67th Executive Board meeting, Kiel, 20 June 2013

Minutes of the 67th Meeting of the Executive Board
Kiel, 20 June 2013
 
1.         Opening of the meeting and adoption of the agenda.
 
Per Bødker Andersen, President of the Union opened the meeting. Mr Andersen expressed his gratitude to the hosts for inviting the UBC Executive Board to hold the meeting in Kiel in conjunction with Kieler Woche 2013. The meeting adopted the agenda, attached to the minutes.
 
Dr Susanne Gaschke, Mayor of Kiel, warmly welcomed the Board participants and presented the city and  Kieler Woche, the largest summer festival in the Northern Europe. The sailors’ fest has also been a think tank for political discussions and international exchange since the end of the Second World War.
Kiel is already very active within the UBC. It has been a co-chair of the Commission on Business since 2009.
As the gateway to the Baltic Sea Region, Kiel benefits from the favourable geographical position. It offers optimum conditions for shipping and other maritime industries. Kiel harbour is on a growth curve. The passenger numbers for ferries have levelled out considerably higher than the 2 million mark. Kiel has developed into the third largest hub port for passengers in the last few years. Kiel is strong in the service sector and also in the high-tech industry. The city is Schleswig-Holstein’s leading educational location.
Dr Gaschke emphasized the importance of the cooperation and networking within the Union of the Baltic Cities. She found the topic of the upcoming General Conference very important. Ms Gaschke will be one of the speakers in Mariehamn. The high level of unemployment among young people is particularly serious. This currently stands at 23 per cent. It is therefore not only putting the future of the young people at risk, but also that of Europe. What is still lacking is effective practical help for the youth. This lack of planning by the EU is a threat to social peace and Europe's competitiveness.
 
2.         Election of two persons who, together with the President, will check the minutes.
 
Marketta Mäkinen, Jyväskylä and Wolfgang Schmidt, Kiel, were elected to check the minutes together with the President.
 
 
3.         Presentation of Investitionsbank Schleswig-Holstein.
 
Erk Westermann-Lammers, CEO, presented the specific profile of the Investitionsbank SH which hosted the UBC Board meeting.
Investitionsbank Schleswig-Holstein (IB.SH), the development bank of the Land (state) Schleswig-Holstein, plays a key role in providing financial support to foster regional development and growth in Schleswig-Holstein.
IB.SH offers advice on funding and financing within the following areas: economy & technology, real estate, municipalities & infrastructure, employment & education, and also EU.
It provides solutions for corporate, real estate and public infrastructure financing as well as for city development, environmental and energy projects. 
Furthermore, grants are provided to support labour market development and training measures. Financial assistance is given to public and private investment projects in Schleswig-Holstein.
IB.SH serves also as a consultant on EU funding programmes. It is involved in the management of European Territorial Cooperation Programmes (Baltic Sea Region Programme) and the Seed Money Facility for the EU as of 2013.
IB.SH has assumed coordination of the Enterprise Europe Network, the biggest network worldwide to support SMEs co-financed by the European Commission.
The Board expressed thanks to the Investitionsbank Schleswig-Holstein for hosting the UBC Executive Board meeting.
 
4.         Cooperation with Baltic Development Forum, Helle Bechgaard, Vice-chair of BDF.
 
Helle Bechgaard, Vice Chair, BDF, presented the BDF-UBC areas of cooperation and highlighted the BDF recent activities.
 
UBC and BDF have developed a project application for a “Baltic Urban Forum for Smart Cities”. The aim is to establish a network for medium sized towns and cities to facilitate dialogue, experience sharing, learning and joint action on green technologies and innovations in urban areas. BDF will involve its private partners as they provide technology and solutions to many urban challenges. Turku and Tartu are already deeply involved, Riga is interested and other UBC members with strong competences and experiences are very welcome.
 
Also, BDF and UBC Commission on Business have been actively cooperating. The Commission was the BDF partner in the so-called Baltic Business Arena, a matchmaking event for SME’s organised as part of the BDF Summit. The next meeting with the Business Commission is planned in Copenhagen in September.
 
