15th Executive Board meeting, Parnu, 21 September 1996

15th Executive Board meeting, Parnu, 21 September 1996

MINUTES FROM THE 15TH MEETING OF THE EXECUTIVE  BOARD 

OF THE UNION OF THE BALTIC CITIES

  Pärnu, Estonia, 21 September 1996

 

INTRODUCTION 

The 15th meeting of the Executive Board of the Union of the Baltic Cities was held on the 21th of September 1996 in the City of Pärnu, Estonia, upon the invitation of Mr Väino Linde, Mayor of the City of Pärnu. 

The meeting was attended by the members of the UBC Executive Board, chairmen of Union's working Commissions, representatives of applying cities and invited guests.  

Opening of the meeting and adoption of the Agenda

The meeting was opened by Mr Anders Engström, the President of the Union. President Engström emphasized that this day is the fifth anniversary of UBC foundation in Gdańsk on 21st of September 1991. Mr Engström summarized the five years of Union's activities pointing out that during this period the number of UBC members has doubled. All participants sang Happy Birthday to the Union of the Baltic Cities and raised the toast to the Union's successful future. 

The welcome words were given by Mr Väino Linde, Mayor of the City of Pärnu. 

The meeting adopted the Agenda.  

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

Mr Carl Nielsen from Aarhus and Mr Mikko Jokinen from Turku were elected to check the minutes. 

New UBC Member Cities. 

Mr Paweł Żaboklicki, UBC Secretary General informed the Executive Board about new applications for Union Membership submitted by the cities of: Karlstad (Sweden), Mariehamn (Finland), Tartu (Estonia), Vaasa (Finland). 

The following representatives of applying cities made introductions of their towns: 

Ms Birgitta Samuelsson, Chairman of the City Council, Karlstad

Mr Väino Kull, Mayor, Tartu

Mr Tor Wik, Administrative Director, Vaasa 

Decision:

The Board decided to accept mentioned above cities as the Members of the Union of the Baltic Cities and wished them successful cooperation with remaining UBC members. The number of Union member cities reached the figure of 65.  

Reports from working Commissions. 

The following persons submitted the reports on Commissions' activities since last Executive Board Meeting in Kotka, 13 April 1996: 

-  Commission on Communication: Mr Anders Engström, Kalmar

- Commission on Culture:  Mr Sławomir Szafrański, Szczecin

- Commission on Environment:  Mr Mikko Jokinen, Turku

- Commission on Social Affairs:  Mr Ulrich Bauermeister, Rostock

- Commission on Tourism:  Ms Viola Hägglöff, Kalmar

- Commission on Transportation: Mr Andrzej Jankowski, Gdańsk 

The Commission on Sport was not represented. 

Decision:

The Board took note of submitted reports.  

Additionally: 

Ms Barbro Ejendal, Visby, reported from the 2nd Working Session of the Commission on Culture titled "Freedom of Expression - Information - Libraries", organized by the city of Visby on 3-5 May 1996. Printed report from the session has already been sent to all member cities. Ms Ejendal informed that a Network of Public Libraries was established during the session and requested all member cities to send the addresses of their public libraries to Visby.  

Ms Tamara Shkourienko, Kaliningrad, informed that the 3rd Working Session of the Commission on Culture will be held in Kaliningrad on 17-18 May 1996 and invited all member cities to participate in the session.  

Report from the Communication Task Force. 

Ms Sonja Hilavuo, Tampere, chairman of the UBC Task Force for Public Relations and Communication reported from latest Task Force activities.  

Decision:

The Board took note of the report. 

Report from the UBC Project Manager. 

Mr Juhan Janusson, UBC Project Manager submitted report describing his work since XIV Executive Board Meeting in Kotka.  

Decision:

The Board took note of the report. 

Information from the Secretary.

New membership fee system. 

Mr Paweł Żaboklicki, UBC Secretary General, reminded that the proposal to change UBC membership fee system according to the number of city inhabitants was discussed by the III UBC General Conference held in Aarhus, on 8-9 December 1995. The Conference authorized the Executive Board to examine and approve the new system since 1997. 

