IX General Conference, Pärnu, 27-28 September 2007

IX General Conference, Pärnu, 27-28 September 2007

Document category: 

REPORT OF THE IX GENERAL CONFERENCE

INTRODUCTION

The IX General Conference of the Union of the Baltic Cities was held on 26-29 September 2007 in Pärnu, Estonia, at the invitation of the Mayor of Pärnu.

The first day of the Conference was devoted to three main topics: Cities' response to the climate change, Culture as a driving force for municipal development, Involvement of youth in democracy and in the life of the society. The second day was devoted to internal UBC matters such as reports, elections, finances etc. The Conference programme is enclosed with the report.

 The Conference was attended by 276 participants including representatives of 81 Member Cities as well as invited guests from international institutions. The list of participants is attached to this report.

THURSDAY, 27 SEPTEMBER 2007

PLENARY SESSION

Mr Mart Viisitamm, Mayor of the City of Pärnu, warmly welcomed all participants at the IX UBC General Conference in Pärnu.

Mr Per Bødker Andersen, President of the Union of the Baltic Cities, opened the IX General Conference of the Union of the Baltic Cities.

The following speakers delivered keynote addresses during the plenary session:

Ambassador Valdis Krastins, Chairman of the Committee of Senior Officials, Council of the Baltic Sea States, Latvia

Mr Jüri Ratas, Vice President of Riigikogu - the Parliament of the Republic of Estonia

Mr Alan Lloyd, Vice-President of the Bureau of the Congress of Local & Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe

Mr Uno Aldegren, President of RELEX commission, on behalf of the President of the Committee of the Regions, Mayor of Dunkerque, Michel Delebarre,

Mr Toivo Klaar, representative of the European Commission, Head of Representation in Estonia, 

Mr Xosé António Sánchez Bugallo, Mayor of Santiago de Compostela, President of the Conference of Atlantic Arc Cities,

Mr Michel Sudarskis, Secretary General of International Urban Development Association INTA.

The keynote speeches are enclosed with the report.

CONFERENCE WORKSHOPS

The following workshops were held concurrently after the plenary session:

I. Cities' response to the climate change.

Workshop introduced by prof. Björn G. Karlsson, Institute of Technology, Division Energy Systems,  University of Linköping

II. Culture as driving force for municipal development.

Workshop introduced by Ms Marie-Louise Rönnmark, 1st Vice-President of the Union of the Baltic Cities, Mayor of Umeå

III. Involvement of youth in democracy and in the life of the society.

Workshop introduced by Charlotte Gustafsson, Chairperson of the UBC Commission on Youth Issues, Kalmar

The workshop summaries are enclosed with the conference report.

FRIDAY, 28 SEPTEMBER 2007

COMMISSION MEETINGS

In the morning the UBC Commissions held working meetings in order to discuss reports for the last period and action plans for the next two-year period.

OPENING OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

The General Assembly was opened by Mr Per Bødker Andersen, President of the Union

REPORT ON UBC ACTIVITIES

President Per Bødker Andersen submitted the report on UBC activities during the period October 2005 - September 2007. The UBC activity report is enclosed. The General Conference approved the report on UBC activities October 2005 - September 2007.

REPORTS OF THE COMMISSIONS

The following representatives of the Commissions submitted reports and action plans to the assembly:

Commission on Business Cooperation - Ms Agne Banaitiene

Commission on Culture - Ms Tarja Hautamäki

Commission on Education - Mr Anders Olander, Ms Karin Pettersson

Commission on Energy - Mr Stefan Windh

Commission on Environment - Mr Björn Grönholm

Commission on Gender Equality - Ms Aurora Moberg

Commission on Health and Social Affairs - Ms Karin Wohlgemuth

Commission on Information Society - Ms Esa Kokkonen

Commission on Sport - Ms Beata Łęgowska

Commission on Tourism - Mr Ryszard Zdrojewski

Commission on Transportation - Mr Marcin Wołek

Commission on Urban Planning - Ms Sirpa Kallio

Commission on Youth Issues - Ms Charlotte Gustafsson

EU-Coordinators Network - Ms Alexandra Kienzle-Andrejew

The Conference took note of the reports. The activity reports and action plans of the commissions are enclosed.

AUDITOR'S REPORT

Mr Paweł Żaboklicki, UBC Secretary General, presented the auditor's report on UBC accounts for 2005-2006 prepared by the licensed auditing company BILANS from Gdańsk, stating that the Union financial transactions and records within the mentioned period had been handled properly. The Conference took note of the report. The auditor's report is enclosed with this publication.

