65th Executive Board meeting, Koszalin, 4 October 2012

Minutes of the 65th Meeting of the Executive Board
Koszalin, 4 October 2012
 
 
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 Koszalin. The meeting adopted the agenda, attached to the minutes.
 
2.            Election of two persons who, together with the President, will check the minutes.
 
Ryszard Zdrojewski, Chairman of Commission on Tourism, Koszalin and Tanel Moistus, Member of City Government, Keila, were elected to check the minutes together with the President.
 
3.            Presentation of the city of Koszalin.
 
Mr Piotr Jedliński, Mayor of Koszalin, made a presentation introducing the city. Koszalin is located in the middle of the Polish coast. It is the second biggest city of Western Pomerania with over 109.000 inhabitants.
 
In Koszalin there are four schools at university level, the biggest of them is the Technical University of Koszalin with nine thousands students.
 
Koszalin has wide range of cultural events such as Film Debut Festival, Theatrical Confrontations, Organ Music Festival, opera performances, Hansa Jazz Festival.
 
The city budget in 2011 was over 0.5 billion PLN, of which 167 million was assigned on investments. Many investments were possible due to funding from the EU e.g. intelligent transport system, thermal modernisation of schools, preventing digital exclusion of Koszalin residents and pupils. Ongoing investment projects: construction of the Koszalin ring, aquapark, philharmonic hall, revitalization of the Pomeranian Dukes’ park.
 
Koszalin develops Special Economic Zone intended for industrial production, warehouses, storage facilities. Some of the biggest investors are: Nordglass, Jeronimo Martins Distribution, Jakob Hatteland Computer, FF LINEA.
 
4.            Activity reports from the UBC Commissions.
 
UBC Commissions on Energy, Gender Equality, Tourism, Urban Planning, presented annual activity reports as well as plans for the forthcoming year.
Main activities of above mentioned commissions in the reporting period:
 
Commission on Energy
”Revitalize the city for sustainability” - Joint seminar of the UBC Commissions on Energy, Environment, Urban Planning, Transport, Halmstad, Sweden 9 –11 May 2012
Internal cooperation with the Commissions on Environment, Transport, Urban Planning and Education – meetings by Adobe Connect
Projects:  RENSOL -Regional Energy Solutions, EEMTE -Energy Efficiency in Municipality - Training and Exchange of Experience, LED - Light in Public Space, ITEST - Increased Technology and Efficiency in Sewage Treatment
Reported by Eva Hjälmered, Head of Secretariat of the Commission, Oskarshamn.
 
Commission on Gender Equality
Commission meeting and seminar on gender budgeting, April 2012, Helsinki  
Presentation at the Commission on Health and Social Affairs meeting, June 2012, Vaasa
Campaign posters to promote awareness on gender equality 
Reported by Aurora Lindberg, Chair of the Commission and Linda Gustafsson, Gender equality officer, Umeå.
 
Commission on Tourism
Meeting  6 October 2011 in Liepāja during the XI UBC General Conference
The annual meeting , Vilnius, Lithuania 29-31 March 2012
Enjoy South Baltic! Joint actions promoting the South Baltic area as a tourist destination - project co-financed by South Baltic Programme 2007-2013.
AGORA 2.0 project, meetings in Stockholm  29-30 September 2011 and Kaliningrad, 26-28 April 2012
The Six Baltic Sea Wonders Competition
"Baltic Culinary Route - enjoy Baltic Cuisine" project
Reported by Ryszard Zdrojewski, Chairman of the Commission, Koszalin.
 
Commission on Urban Planning
Seminar “Planning the History and Future in Consonance”, Tartu, Estonia, 19-21 September 2011
”Revitalize the city for sustainability” - Joint seminar of the UBC commissions on Energy, Environment, Urban Planning, Transport, Halmstad, Sweden 9 –11 May 2012.
Seminar “Elbląg City Centre 2014”, Elbląg, 1-3 October 2012
Reported by Marek Karzyński, Member of Commission steering committee, Gdynia
 
The reports were followed by a discussion, Board members posed questions to the rapporteurs concerning the activities  of the Commissions.
 