Mr Ulrich Bauermeister, Rostock, pointed out that new system favours big cities which per capita pay less than small cities and suggested the fee for each city shall exactly depend on the number of inhabitants. 

Mr Dag Larsson, Stockholm and Mr Audun Oiestad, Bergen, supported the proposal submitted at the III General Conference in Aarhus and noticed that as there is only one written proposal of new membership fee system, the Board may either approve it or maintain the old system. 

Decision:

The Board decided to approve the new membership fee system since 1997.  

Budget for 1997. 

Mr Paweł Żaboklicki presented the budget proposal for 1997 based on new membership fee system. Expected income from membership fees totals 138.250,- USD and shall cover the following expenses: meetings organization, travel costs of UBC representatives, communication (phone, fax, mail), services (eg. maintenance, accounting), publications, commissions activities (up to 5000 $) etc.  

Mr Mikko Jokinen, Turku, noticed that the budget proposal does not include all UBC related costs born by some cities. Report reads that the city of Gdańsk provides the Secretariat premises in the "Green Gate" and staff remuneration, but does not mention the cities of Turku, Rostock, Szczecin, Kalmar which have extra costs related to commissions and UBC work. 

Decision:

1.         The Board approved the budget proposal.

2.         The Board authorized the Secretariat to prepare an annex to UBC budget 1997 informing about all costs born by member cities in relation with UBC activity.

3.         The Board instructed all UBC Commissions to prepare their own budgets. 

UBC Newsletter - ways of development. 

Mr Paweł Żaboklicki reminded the Board that so far the UBC Newsletter has been written by the staff of the Secretariat in Gdańsk, which has no professional journalist background. To improve the content and the layout of the Newsletter there is an obvious need to involve professional journalist(s) in the process of Newsletter production. 

Mr Dag Larsson, Stockholm, submitted a proposal of the city of Stockholm to assist in the Newsletter production. During one year time Stockholm is ready to provide a specialist who together with the secretariat will work on the Newsletter's upgrading.  

Decision:

The Board expressed thanks to the city of Stockholm for its offer and appointed the Secretary, Chairman of the Communication Task Force, UBC Project Manager, UBC Environmental Coordinator and Stockholm's representatives as a core of future Newsletter's editorial board. 

The Board commissioned Mr Juhan Janusson, UBC Project Manager, to investigate possibilities of external (EU) funding for the development and future production of the Newsletter. 

IV UBC General Conference, Gdańsk, 12-13 September 1997.

Head theme of the conference - proposals. 

President Anders Engström proposed the conference to be a Baltic Sea Cooperation Forum during which major actors of Baltic cooperation shall discuss the future of the Baltic Sea Region. UBC shall invite such institutions and organizations as: Council of the Baltic Sea States, European Commission, Baltic Parliamentary Conference, Nordic Council, Conference of Subregions, VASAB 2010, HELCOM, Baltic Sea Chamber of Commerce etc. 

Decision:

The Board supported proposal for the conference head theme and authorized the Presidium to undertake appropriate steps to assure the participation of mentioned institutions in the next UBC General Conference in Gdańsk. 

Other matters. 

Reports from conferences attended by Union's representatives.  

President Anders Engström reported from the conferences and meetings where he was invited to speak as UBC representative: 

- Baltic Sea States Summit, Visby, 3-4 May 1996.

- Tallinn Old Town Days 1996 - Meeting of the Cities, 3 June 1996.

- Kiel Week Conference, Kiel, 23-25 June 1996.

- Conference of the EU Committee of Regions, Kalmar, 1 July 1996.

- 5th Ministerial Session of CBSS, Kalmar, 2-3 July 1996.

- V Parliamentary Conference on Cooperation in Baltic Sea Area, Riga, 10-11 Sept. 1996.

- I General Assembly of CPMR Baltic Sea Commission, Stockholm, 12 September 1996. 

Additionally: 

- Mr Jaak Tamm, Tallinn, UBC Vice-President, reported from the 3rd Plenary Session of Council of Europe's CLRAE, Strasbourg, 2-4 July 1996.

