Welcome to the XIV UBC General Conference 24–27 October 2017

Call for leadership and unity accross Europe

With nearly 300 high-level politicians, city officials, other experts and youth across the Baltic Sea Region participating, the XIV Union of the Baltic Cities (UBC) General Conference will be held in Växjö, Sweden, on 24–27 October 2017. The theme of the General Conference is "Leadership for the future – Cities as leaders for glocal sustainable development". The conference holds also the 25th Anniversary session of the UBC, founded in 1991 in Gdańsk.  The statutory General Assembly of the UBC will take place during the conference on 26 October 2017.

In the face of the fundamental challenges that Europe has to encounter today, such as the rise of populism and nationalism, the UBC General Conference will emphasize the Baltic Sea Region cities’ attachment to the European values of freedom, democracy, tripartite separation of powers, equality, tolerance, and diversity. The UBC General Conference will also feature a strong involvement of over 60 youth representatives from the Baltic Sea Region.

– We live in challenging times, which require that cities stand up and show leadership. The UBC General Conference in Växjö, celebrating the UBC’s 25th Anniversary and achievements, is the natural forum to seek effective solutions to common challenges, such as climate, jobs, growth, integration and security, states President of the UBC Per Bødker Andersen.

The General Conference hosts top-level speakers across the Baltic Sea Region, such as Karl-Heinz Lambertz, President of the Committee of the Regions, Lena Ek, Senior Advisor in Sustainable Seas Foundation and Former Minister of Environment in Sweden, Peter Schenk, Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy in European Commission, Krista Kampus, Senior Adviser/Head of the Baltic 2030 Unit at the Council of the Baltic Sea States, Anne Stenros, Design Director in the City of Helsinki, Alessandro Cenderello, Managing Partner for EU Institutions at Ernst & Young, Shirin Reuvers, Cities Manager at CDP, Pärtel-Peeter Pere, CEO and partner at Future Place Leadership, and Edgar Nazarenus and Vincent Weseloh from Capufaktur.

As speakers and panellists, esteemed Mayors and other representatives from UBC member cities will take part in the discussions on leadership and the future of the Baltic Sea Region. Keynote speakers include Per Schöldberg, Deputy Mayor of Växjö Municipality, Piotr Grzelak, Deputy Mayor of Gdańsk, Jørgen Kristiansen, Deputy Mayor of Kristiansand, Gunars Ansins, Deputy Mayor of Liepaja, Jaana Simula, Cultural Chief in the City of Pori, Wolfgang Röttgers, Councillor in the City of Kiel, Rasa Šnapštienė, Deputy Mayor of Kaunas, Carina Svensson, Chair of Environmental Board in Malmö, Jyrki Myllyvirta, Mayor of Lahti, Mantas Jurgutis, Member of Kaunas City Council, and Oliver Rosengren, Deputy Mayor of Växjö Municipality.

The plenary sessions and the statutory UBC General Conference during 25–26 October will be streamed live at Streaming times are Wednesday 25 Oct. at 13.30–15.00 and 15.30–17.30, and Thursday 26 Oct. at 09.00–10.30, 11.00–13.00 and 16.00–17.15. The plenary sessions will also be available as videos.

Växjö – “The Greenest City in Europe” and winner of the European Green Leaf Award 2018

Växjö, the host city of the XIV UBC General Conference, is an exciting combination of idyllic small town, university town and centre of entertainment – a strong regional centre in the middle of the south of Sweden. Businesses, the arenas, the university, environmental work and above all the city’s energy and ambitious spirit are all growing fast.

– Växjö is honored to host the XIV UBC General Conference. Mayors and local leaders are part of the solution for an open and sustainable Baltic Sea Region, and we as leaders must use our local power for a positive development of the entire region. Our mission goes beyond our city borders, emphasizes Lord Mayor of Växjö Bo Frank.

Växjö has a growth rate comparable to Sweden’s major cities and a renowned environmental policy.

– Sustainability is high on the agenda in Växjö and we have a long tradition on working with other actors in our Municipality and the world to develop our city. Ten years ago, our achievements gave us the reputation of being ‘The Greenest City in Europe’ and a few months ago, this reputation was even further strengthened when we were awarded the ‘European Green Leaf Award’ for 2018.

Watch a one-minute movie welcoming you to Växjö, named by the European Commission as the greenest city in Europe.

UBC Youth Conference focuses on young people’s role in decision-making and shaping our common future

Parallel to the XIV UBC General Conference, UBC Youthful Cities Commission organises a Youth Conference with around 70 participants. The Youth Conference is partly funded by EU Erasmus+ program and brings together young people from 13 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 possibly 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.

During a briefing session on Wednesday 25 October, the youth are presented with tasks, issues or problems from the other UBC Commissions. Young people will then have 24 hours to come up with comments, views or solutions to them. These will be presented on the morning of Thursday 26 October in the plenary session “Listening to the Voices of Tomorrow”.
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