Concerning brochures of the Commission on Tourism Mikko Lohikoski expressed opinion the target group shall be the city experts and politicians, not the citizens. UBC has no resources to print tens of thousands of publications in order to reach the single citizen and thus must concentrate on city representatives. He stressed we should concentrate on B2B communication to our key constituencies, not individual tourists whom we have no means to reach effectively.
 
The Board thanked the Commissions for their work and encouraged them to carry on efforts for the benefit of member cities. The Commissions’ activity reports are attached to the minutes.
 
5.            Presentation of Mariehamn, host city of the XII UBC General Conference, 1-4 October 2013.
 
Ms Terese Flöjt, coordinator of the UBC General Conference from Mariehamn, informed that the Åland Islands is an autonomous, demilitarized Swedish speaking region of Finland, with 28.000 people inhabiting 65 of 6.500 islands. There are 16 municipalities on the islands, and the only town on the Åland Islands is Mariehamn, with over 11.000 inhabitants.
 
The Islands have their own flag, own stamps and internet top-level domain (.ax). The Åland Islands have strategically important location, between several main Baltic Sea destinations:  Stockholm, Helsinki, Turku, Tallinn. There are good transport connections by ferry and by plane.
 
Main industries include shipping, trade, banking, farming and the production of food items. Tourism is also a very important branch, with 1.5 million tourists visiting the islands every year. The unemployment rate is on the level of 3%.
 
 
 
The city has a maritime history and strong connections with the sea, which is emphasised by the Maritime museum, the museum-ship Pommern and the maritime quarter.
 
One of the institutions on the islands is Åland Islands Peace Institute, a politically and religiously independent charitable foundation. The Institute focuses on forms of autonomy, minority issues, demilitarisation and conflict management.
 
The UBC General Conference will be held at the Alandica Culture & Congress Centre. Alandica is situated in the eastern harbour of Mariehamn, the main entrance opens onto the market square. The centre consists of three wings. In the main auditorium there are seats for 600 people. The smaller auditorium seats 200 persons. More info at www.alandica.ax.
 
6.            XII UBC General Conference – proposals of theme.
 
The President reminded day one is usually 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. On the second conference day the parallel working sessions are to be held, as well as the General Assembly which will deal with internal UBC matters such as reports, elections, finances etc.
 
At the meeting in Rakvere the Board decided to re-activate the task force responsible for preparations of the General Conference. The task force was requested to provide proposals of theme(s) to be discussed at the General Conference. The task force met on 3 October 2012 in Koszalin.
 
Following the proposal from the task force the Board decided the first day of the General Conference in Mariehamn 2013 would focus on difficult situation regarding the high level of youth unemployment in the Baltic Sea region. How to prevent and combat the youth unemployment. How to develop an effective employment strategy. The Baltic Sea states should strive to offer the young people a job, an apprenticeship or additional education after few months of unemployment. It was stressed, that life after school of young person cannot begin with a longer period of unemployment as such situation leads to frustration and social exclusion.
 
Since several years the UBC Youth Conference was held in parallel with UBC General Conference. The Board stressed in Mariehamn we cannot discuss youth problems without youth, with youth sitting next door. The Board decided both assemblies would join forces during next year event, in order to assure better interaction between cities’ representatives and young people.
 
The Board expressed hope that other Baltic Sea organisations would accept UBC invitation to join the discussion on employment strategy for youth during the UBC conference in Mariehamn.
 
The Board authorised the task force to continue the GC preparations in cooperation with the Commission on youth issues and the host city of Mariehamn.
 
7.            UBC Strategy.
 
7.1          Communication and Marketing Strategy.
 
Mikko Lohikoski, Strategy Coordinator, reminded that at the meeting in Brussels, February 2012, the Executive Board adopted UBC Communication and Marketing Strategy. Afterwards 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 in April 2012 and discussed the ways of strategy implementation.
 
In August 2012, digital media professional from Turku, Mr Lasse Rintakumpu, who has been chosen as a consultant on the matter, visited UBC Secretariat in Gdańsk and afterwards prepared the proposal on strategy implementation plan.  It is attached to the minutes.
 
Mikko Lohikoski presented the main recommendations of the report.  He proposed that the Board does not yet make a detailed decision on implementation, as this issue is of great importance, as the discussion on commission reports indicated. However, we should  continue preparing the issue on basis of the adopted Strategy and Mr Rintakumpu`s implementation plan, gathering more necessary information about  technical, financial and human resource dimensions of the implementation.
The Board decided to to continue preparations on basis of Mr Lohikoski´s proposal.
 