Helle Bechgaard informed about the next BDF Summit in June 2014 in Turku. The event will be co-located with the European Commission’s Annual Forum for the EU Strategy and the Ministerial meeting under Finnish CBSS presidency. The key topic of the Summit will be: Russia. The next important step for the region is to further develop the cooperation with Russia – in business as well as politics. City of Turku has taken interesting steps in this direction, and Kaliningrad and St Petersburg are among UBC member cities.
 
The Board thanked the Vice Chair of BDF Ms Helle Bechgaard for attending the UBC Executive Board meeting in Kiel and expressed wish for further strengthening of cooperation between both organisations.
 
5.         Baltic Sea Region Urban Forum for Smart Cities (BUF), application for seed money.
 
Strategy Coordinator Mikko Lohikoski reminded that UBC supported the Baltic Sea Region Urban Forum for Smart Cities (BUF) application for EUSBSR Seed Money. Urban Forum is a result of the UBC - BDF cooperation.
Its objective is to form a broad network with participation of cities and towns that will effectively address challenges and realize opportunities for making green transition towards sustainable societies. It will bring together public authorities, private companies and citizens organisations in a goal-oriented way – create a new pan-Baltic PPP involving not only EU member countries but also Norway, Russia and potentially other neighbours.
EUSBSR has given a new strong impetus for fruitful and goal-oriented cooperation around the Baltic Sea. The concept of multi-level governance, which brings together various stakeholders both horizontally and vertically, can help to undertake common innovative and successful actions.
Seed Money is EU funding to prepare projects that contribute to one of the priority areas or horizontal actions of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.
The Lead Partner of the BUF project is Tartu Smart City Lab representing the Union of the Baltic Cities.
On 26 June 2013 EUSBSR Seed Money Facility Secretariat administered by the Investitionsbank Schleswig-Holstein informed that the Seed Money Committee made a decision approving the project.
The Board stressed the importance of the project and encouraged member cities to actively participate in the forum.
 
6.         Activity reports from the UBC Commissions.
 
UBC Commissions on Business, Environment and Local Safety presented activity reports as well as plans for forthcoming months.
Main activities of above mentioned Commissions in the reporting period:
 
6.1 Commission on Business
Priorities 2012/2013
- Economic recovery
- Long term economic development
- Employment
 
Areas of activities
- Knowledge Society
- Marketing
- International Cooperation
 
Meetings 2012: Kolding, Copenhagen, Kiel
Meetings 2013: Berlin, Mariehamn, Malmö
Cooperation in 2012 with other Commissions: Education, Youth Issues
Cooperation with Baltic Development Forum, Baltic Business Arena, International Association of Science Parks, Sophia Antipolis Science Park
 
Reported by Wolfgang Schmidt, Chairman of the Commission, Kiel
 
6.2 Commission on Environment
Meetings
- Joint UBC Commissions meeting, 9-11 May 2012, Halmstad (Energy, Environment, Transport, Urban Planning)
- Joint Seminar on Sustainable Transport solutions, 10-12 April 2013, Tallinn
 
Policy activities
- EUSBSR commenting and involved in implementation of flagship status projects PA1 PURE and PRESTO, PA4 BSR InnoShip
- Coordination and involvement in PA 5, PA 8.4, HAL / Turku process involvement
- Communication with DG Regional Policy, DG Env, EU Interact, Funding Programmes
- CoR Outlook paper EU Budget - Integrating Climate Change for GREEN, SMART and INCLUSIVE GROWTH
 
Ongoing projects: CH4LLENGE, QUEST, NET-COM, PRESTO, BSR InnoShip, GREENCIT, Environmental bulletin, UBC Sustainability Survey 2013 etc.
 
