2017. The conference adopted an appeal “Tackling Rising Populism and Euroscepticism” and “UBC Resolution on United Nations Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development Goals”.

The theme of the XIV General Conference was “Leadership for the Future – Cities as Leaders for Glocal Sustainable Development”. Questions and issues tackled at the conference included leadership and cities pioneering in various fields of life, such as promoting digital start-up ecosystems, as well as preventing youth marginalization and fighting climate change.

The conference also held the 25th Anniversary session of the UBC, founded in 1991 in Gdańsk. In addition, the General Conference featured a strong involvement of over 60 youth representatives accross the Baltic Sea Region, who gave their ideas for solutions to the common issues and problems affecting the whole region.

The next UBC General Conference will be held in 2019 in Kaunas, Lithuania.

Appeal on Tackling Rising Populism and Euroscepticism

In the face of the fundamental challenges that Europe has to encounter today, such as the rise of populism and nationalism, the UBC General Conference emphasized the Baltic Sea Region cities’ attachment to the European values of freedom, democracy, equality, tolerance, and diversity. This democratic shape  must  be  based  on  the tripartite  separation  of  powers, strong  local government, and independent  media and culture.

– We are sharing the crossroads, both in and outside Europe. It is now that we are making vital choices, which will have long-lasting consequences. The question is which road we take: shall we opt for the winding path of values, or rather speed dangerously head first onto the motorway of populism”, states President of the UBC Per Bødker Andersen.

As cities and regions, our responsibility is to engage in building Europe of tomorrow that is based on trust and democratic values where the voice of ordinary citizens is taken into account.

– We need international cooperation and exchange more than ever. UBC as the leading city network in Northern Europe is the natural platform for this.

Resolution on UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development Goals

The  Union  of  the  Baltic  Cities has  during  its  whole existence focused on making the Baltic Sea Region more sustainable, attractive and more resilient to challenges in our environment. Upon the 25th anniversary of the Union of the Baltic Sea Cities, the importance of further mobilizing the potential and cooperation in achieving common goals is eminent. As outlined  in  UBC’s  sustainability  action  programme  2016–2021 “Stairway towards  Sustainable Baltic  Cities”,  cities  are  the  key actors  in  making  a positive change.

The  Union  of  the  Baltic  Cities commits  to the  UN  Sustainable  Development  Goals  and continues to focus on responding to climate change, in alignment with the Paris Agreement, by implementing  and  heavily  promoting  the  concepts  of  green  growth,  circular  economy, industrial  symbiosis  and  sharing  economy.  UBC’s prime target is achieving low-emission and resource-wise Baltic Sea Region through smart city planning, capacity building and sharing of best practices. Simultaneously, the UBC will continue to work for more efficient water treatment and use of water resources.

In the General Conference, a joint report by UBC and CDP on Climate Leadership from Baltic Sea Region Cities was launched. Read more and download the full report at UBC Sustainable Cities Commission website.

Top-level speakers across the Baltic Sea Region

The General Conference hosted top-level speakers across the Baltic Sea Region, such as Karl-Heinz Lambertz, President of the Committee of the Regions, Lena Ek, Senior Advisor in Sustainable Seas Foundation and Former Minister of Environment in Sweden, Peter Schenk, Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy in European Commission, Krista Kampus, Senior Adviser/Head of the Baltic 2030 Unit at the Council of the Baltic Sea States, Anne Stenros, Design Director in the City of Helsinki, Alessandro Cenderello, Managing Partner for EU Institutions at Ernst & Young, Shirin Reuvers, Cities Manager at CDP, Pärtel-Peeter Pere, CEO and partner at Future Place Leadership, and  Edgar Nazarenus and Vincent Weseloh from Capufaktur.

As speakers and panellists, esteemed Mayors and other representatives from UBC member cities took part in the discussions on leadership and the future of the Baltic Sea Region. Keynote speakers included Per Schöldberg, Deputy Mayor of Växjö Municipality, Piotr Grzelak, Deputy Mayor of Gdańsk, Jørgen Kristiansen, Deputy Mayor of Kristiansand, Gunars Ansins, Deputy Mayor of Liepaja, Jaana Simula, Cultural Chief in the City of Pori, Wolfgang Röttgers, Councillor in the City of Kiel, Mantas Jurgutis, Member of Kaunas City Council, Carina Svensson, Chair of Environmental Board in Malmö, Jyrki Myllyvirta, Mayor of Lahti, and Oliver Rosengren, Deputy Mayor of Växjö Municipality.

More information:

•    UBC Secretariat: info@ubc.net / www.ubc.net  
•    XIV UBC General Conference website: www.vaxjo.se/ubc
•    Photos of the XIV UBC General Conference available in UBC Flickr
•    Videos of the XIV UBC General Conference: www.bit.ly/ubc-youtube
•   UBC cooperation with CDP:

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•    Twitter: www.twitter.com/UBC_BSR  
•    Facebook: www.facebook.com/UnionoftheBalticCities/  
•    LinkedIn: Union of the Baltic Cities (UBC)
•    YouTube, live streaming and videos of the conference: www.bit.ly/ubc-youtube