Paweł Żaboklicki, Secretary General, reminded that the strategy recommended to make digital versions of some UBC publications – in case they will be consider relevant - eg events calendar  in order to reduce costs of printing and posting. Events calendar provides highlights from the variety of events held in our region. It promotes the main business, cultural, sporting, recreational activities in UBC member cities. The calendar allows  the readers to be up-to-date on what is going on in our cities and helps to plan the travels.
 
Following the recommendation of the communication strategy the secretariat and IT experts from Gdańsk made an interactive digital version of the calendar at the UBC homepage. Now the member cities are able themselves to edit and add new events to the calendar, including photos.
The calendar can be seen at http://www.ubc.net/calendar
 
7.2          Evaluation of the Commissions.
 
Mikko Lohikoski reminded that in Rakvere, 24 May 2012, the Executive Board decided to adopt commissions’ evaluation criteria to be used in evaluating the work of the commissions.
 
The Board decided to approve the mechanism and time table of this evaluation (attached to the minutes). The UBC commissions are invited to submit the requested information to the secretariat. The amount of financial support to commissions in 2013 will be based on this evaluation.
 
7.3          Meeting of UBC task force in Rostock, 4 September 2012.
 
Mikko Lohikoski informed the last meeting of the task force was held in Rostock on 4 September 2012. The task force had a discussion concerning statute and internal regulations of the UBC.  The task force will submit its report to the first meeting of the  Executive Board in 2013.
 
7.4          Other issues concerning UBC Strategy implementation.
 
BaltMet and BDF
 
Mikko Lohikoski reminded that UBC Strategy decided to strengthen  cooperation between UBC and other key BSR organisations. Mr Lohikoski informed about a number of contacts with the Baltic Metropoles Network (BaltMet) and Baltic Development Forum (BDF).
 
 
 
 
Mr Lohikoski  noted as his impression that  Baltmet  seems to be quite project oriented, especially in the field of marketing. One example of this is the new One BSR –project to promote BSR abroad. Mikko Lohikoski proposed to prepare a memorandum of understanding or other kind of cooperation document
and sign it for example at the next Executive Board meeting. Mr Lohikoski reminded also about a proposal from BaltMet, that member cities of these two respective organisations could participate in each other´s  commissions and projects.
Baltic Development Forum is a business oriented Danish organisation  with extensive international cooperation.  Mr Lohikoski reminded that BDF had proposed, in a meeting with UBC President, to establish a joint platform of senior leaders from cities and from companies on smart and green growth, a kind of BSR-wide public-private partnership on smart solutions between local authorities and businesses, but crucially also involving citizens, for whom these serviced are been produced. Many cities are interested in public private partnership. Mr Lohikoski stressed UBC should respond positively to this proposal. Lohikoski noted, that many open questions should be discussed and agreed upon – the role of each organisation, funding, etc. Mr Lohikoski proposed, that a small bilateral working group would be formed with BDF to work out a joint proposal, which would be presented to the  leading bodies of each organisation for adoption. He also recommended that the President appoints the UBC representatives to this working group.
President Per Bødker Andersen agreed, that we should join forces in the Baltic Sea Region, which is also an expectation of the European institutions, as too many actors makes it more difficult to address various issues.
The Board decided to agree with the proposals of Strategy Coordinator.
 
EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR)
 
Mikko Lohikoski stressed that UBC could be more active and present in the implementation of the EUSBSR. One promising field is the  priority area Safety, which earlier was limited to accidents on sea but now is proposed to include also land-based activities to promote safety.  In the new Action Plan of the EUSBSR now under preparation, there is a possibility for the UBC/Commission on Local Safety to make a proposal on priority action and accordingly have a leading role in it.
Mr Lohikoski proposed that the Commission on Local Safety would speed up its project proposal and that they could request professional assistance from the “UBC family”, notably from the Commission of Environment which has much experience in project issues.
The Board decided to endorse these proposals.
 
8.            Cooperation within Conference of European Cross-border and Interregional city Networks (CECICN).
 
President Per Bødker Andersen informed about 1st CECICN Congress on Smart Cooperation in A Coruna, as well as about forthcoming CECICN meetings in Brussels.
 