Reported by Björn Grönholm, Head of the Commission Secretariat, Turku
 
6.3 Commission on Local Safety
 
Meetings
- Gdańsk, 6–7 September 2012, Part of the 3rd Congress of Active Mobility
- Jelgava, 12–14 June 2013
 
Safe&Cool Competition Winner: Secondary School No. 16, Gdańsk, Prize: €2,000
 
Projects
- The European Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN) Best Practice Conference and the European Crime Prevention Award 2013
- EUSBSR Priority Area Secure – Protection from emergencies and accidents on land, coordinated by Sweden and the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) Secretariat
 
Planned -  competition for the UBC members’ schools - international quiz testing and promoting knowledge of general safety rules
 
Reported by Leszek Walczak, Chairman of the Commission, Gdańsk
 
The reports were followed by a discussion, Board members posed questions to the rapporteurs concerning the activities of the Commissions.
 
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.
 
7.         XII UBC General Conference, Mariehamn, 1-4 October 2013, “Investing in young people”.
 
The XII General Conference of the Union of the Baltic Cities will be held on 1-4 October 2013 in Mariehamn, capital of the autonomous region of Åland, Finland. Mayors of Baltic Sea cities, senior representatives of governments, international organisations, businesses and other sectors of the society will meet to discuss the recent developments and future challenges of our region, and especially the prospects of youth in our region.
 
President Per Bødker Andersen presented latest programme of the forthcoming General Conference as follows.
 
7.1       Welcome words
 
Sauli Niinistö, President of the Republic of Finland unfortunately will not be able to attend so another high level representative of the Republic of Finland shall welcome the conference
Petri Carlsson, Chairman of Mariehamn Executive Board
Camilla Gunell, Head of the Government of Åland
Per Bødker Andersen, President of UBC
 
7.2       Speakers invited to plenary session
 
- Mr Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso, President, Committee of the Regions (tbc)
- representatives of Baltic Sea youth
- Ambassador Satu Mattila, Chairperson of CSO of the Council of the Baltic Sea States
- Mr Paweł Orłowski, Vice-Minister of Regional Development, Republic of Poland
- Mr Michael Ralph, Adviser to the Director-General Walter Deffaa, Director General, DG Regional Policy, European Commission
- Mr Christian Weinberger, Senior Adviser SMEs & Entrepreneurship, DG Enterprise and Industry, European Commission
- Mr Uwe Polkaehn, President, Confederation of German Trade Unions DGB-Nord
- Ms Nina Oding, Head of the Research Department of the Leontief Centre, St.Petersburg
- Ms Pirjo Väänänen, Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions – SAK
- Representative of BSR industry sector, Finnish Employers Union
 
Mayors (Cities) speakers:
- Mr Gunnar Bakke, Commissioner, City of Bergen
- Dr Susanne Gaschke, Mayor of Kiel
- Mr Vytautas Grubliauskas, Mayor of Klaipeda
- Mr Gunars Ansins, Vice-Mayor of Liepaja
- Mr Kent Andersson, Chairman of City Council, Malmö (tbc)
- Mr Roland Methling, Mayor of Rostock
- Ms Anastasia Ermakova, Head of Department for Relations with Students and Youth Support Initiatives, St.Petersburg
- Mr Taavi Aas, Vice-Mayor of Tallinn
- Ms Leena Kostiainen, Vice-Mayor of Tampere
- Ms Marie-Louise Rönnmark, Mayor of Umeå
 
7.3       Meetings of UBC Commissions
 
7.4       Conference workshops
 
W1.  How to prevent & fight unemployment among youth
Coordination:  Commission on Business
Support:  Commission on Education
                       
W2.  Youth empowerment and non-formal education with gender perspective
Coordination:  Åland Peace Institute
 
W3.  Green Growth for UBC Cities
Coordination:  Commission on Environment
 
W.4  Regional INTERREG IV Programmes for the Baltic Sea Region
Coordination: Central Baltic & South Baltic Technical Secretariats
 
Commission on Youth will also contribute to above workshops.
 
