“Building an inclusive and resident-focused city. The Baltic way”

Nearly 250 high-level politicians, city officials, other experts and youth are participating in the XV Union of the Baltic Cities (UBC) General Conference, held in Kaunas, Lithuania, on 15–18 October 2019. The theme of the General Conference is “Building an inclusive and resident-focused city. The Baltic way”. The statutory General Assembly of the UBC will take place during the conference on 17 October 2019.
One of the main challenges nowadays is the loss of public trust. Is it the quality of government that has been declining, or have the citizens started to expect more? Investing in trust should be considered as a central approach to ensure economic growth and to reinforce the social cohesion. The role of the cities in restoring the public confidence in democratic organisations and values is crucial.
– The UBC General Conference in Kaunas is an open forum to discuss these challenges. We want to focus on the questions of inclusion. How to empower the citizens’ involvement and participation? How to get the youth on board and make them feel responsible for their future? states President of the UBC Per Bødker Andersen.
The XV UBC General Conference will outline the vision of the Inclusive City based on dialogue between inhabitants and decision-makers, offering an interactive and creative forum where ideas can grow and participants are involved actively in exchange. The discussions will concern e.g. urbanization, digitalization, regional and European co-operation. One of the sessions will be devoted to culture as a driving force of the city development.
The main plenary sessions “Inclusive Cities” and “Culture as Catalyst for Cities’ Development” will be streamed live at Streaming times are Wednesday 16 October at 13.30–15.00 and 15.30–17.00. The streamed sessions will also be available as videos in UBC’s YouTube channel.

Top-level speakers across the Baltic Sea Region

 The XV UBC General Conference hosts top-level speakers across the Baltic Sea Region in plenaries and workshops dealing with current themes concerning the issues affecting the BSR. The speakers include Linas Linkevičius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Lithuania, Sirpa Paatero, Minister of Local Government and Ownership Steering of Finland, and Bernd Hemingway, Deputy Director General, Council of the Baltic Sea States Secretariat.
Representatives from UBC member cities and partner organisations will engage in the discussions on the future of the Baltic Sea Region, including Gediminas Kaminskas, Vice-Chair of Kaunas Umbrella Youth Organization "Round Table"; Markku Markkula, 1st Vice President of the Committee of the Regions; Per Schöldberg, MP, Swedish Parliament; Asta Avietė, Programme Manager of the Unit responsible for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, the European Commission; Laurent Sens, Deputy Head of Unit for ESF for Lithuania, European Commission; Virginija Vitkienė, Director, “Kaunas 2022", Saara Malila, Director of Communication, the City of Turku, former Communications Manager, Turku 2011 Foundation; Krzysztof Maj, General Director, European Capital of Culture Wrocław 2016; Fredrik Lindegren, Director of Culture, the City of Umeå, former Artistic Director for Umeå 2014.

Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022

With the population of almost 300 000, Kaunas is one of the most significant cities in Lithuania. It is not only a city of old traditions, but also a large centre of business and industry. It can also lay claim to be the city of young people with over 35 000 students – the largest number in Lithuania. Located on the confluence of the Nemunas and Neris rivers, Kaunas was always fated to become an important historical and cultural city of Lithuania.
During 2022, Kaunas will be the European Capital of Culture.
– It is a pleasure to welcome you to Kaunas – a brilliant green city, the future capital of Europe not only for culture, but also for other innovative decisions and solutions that will bring the whole of the region around the Baltic Sea into one big family. We will share our experience in developing International cooperation and projects as well as underline the importance of inclusiveness as the key factor in the future‘s works, emphasizes Mayor of Kaunas Visvaldas Matijošaitis.

UBC Youth Conference emphasizes young people’s role in decision-making

Parallel to the XV UBC General Conference, UBC Youthful Cities Commission organises a Youth Conference with 70 participants. The Youth Conference is partly funded by EU Erasmus+ program and brings together young people from 12 cities in the Baltic Sea Region.
Purpose of the Youth Conference is to work on common issues such as participation, migration and leadership. Furthermore, the Youth Conference will interact with the UBC General Conference, as the youth participants will take part in many of the sessions in the General Conference to place a youth perspective on the agenda. In addition, the purpose of the Youth Conference is to bring young people from around the region together to network and to share ideas and experiences.

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Media contacts: Irene Pendolin, Communications Manager, Union of the Baltic Cities (UBC),  / +358 40 848 6242

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