- Mr Mikko Jokinen, Turku, reported from the HABITAT II Conference, Istanbul, 30-31 May 1996 and the Baltic Sea Energy Conference, Tallinn, 23-24 May 1996. 

Decision:

The Board took note of the reports. 

Information on forthcoming conferences. 

Mr Anders Engström informed the Board on forthcoming conferences he will attend:

- IV Conference on Baltic Sea States Subregional Cooperation, Vaasa, 17-18 October 1996.

- IV Conference of the Baltic Ministers of Spatial Planning, Stockholm, 22 October 1996.

- Conference of the Baltic Ministers of Environment, Stockholm, 20-21 October 1996. 

Mr Mikko Jokinen informed about the conferences to be attended by the representatives of the Commission on Environment:

- IX Meeting of Helcom PITF, Jurata (Hel), 2-4 October 1996.

- II European Conference on Sustainable Cities and Towns, Lisbon, 6-8 October 1996 and

Global Cities 21 Meeting, Lisbon, 8-9 October 1996. 

Decision:

The Board took note of the information. 

Information on Interreg II C. 

President Anders Engström submitted an information on new European Commission's funding initiative Interreg II C. Mr Engström underlined that Interreg II C financing instrument is directed only to EU member states. UBC will strongly promote the idea to allow joint transnational projects proposed by EU and non-EU countries to be financed from Interreg II C and PHARE/TACIS sources.  

Decision:

The Board encouraged all UBC member cities from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia to urge their governments to allow to use PHARE/TACIS resources for joint projects with Interreg II C. 

Report from the III UBC Women's Conference in Karlskrona. 

Ms Birgitta Törnqvist, Karlskrona, reported from the III UBC Women's Conference named "Baltic Women's Daily Life", held in Karlskrona on 7-10 May 1996, in association with the "Women Can" Exhibition. Ms Törnqvist warmly invited all member cities to participate in the IV UBC Women's Conference to be organized in Kalmar, on 20-25 May 1997, in connection with 600th Anniversary of Kalmar Union. 

Decision:

The Board took note of the report. 

UBC Seminar "The role of the cities in local business promotion". 

Mr Anders Engström put forward a proposal to organize jointly with the Baltic Sea Chambers of Commerce Association (BCCA) a seminar on "The role of the cities in local business promotion". BCCA already declared its interest to be a co-organizer of such a seminar.

Mr Engström proposed that the seminar could be organized in association with 8th Hansa Business Days, Kalmar, 22-23 April 1997.  

Decision:

The Board supported the idea of organizing the seminar and authorized the President to take further contacts in question with the President of BCCA. 

A letter from United Nations FAO. 

Mr Paweł Żaboklicki informed that he received a letter from the General Director of United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). FAO has asked UBC to encourage the governments of Baltic countries to include the representatives of local authorities (mayors) to their national delegations to the World Food Summit to be held in Rome, on 13-17 November 1996. The Secretary already answered FAO promising UBC support in question. UBC response was warmly received by FAO.  

Decision:

The Board authorized the President and the Secretary to submit a letter to the governments of Baltic countries encouraging them to include the representatives of local authorities to national delegations to the World Food Summit. 

Proposals sent by the member cities. 

Secretary Paweł Żaboklicki informed about the proposals submitted to the Executive Board by member cities: 

1.         Siauliai - rehabilitation programme for mentally handicapped adults.

The city of Siauliai has developed a rehabilitation programme for mentally handicapped adults. To obtain funding from ECOS-OUVERTURE Siauliai is looking for 1 eastern city to join the project.  

Decision:

The Board encouraged interested eastern cities to join Siauliai in mentioned project. 

2.         Siauliai - Via Haseatica Motorway.

The city of Siauliai is of the opinion that Via Haseatica motorway should be constructed without delay, parallely to the construction of Via Baltica. The city authorities want the future motorway to pass the city of Siauliai.  

Decision:

The Board supported the opinion of Siauliai that the Baltic road transportation system including such motorways as Via Baltica, Via Hanseatica, TEM etc. should be improved without delay. However it was indicated that UBC may not suggest the route of the motorways as it is responsibility of countries involved. 