BOARD OF AUDIT REPORT

Ms Ewa Back, Councillor, Sundsvall, presented the report and recommendations of the Board of Audit. The General Conference took note of the report. The report of the Board of Audit is enclosed.

ACKNOWLEDGING THE FULFILMENT OF DUTIES BY THE PRESIDIUM AND THE SECRETARY

The Board of Audit proposed to the General Conference to acknowledge the fulfilment of duties by the Presidium and the Secretary General in 2005 and 2006.

The General Conference acknowledged the fulfilment of duties by the Presidium and the Secretary General in 2005 and 2006. The Board of Audit suggested the fulfilment of duties shall concern also the Executive Board. The General Conference agreed and authorised the secretariat to prepare relevant amendment in the statute for the next conference.

MEMBERSHIP FEES 2008-2009

The President presented the Executive Board's proposal of the new membership fees for 2008 and 2009. The General Conference approved the membership fees for the financial period 2008-2009. The financial documents are enclosed with the report.

ELECTION OF THE EXECUTIVE BOARD

The following cities were elected as members of UBC Executive Board in the next two-year period:

Naestved (Denmark), Kärdla (Estonia), Kemi (Finland), Rostock (Germany), Liepaja (Latvia), Panevezys (Lithuania), Kristiansand (Norway), Gdańsk (Poland), St.Petersburg (Russia), Växjö (Sweden).

ELECTION OF THE PRESIDENT AND VICE-PRESIDENTS

The General Conference elected for a two-year period:

Mr Per Bødker Andersen, Mayor of Kolding, as President of the Union

Ms Marie-Louise Rönnmark, Mayor of Umea, as first Vice-President of the Union

Ms Urve Tiidus, Mayor of Kuressaare, as Vice-President of the Union

Mr Jarkko Virtanen, Vice-Mayor of Turku, as Vice-President of the Union

ELECTION OF THE BOARD OF AUDIT

The General Conference re-elected Ms Ewa Back, Ms Marta Chełkowska and Ms Silvia Löbner to the UBC Board of Audit for a two-year period.

UBC AUDITOR FOR 2007-2008

The President informed the Conference that the Executive Board proposed the licensed auditing company BILANS from Gdańsk as UBC auditor for 2007-2008. The General Conference approved BILANS as UBC auditor for 2007-2008.

SECRETARIAT

Following the proposal of the Mayor of the City of Gdańsk, Mr Paweł Adamowicz, the General Conference decided to maintain the UBC Secretariat in the City of Gdańsk, for the next four-year period.

CONFERENCE RESOLUTION

President Per Boedker Andersen presented a proposal of the resolution from the IX UBC General Conference on the climate change. The General Conference unanimously adopted the resolution. The resolution is enclosed with the report.

ENVIRONMENTAL AND CULTURE AWARD

The Best Environmental Practice in Baltic Cities Award 2007 was granted to the Växjö, Sweden, for sustainable energy management. The winner received a grant of 5.000 EUR donated by Per Aarsleff A/S, Aarhus,Denmark. The report of the Award Committee is enclosed.

The Cultural Prize 2006-2007 for the best innovative cultural activity was awarded to Umeå municipality for the Library 2007 project. The awards granting ceremony took place on 28 September during the official dinner at Parnu Concert Hall.

VENUE OF THE GENERAL CONFERENCE IN 2009

Following the proposal of the Mayor of Kristiansand, the General Conference decided to hold its 10th meeting in the City of Kristiansand in the year 2009. Mr Simmo Saar, Deputy Mayor of Pärnu, handed over the UBC flag to Mr Bjarne Ugland, Deputy Mayor of Kristiansand, wishing Kristiansand a successful conference in 2009.

OTHER MATTERS 

In parallel with the General Conference the UBC Youth Conference titled "Under the Surface" was held at the same time in Pärnu. The conference was attended by over 100 young people from UBC member cities. Both conferences interacted at the workshop on youth involvement in democracy and in the life of society. More information about the youth conference at  www.ubc-youth.org.

Mr Jarkko Virtanen, Vice-Mayor of Turku, presented joint Turku and Helsinki initiative to improve the state of the Baltic Sea through active cooperation of all stakeholders. The cities have agreed on concrete actions which aim at improving the quality of water in the Baltic Sea. Turku and Helsinki invited all UBC member cities to endorse and join this initiative. The intervention of Mr Virtanen is enclosed with the report. 

CLOSING OF THE CONFERENCE

Mr Per Bødker Andersen, the President of the Union, expressed his warm thanks to the City of Pärnu, delegates from member cities, speakers, guests and the UBC secretariat for their outstanding contribution to the success of the IX UBC General Conference.