7.5       Amendments in the Statute
 
7.6       Auditor’s Report
Auditor’s report for 2011 and 2012 was sent out to the member cities on 3 June 2013.
 
7.7       Board of Audit Report
Board of Audit inspected UBC Secretariat in Gdańsk on 8 May 2013. Board of Audit report is under preparation.
 
7.8       Absolving the Presidium, Board, Secretary
 
7.9       Membership Fees 2014-2015
 
7.10     Executive Board in the next period
 
7.11     President and Vice-Presidents in the next period
 
7.12     Board of Audit in the next period
 
7.13     Auditor in the next period
 
7.14     Venue of the XIII UBC General Conference in autumn 2015
 
The Board encouraged all member cities to participate in the General Conference in Mariehamn. The Board reminded the cities to submit candidatures to respective UBC organs.
 
 
8.         UBC development.
 
The Executive Board established the Task Force in June 2011 in Karlstad with the aim how to strengthen the performance of the organisation. The task force has produced the report presented at the Board meeting in Umeå, 8 March 2013. The report is attached to the minutes.
 
The Board decided to send out the TF report to the member cities and commissions for comments to be returned by 31 May 2013. A number of member cities and commissions provided comments which are available at:
www.ubc.net/documentation,76,2466.html
 
The Board went through the Task Force proposals.
 
Point one of TF report titled “UBC working methods” includes proposals how to improve work of: Executive Board, Presidium, Secretariat, Commissions, General Conference, Election procedures, Visions and objectives, Communication. The Board supported the proposals.
 
The Board noted that the organs of the Union are requested to start implementing the TF proposals. At this moment this applies to the working methods and not yet to the Statute.
President Andersen said that the proposals concerning internal regulations shall be decided upon after the revised Statute has been adopted.
 
Point two of TF report includes recommendations for changes in UBC Statute. Based on TF findings the Board worked out proposals of amendments in the Statute to be presented to the General Conference. The proposals are attached to the minutes.
 
One issue namely the proposal of the city of Växjö concerning appointment of the nominating committee responsible for preparation of the elections was not supported by the Board. Three members were in favour, seven members against, one abstained, one was not present during voting.
 
The Board also discussed the question of consolidation of the Commissions in order to improve the efficiency of the UBC work according to the decision at the General Conference in Kristiansand. Currently UBC has 13 Commissions.
 
President Andersen expressed thoughts on the possible cooperation between different Commissions. Other Board members expressed other combinations.
 
President’s considerations were as follows:
1. Business + Education
2. Environment + Energy
3. Urban Planning + Local Safety + Transportation
4. Culture + Sport + Tourism
5. Health and Social Affairs
Horizontal Commissions or networks:
6. Gender Equality
7. Youth Issues
President stressed his proposal is just an example.
 
The Board agreed that the Board members shall send their proposals to the Secretariat by 1 July 2013. Later on all proposals are to be sent to the Commissions for consultations before the General Conference in Mariehamn.
The Board decided to include this issue on the agenda of the General Conference in Mariehamn. The Board will make a proposal on this issue in the spirit of the Kristiansand Strategy. The Board shall consider all suggestions in an open procedure.
 
9.         Evaluation of the Commissions. Funding for 2013.
 
The Executive Board decided to adopt commissions’ evaluation criteria at the meeting in Rakvere on 24 May 2012.
 
At the meeting in Koszalin, 4 October 2013, the Board decided to approve the mechanism and timetable of this evaluation. The UBC commissions were invited to submit the requested information to the secretariat. The amount of financial support to commissions in 2013 is to be based on this evaluation.
 
At the meeting in Umeå, 8 March 2013, the Board authorised the Presidium to decide on Commissions' funding for 2013.
 
Commissions reports and applications are available at:
www.ubc.net/commissions,21,2052.html
 
In Umeå the Board authorised the Presidium to decide on the final budget including Commissions' funding for 2013.
The Board authorised the Presidium to contact some Commissions to clarify their action plans - several commissions have been contacted.
The Board decided the Commissions are not allowed to give away grants and prizes with the UBC money in the future.
 