3.         Helsinki - environmental issues.

The city of Helsinki suggested that UBC should stress the importance of environmental issues in particular the treatment of polluted soil and waste water.  

Mr Carl Nielsen, Aarhus, informed that the question of polluted soil was considered as one of the topics of the next meeting of the Commission on Environment to be held in summer 1997. 

Decision:

The Board reminded that UBC Commission on Environment is very active in the field of environmental protection and requested the Commission to take further contacts in question with the city of Helsinki. 

Other matters: 

  • Ms Vince V. Margeviciene, Kaunas, submitted a proposal of the city of Kaunas to establish a new UBC Commission on Energy in which the city of Kaunas would be ready to take a leading role. 

Mr Carl Nielsen informed that the Commission on Environment together with the city of Kaunas will organize a special conference to identify energy projects to be initiated in cooperation between member cities. This should form the platform for decisions on the future organization of energy questions/projects within the UBC. 

Decision:

The Board authorized the Commission on Environment to analyze the proposal from Kaunas and make a recommendation to the Executive Board whether energy issues shall be dealt within the Commission on Environment or an independent commission shall be created. 

  • Mr Andrzej Jankowski, Gdańsk, informed that in connection with Gdańsk 1000th Anniversary, the Gdańsk International Fair Company will organize on 18-21 June 1997 a Pomeranian Exhibition. The aim of the exhibition is to present the achievements of several generations living in this region. The organizers warmly invite all UBC member cities to take part in the exhibition and ask UBC to take a patronage over the exhibition. 

Decision:

The Board supported Gdańsk's proposal to organize such exhibition in connection with the Millennium and decided to give UBC patronage over the event. The Board encouraged all member cities to participate in the exhibition. 

  • Mr Mikko Jokinen, Turku, on behalf of the Commission on Environment, put forward a proposal that UBC should stress its support to the Helsinki Commission which actively works on the improvement of the ecological condition of the Baltic Sea. Mr Jokinen proposed that the President and the Secretary shall send a letter to the Ministers of Environment and Foreign Affairs of Baltic countries supporting HELCOM's coordinating role in the implementation of environmental initiatives in the Baltic Sea region. 

Decision:

The Board supported the Environmental Commission's proposal and authorized the President and the Secretary to send out mentioned above letter. 

  • President Anders Engström, informed the Board that the Swedish Association of Local Authorities will organize a conference on "Sustainable Cities in the Baltic Sea Region", to be held in Stockholm on 28-30 May 1997. The conference shall discuss the socio-cultural, economic and ecological aspects of urban sustainable development. The organizers requested UBC to give its support to the conference. 

Decision:

The Board expressed its support to the conference and encourage UBC member cities to participate in the event. 

  • Secretary Paweł Żaboklicki informed that in 1996 two member cities has not paid so far the membership fee:

- St.Petersburg which sent an explanation that the fee will be paid in October,

- Mamonovo which has not provided any explanation. 

Decision: 

The Board commissioned:

1. The city of St.Petersburg to pay the membership fee in October 1996.

2. The city of Mamonovo to pay the membership fee or send an explanation why the city is not able to pay. 

Next Meeting of the Executive Board. 

Mr Dag Larsson, Deputy Mayor of the City of Stockholm maintained the proposal of Stockholm to host the next meeting of the Executive Board and proposed the date 25th of January 1997.

Mr Audun Oiestad, Bergen, added that the city of Bergen is willing to host the following Board meeting in May/June 1997. 

Decision:

The Board accepted the proposal of the city of Stockholm and decided to hold its next meeting in Stockholm, on the 25th of January 1997. Following the proposal of Mr Oiestad, the Board decided to hold the following meeting in Bergen in May/June 1997. 

Closing of the Meeting.

The Chairman of the Meeting, Mr Anders Engström expressed his thanks to the City of Pärnu for hosting the delegation and closed the XV Meeting of the Executive Board of the Union of the Baltic Cities. 

Mr Anders Engström                                    Mr Paweł Żaboklicki

Chairman                                                      Secretary

 

Mr Carl Nielsen                                            Mr Mikko Jokinen

Adjuster                                                      Adjuster