XII General Conference, Mariehamn, 1-4 October 2013

The XII General Conference of the Union of the Baltic Cities was held on 1-4 October 2013 in Mariehamn, Åland islands, Finland, at the invitation of Petri Carlsson, Chairman of Mariehamn Executive Board and Edgar Vickström, Mayor of Mariehamn.
The first day of the conference was titled “Investing in young people. Combating youth unemployment and marginalization – from words into action”. The conference discussed measures how to promote employment, education and well-being among youth.
The second conference day started with the meetings of the commissions followed by four parallel workshops devoted to youth employment, youth empowerment, green growth, Interreg programmes. The second day was also devoted to the internal UBC matters such as reports, elections, finances, etc.
The conference was attended by 200 participants including representatives of 65 Member Cities, over 50 young people, as well as invited guests from governments, international organisations, business, trade unions, NGOs. List of participants is enclosed.
Per Boedker Andersen, the President of the Union of the Baltic Cities, opened the XII UBC General Conference.
Camilla Gunell, Head of the Government of Åland and Petri Carlsson, Chairman of Mariehamn Executive Board warmly welcomed the participants.
The first day of the conference was moderated by Anna Sorainen, Ground Communications, an entrepreneur, who has worked for over twenty years in the fields of media, communications and marketing.
The following speakers delivered presentations during the plenary sessions:
– Promoting smart development and well-being in the Baltic Sea Region
Paweł Orłowski, Vice-Minister of Regional Development, Republic of Poland
Ambassador Satu Mattila, Chairperson of CSO of the Council of the Baltic Sea States
Pauliina Haijanen, 2nd Vice Chair of the Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy of the Committee of the Regions,  rapporteur on “Evaluation of macro-regional strategies”
Michael Ralph, Adviser to the Director-General Walter Deffaa, DG Regional Policy, European Commission
Nina Oding, Head of the Research Department of the Leontief Centre, St.Petersburg
– UBC  Programme to promote youth employment and well-being
Matti Mäkelä, Head of the Project Management Office, Turku, Action Plan of Cities for Youth Employment and Well-Being
Johan Andersson, Falun, UBC Commission on Youth Issues
– Private sector and trade unions’ actions in combating youth unemployment and marginalisation
Christian Weinberger, Senior Adviser SMEs & Entrepreneurship, DG Enterprise and Industry, European Commission
Uwe Polkaehn, President, Confederation of German Trade Unions DGB-Nord
Pirjo Väänänen, Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions – SAK
Mikael Backman, CEO of Viking Line
– Examples of cities initiatives and projects directed to youth
Gunnar Bakke, Commissioner, City of Bergen
Susanne Gaschke, Mayor of Kiel
Vytautas Grubliauskas, Mayor of Klaipėda
Gunars Ansins, Vice-Mayor of Liepāja
Marie-Louise Rönnmark, Mayor of Umeå
Roland Methling, Mayor of Rostock
Viktoriia  Shuvalova, leading specialist of the Department of social programmes and cooperation with NGOs, St. Petersburg
Taavi Aas, Vice-Mayor of Tallinn
Presentation and speeches are enclosed.
The Commissions held working meetings in order to discuss action plans for the next two-year period. The question of Commissions’ consolidation was also discussed.
The following four conference workshops were held in parallel:
I. How to prevent & fight unemployment among youth
Coordination:  Commission on Business
Support:  Commission on Education
II. Youth empowerment and non-formal education with gender perspective
Coordination:  Åland Peace Institute
III. Green Growth for UBC Cities
Coordination:  Commission on Environment
IV. Regional INTERREG IV Programmes for the Baltic Sea Region
Coordination: Central Baltic & South Baltic Technical Secretariats
The workshops’ summaries are enclosed.
In parallel with the General Conference the UBC Youth Conference in the framework of a youth exchange “The Baltic Youth”, was held at the same time in Mariehamn. The exchange was funded by the EU programme “Youth in Action”. The conference was attended by over 50 young people from 14 UBC member cities. The youngsters took part in the plenary session contributing with speech, theatre play, flash mobs, posters. Young people also participated in the conference workshops.
More information about the youth conference at
The General Assembly was opened by Per Boedker Andersen, the President of the Union.
President Per Bødker Andersen submitted the report on UBC activities during the period October 2011 – September 2013. The UBC activity report is enclosed. The General Conference approved the report.
Mikko Lohikoski, UBC Strategy Coordinator, informed about the progress on the implementation of the UBC Strategy 2010-2015.
President Per Boedker Andersen reminded that based on findings of the Task Force on UBC Development, the Executive Board worked out proposals of amendments in the Statute to be presented to the General Conference. The General Conference decided to adopt the amendments. The amended Statute is attached.