8.1          Congress in A Coruna, 25-26.06.2012.
 
Nearly 400 participants discussed the ideas of Conference of European Cross-Border and Interregional City Networks (CECICN) during the 1st Congress on Smart Cooperation on 25/26 June in A Coruña. The UBC is a founding member of CECICN and UBC president is also the president of this network of networks. CECICN represents more than 500 cities across Europe. Its objective is to boost territorial cooperation among cities and border regions in Europe and to reinforce the importance of territorial cooperation.
 
UBC was clearly visible at this large European conference. We were not only the main organizers, but were also responsible for carrying out a workshop. The topic was “Cooperation contributing to Smart Growth. The workshop chairman was Per Bødker Andersen, President of UBC. The workshop was moderated by Wolfgang Schmidt, Chairman of the Business Commission. Special thanks go to Marie-Louise Rönnmark, Mayor of Umeå, Sweden, First Vice-President of the UBC and Andres Jaadla, Mayor of Rakvere, Estonia, Vice-President of the UBC. Marie-Louise and Andres have demonstrated in specific examples of how we work in Northern Europe in order to achieve a profit for all. Ms Tarja Hautamaeki, Cultural Manager Regional Council of Ostrobothnia was one of the speakers. Secretary General Paweł Żaboklicki was the rapporteur.
 
A number of European decision-makers have accepted our invitation and participated very actively in the discussions: Michel Delebarre, President of COTER, Committee of the Regions and President of the MOT, Carlos Negreira, Mayor of A Coruña, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, Regional President of Galicia, Marta Fernández Currás, Spanish Secretary of State for budget and expenditure, Ann-Sofi Backgren, AEBR Vice-President, Ana Miranda, MEP, Representative of the Parliamentary Committee on Regional Development, José Palma Andrés, Director of European Territorial Cooperation, DG REGIO and Henrik Morch, Head of Unit, DG MARKT.
José Durão Barroso, President of the European Commission, confirmed in a video message the increase in the budget for the cohesion policy for the next programming period, a sum of 12 billion Euro. It will be debated by the Member States in the autumn.
 
8.2          Forthcoming CECICN meetings in Brussels, 15 and 16 November.
 
President Andersen informed requests for meetings have been sent to:
 
DG REGIO
-  Normunds POPENS, Deputy Director General (we have met him in May)
-  Jose PALMA ANDRES (Director of European Territorial Cooperation)
-  José Antonio RUIZ DE CASAS, EC Expert
 
DG MARKT
Ms Emer DALY, Director, Governance of the single market
Pierre DELSAUX, Deputy Director General (we have also met him in May)
Henrik MORCH, Head of Unit
 
Committee of the Regions
Ramon Luis VALCARCEL SISO, President, started his mandate only on 13/8/2012
 
The Board took note of the information and stressed that UBC active participation at the European level is very important for lobbying of BSR interests.
 
9.            Latest conferences attended by UBC representatives.
 
The President informed that UBC was recently represented at the following conferences and events:
 
- 14th Baltic Development Forum Summit and European Commission’s 3rd Annual Forum on the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, Copenhagen, 17-19 June 2012 (Per Bødker Andersen, President of UBC, Mikko Lohikoski, Strategy Coordinator)
- 1st CECICN Congress on Smart Cooperation, A Coruna, 25-26 June 2012 (Per Bødker Andersen, President of UBC)
- Kaliningrad City Days Celebrations, Kaliningrad, 7-8 July 2012 (Andres Jaadla, UBC Vice-President)
- 96th Plenary Session of the Committee of the Regions, 18-19 July 2012, Brussels (Per Bødker Andersen, President of UBC)
- The 21st Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference 2012, 26-28 August 2012, St. Petersburg (Andres Jaadla, UBC Vice-President, Mikko Lohikoski, Strategy Coordinator)
 
 
Vice-President Jaadla stressed the importance of strengthening the cooperation contacts with Russian member cities.
 
The Board took note of the information. Reports from the conferences are attached to the minutes.
 
10.          Any other business.
 
10.1       Centre for cultural initiatives in Chojnice - culture in harmony with nature.
 
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 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.
 
The centre will offer the UBC Commission on Culture a venue for meetings, conferences, festivals, concerts, exhibitions and other cultural events.
 
