Season's greetings from Mantas Jurgutis, the President of UBC

Dear UBC Friends,

what an extremely difficult year we have behind us! The pandemic has dramatically changed our lives posing many challenges to our relations, economies, policies.
During this time, the UBC network has continued its work in exchanging good practices, building capacities and looking for technological solutions to turn the crisis into opportunities as much as possible. We’ve actually had a very busy year.

Two Executive Board meetings were held online to let the organisation move forward. Our Commissions organized different thematic webinars to exchange approaches and measures taken in the cities towards pandemic, and to mobilize and support each other in various fields, e.g. culture, tourism, or safety. The projects have been run smoothly, though majority of activities moved online.

The UBC Antenna in Brussels has been launched this spring and some activities related to advocacy and lobbying, increasing the visibility of UBC among European institutions and preparing the ground for greater involvement in relevant EU policy dialogues have been run. The UBC policy work has been also developed e.g. through the Task force for policy and projects. One of its aims is to create a comprehensive policy framework and position papers on relevant topics for UBC which are Urban Agenda for EU, Cohesion policies beyond 2020, Climate Change and Sustainable Development, Resilient UBC Cities. Moreover, we are working on the new UBC Strategy for 2021–2030. All these positive changes will make us stronger, more efficient, and will raise our profile so that we can even better serve the needs of our member cities.

We are approaching the end of 2020 with a series of EUSBSR workshops succeeded. Our work within HA Capacity towards ensuring that all levels and different stakeholders are mobilised to fully use the EUSBSR potential has been appreciated.

Last, but not least, a number of members increased in 2020. We welcome the cities of Hamburg and Valmiera in the UBC family. Also, three Ukrainian cities are interested to become associated cities.

We keep striving to turn obstacles into chances for something new and, also, to develop our societies further, despite the current global situation. I’m convinced we cannot just wait for the crisis to pass – instead we should continue with all our important work. Our cities and societies are challenged to become even more proactive, more unified, more resilient. This is why the theme of the next UBC General Conference is “Resilient Baltic Sea Cities. Tackling the challenges and creating the future(s).” I do hope we will be able to meet at this conference in the autumn 2021 and to finally shake hands.

Thank you very much for our cooperation this year! It’s good to know we have someone to rely on in such a demanding time.

I wish you all health, peace and hope this Christmas and a happy New Year!

President of the UBC
Mantas Jurgutis