Resolution on Commissions consolidation process
The UBC has been discussing the issue of consolidation of the Commissions in order to improve the efficiency of the UBC work. The General Conference mandates the new Executive Board of UBC to actively continue dialogue on the structure and content of the UBC Commissions and obliges the Board to reach a decision on the issue during the year 2014, so that starting from 1.1.2015 the UBC shall have between five to seven Commissions which start to be operative from that date. The old Commission structure ceases to be in force on the same date.  The resolution is enclosed.
Resolution on task force to promote youth employment
General Conference decided to set up a task force on youth employment and well-being. It shall work until the next UBC General Conference 2015, in which it is invited to submit its final report. Meanwhile the TF is encouraged to present proposals and initiatives to the UBC Board.  Participation in the TF is open also to other institutions. The resolution is enclosed.
Resolution on EU Strategy for the BSR
UBC has adopted a resolution on EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region in order to actively support it so that it will gain more high-level political commitment. The resolution stresses that the national governments, parliamentarians as well as regional and local decision-makers should be more involved. Much more efforts should be given to informing and mobilizing the public about the goals and practical achievements of the Strategy.  The resolution is attached.
Paweł Żaboklicki, Secretary General, informed the General Conference that the audit of UBC accounts for 2011 and 2012 had been performed by the licensed auditing company Bilans from Gdańsk. The report states that the Union financial transactions and records within the mentioned period have been handled properly. The conference took note of the report. The auditor’s report is enclosed.
Ewa Back, member of UBC Board of Audit, Councillor, Västernorrland, 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.
Following the proposal of the Board of Audit, the General Conference acknowledged the fulfilment of duties by the Executive Board, Presidium, Secretary General in 2011 and 2012.
Secretary General Paweł Żaboklicki presented the Executive Board’s proposal of the membership fees for 2014 and 2015. The General Conference approved the membership fees for the financial period 2014-2015. The table with fees is enclosed.
After appointment/election amongst the member cities in each country the following cities were confirmed as members of UBC Executive Board in the next two-year period:
Naestved (Denmark),  Elva (Estonia), Jyväskylä (Finland), Rostock (Germany), Liepāja (Latvia), Šiauliai (Lithuania), Kristiansand (Norway), Gdańsk (Poland), St. Petersburg (Russia), Växjö (Sweden).
The General Conference elected for a two-year period:
Per Boedker Andersen, Deputy Mayor of Kolding, as President of the Union
Marie-Louise Rönnmark, Mayor of Umeå, as first Vice-President of the Union
Jarkko Virtanen, the Deputy Mayor of Turku, as Vice-President of the Union
Taavi Aas, the Deputy Mayor of Tallinn, as Vice-President of the Union
The General Conference re-appointed Ewa Back, Councillor, Västernorrland, Marta Chełkowska, Director of Tourism Department, Pomeranian Region, Jukka Vilen, City Director, Kemi, to the UBC Board of Audit for a two-year period.
AUDITOR FOR 2013-2014
The General Conference appointed the licensed auditing company Bilans from Gdańsk as the UBC auditor for 2013-2014.
Following the proposal of the Mayor of Gdynia, Poland, the General Conference decided to hold its XIII gathering in the City of Gdynia in 2015.
BSR Urban Forum for Smart Cities (BUF)
During the General Conference a promotion event ‘Could your city be smarter ?’ was held presenting the new initiative: Urban Forum for Smart Cities. The goal of this project is to create an open platform for achieving positive changes in the citizen’s living and working environment and for enabling companies to bring new smart products into the market. The Urban Forum, now under preparation, will bring creative businesses and cities together to seek innovative solutions. The project is initiated jointly by UBC and BDF. The project is coordinated by the Smart City Lab Tartu on behalf of UBC. It is funded by the Seed Money Facility of the EUSBSR.
Per Boedker Andersen, the President of the Union, expressed his warm thanks to the City of Mariehamn, delegates from member cities, young people, speakers, guests and the UBC secretariat for their outstanding contribution to the success of the XII UBC General Conference.
Per Boedker Andersen                                                                                       Ewa Back
President                                                                                                          Board of Audit
Paweł Żaboklicki

Conference workshops

Workshop 1

Workshop 2

Workshop 3

Workshop 4

Elected members of the Presidium

Auditor's report 2011-2012