Chojnice being a member of UBC has asked UBC to support the project of creation of the centre for cultural initiatives in Chojnice.
 
Deputy Mayor of Chojnice Mr Edward Pietrzyk presented the project idea to the Executive Board in Rakvere, 24 May 2012. In Rakvere the Board decided to ask the Commission on Culture to express an opinion on the project. The Commission on Culture supports the project.
 
Piotr Grzelak, Councillor, Gdańsk, added that several Polish member cities support the project.
 
The Board decided to support the project of creation of the centre for cultural initiatives in Chojnice.
 
Michał Karpiak, on behalf of the Mayor of Chojnice, expressed thanks to the Executive Board for supporting the project and confirmed that Chojnice would like to actively involve the Commission on Culture in operations of culture centre.
 
10.2       Congress „Metropolis management in the 21st century”, Gdańsk, 26-27 November 2012, Amber Expo.
 
Piotr Grzelak informed the City of Gdańsk and Gdańsk International Fair Co. would host an economic Congress, concerning the socio-economic aspects of life in the big city, 26-27 November, Amber Expo Exhibition Centre.
The Congress will provide a dynamic forum for the exchange of intelligent and innovative solutions to improve city’s economy and urban management processes affecting the standards and quality of life in Polish towns and cities. Numerous solutions for a so called  SMART idea will be presented at the event. These include: innovative solutions for residents, tourists, institutions, etc.
 
 
 
Among various conferences that constitute the program, one of the topics will be devoted to  the development of marine tourism in coastal regions. The aim of this thematic conference is to discuss the impact of tourism, especially nautical tourism development in coastal regions. Participants of the discussion will endeavour answers to questions such as: is maritime tourism the kind of tourism that has a major impact on the economy, or is too small to play a significant role? The conference will also focus on the idea of tourism clusters. Are they a new way to consolidate the industry? Chosen study cases of already functioning Clusters will be introduced.
More information at www.miastoplus.com.pl
 
The City of Gdańsk is asking UBC to become a partner of the event.
The Board found the event interesting and decided UBC would support the congress.
 
10.3       5th Nordic Council of Ministers conference for Sustainable Development in Umeå, September 17-19, 2013.
 
Nordic Council of Ministers organise a biennial conference on sustainable development. On September 17-19, 2013  the conference will be held in Umeå during the Swedish presidency of NCM. Co-organisers are the city of Umeå, the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions and the Swedish Government office. The conference focuses on sustainable development from local, Nordic and international perspectives. The conference will reinforce and develop local and regional efforts towards sustainable development in the Nordic countries and BSR. The programme will include plenary sessions and workshops. Previous conference was organized in Turku in 2011. At the Turku conference the Commission on Environment secretariat was  in charge of coordinating the conference.
 
The English name of the conference will be “The art of co-creation”, alluding to the theme of Umeå as European Capital of Culture in 2012, and the importance and challenge of involving society as a whole to develop a more sustainable BSR. Commissions on Environment and Gender Equality will be involved in the conference.
 
President Andersen informed the Commission on Environment, Commission on Gender Equality, Umeå, ask UBC to be a co-organiser of the conference and contribute with 10.000 EUR.
 
The Board reminded there is a number of interesting conferences taking place every year in basically every member city. The Board stressed, due to limited resources, UBC is unfortunately not able to support the conferences financially.
 
10.4       Proposal to internal regulations.
 
President informed the Board the secretariat has been contacted by the Commission on Environment which expressed an opinion that commissions should coordinate with each other the dates of their meetings so they are not held on the same days.
 
Proposed text drafted by UBC secretariat:
 
4.11       Commissions are advised to consult the dates of seminars and meetings with each other to avoid the situation when the meetings are held on the same days.
 
The Board accepted the proposal.
 
 
 
 
 
11.          Next 66th UBC Executive Board meeting, Kaliningrad, 7 March 2013.
 
The Board decided to accept an invitation from the Mayor of Kaliningrad Alexander Yaroshuk to hold the 66th meeting of the Executive Board in Kaliningrad on 7 March 2013.
 
 
 
 
Per Bødker Andersen                                                                                            Paweł Żaboklicki
Chairperson                                                                                                             Secretary
 
 
 
Tanel Moistus                                                                                                          Ryszard Zdrojewski
Adjuster                                                                                                                    Adjuster