After evaluating Commissions’ reports, activities and action plans the Presidium decided to grant the resources in 2013 to the commissions as follows (figures in EUR):
 
Commission on Business 8.000
Commission on Culture 9.000
Commission on Education 5.000
Commission on Energy 5.000
Commission on Environment 20.000 including 10.000 for sustainability survey
Commission on Gender Equality 7.000
Commission on Health and Social Affairs 8.000
Commission on Local Safety 10.000
Commission on Sport 5.000
Commission on Tourism 5.000
Commission on Transportation 5.000
Commission on Urban Planning 14.000
Commission on Youth Issues 10.000 EUR for activities + extra up to 3000 EUR for preparations to the General Conference.
 
The figures include the amounts of money unspent by the Commissions in previous years.
 
Not more than 40% can be spent by the lead city(s) for: secretariat, remunerations (including projects), subcontractors, travel, mailing, office supplies, promotion materials. Any changes in the commission budget require President's approval.
 
The Board confirmed the above assignment of the resources for the Commissions in 2013.
 
10.       Information from Strategy Coordinator on UBC Strategy.
Strategy Coordinator Mikko Lohikoski informed that the key issues of the Strategy have been  discussed by the Board under the TF report (point 8 of the agenda).
 
11.       Any other business.
 
11.1     Baltic Cities Bulletin “Education through Culture”.
Secretary General Paweł Żaboklicki informed the latest issue of the Bulletin presents the cities’ activities combining the culture/art and education. The stories bring a wide range of experiences involving cultural and artistic institutions in schools, including art lessons into curricula, pro-active city initiatives, and enhancing the intercultural dialogue with immigrants. 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, cost of printing and posting ca. 4000 EUR.
 
11.2     Inquiry from the University of Rostock.
Karin Wohlgemuth, Rostock, informed that Mr Martin Koschkar, M.A. from the University of Rostock, Institute on Policy and Administration Sciences, Chair on Comparative Governmental Theory / AGOS (Working Group Baltic Sea Region) provided the UBC with a letter introducing  the Working Group Baltic Sea Region.
 
The Working Group Baltic Sea Region is an interdisciplinary collaboration of researchers. Main research interests are: cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region, institutional and organizational analysis,  policy research (environment, security, migration, maritime policy, etc.), election research and  spatial planning/maritime spatial planning.
 
AGOS  has been carrying out the research on the UBC, its impact on integration in the Baltic Sea Region including recommendations on future policy transfer and best practices exchange between UBC member cities. First draft of the study will be available in spring 2014.
 
Ms Wohlgemuth said that Mr Koschkar asked the Board for a possibility to take part in the UBC General Conference in Mariehamn to interview the conference participants and hand out a short questionnaire.
 
The Board agreed to the proposal and asked Ms Wohlgemuth to inform Mr Koschkar accordingly.
 
11.3     37th International City Forum in Kiel.
On 22 June 2013 members of the Executive Board took part in the 37th International City Forum “The convention on the rights of people with disabilities and its implementation in Kiel and its partner cities”. President Per Bødker Andersen gave a speech presenting status of convention implementation in the cities of the Baltic Sea Region. Presentation was based on the results of the survey carried out in the UBC member cities. The survey was conducted and analysed by Wolfgang Schmidt and Astrid Witte from the City of Kiel. The speech is enclosed along with other documents.
 
12.       Next 68th UBC Executive Board meeting, Mariehamn, 1 October 2013.
 
The next 68th UBC Executive Board meeting will be held in Mariehamn on 1 October 2013 on the eve of the XII General Conference.
 
The documents are available at:
http://www.ubc.net/documentation,76,2365.html
 
Per Bødker Andersen                                                            Paweł Żaboklicki
Chairperson                                                                          Secretary
 
Wolfgang Schmidt                                                                Marketta Mäkinen
Adjuster                                                                               Adjuster