Sustainable Cities Bulletin 3/2018

Dear UBC colleagues,

last week IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change came out with an alarming report on the impacts of global warming. The report puts us all in a situation where we need to demand and pursue for urgent changes for sustaining our conditions all over the globe.

For our UBC cities, this is a decisive moment. Urban areas all over the world are key players with respect to climate change. Also majority of our countries inhabitants live in cities that will be with no doubt affected by climate change impacts such as urban and river floods after heavy rain events or heat stress, decreasingly in the future. Climate change is already here, it’s influencing our everyday life. Now it’s time to act in our Baltic Sea Region. What can we do to further increase our ambitions and mitigate more? How do we get the political will?

In the political field we are in the middle of interesting election season. In September Sweden had both local and national elections and in the beginning of October Latvia voted in national elections. The local elections in Poland are held in October-November and Estonia, Lithuania and Finland are preparing for parliamentary elections that will take place in March 2019. EU elections are also coming up in May 2019.

The European Elections are crucial as we are deciding on the direction of EU politics as well as the EU budget. As the EU is stepping into a new programme and funding period, it is important that we and our actions are heard and seen. When it comes to the possibilities to cooperate and build our common future, EU funding is vital for our region. EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and EU funding instruments have also been guiding and supporting the strong development we have in the Baltic Sea Region and in our cities, and we want to keep this improvement continuous.

When it comes to the good development, again several projects and cities have gained great progress. I have witnessed considerable evolution with new tools and methods that support smart urban development. Behind these results, we have skillful and ambitious people working in several cities. Forerunner cities like Riga, Tallinn, Norrtälje, Rostock, Tartu and Turku have allocated a lot of resources for joint ventures and they are in many ways great examples of high level cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region. Let’s keep this spirit up for the future as well!

In addition, I would like to thank the city of Klaipeda for hosting our successful UBC Commission meeting in September. Next time we meet in May 2019 in Jurmala!

Björn Grönholm
Head of Secretariat
Union of the Baltic Cities – Sustainable Cities Commission

30.01.2019 (All day)

Back in 2016, UBC and CDP agreed upon collaboration between the two organizations with the first cooperation activities taking place in spring 2017. As a result, UBC doubled the number of cities reporting to CDP from 6 to 20. This year, the number of the cities disclosing to CDP grew to 28 in despite of the busiest holiday season.

Baltic Urban Lab Final Conference on ”Dealing with the Past & Planning for the Future – turning urban brownfields into possibilities” was held 6-7 September 2018 in Riga, Latvia.

UBC Sustainable Cities Commission will be continuing with the UBC webinar series, this time returning with the topic of urban planning.

Integrated Stormwater Management (iWater) project held its final conference on 7–8 May 2018 in Riga and Jelgava, Latvia. iWater aims at improving urban planning by development of integrated and multifunctional stormwater management, thus creating higher quality, cleaner and safer urban environment and increasing urban sustainability. The event successfully concluded the project that has engaged over 500 stakeholders and produced several tangible outputs.

Are you a mobility practitioner, working in a city administration, a NGO, company or at a research institution? Are you interested in sustainable urban mobility planning or already experienced with SUMPs?

During the past weeks and months, we have received good news: three new projects will start! One will be led by UBC SCC, in the two others we are involved as a partner.

The cities.multimodal city partners are testing different kind of measures for increasing multimodality and for changing mobility behavior in their pilot areas.

In mid-September the UBC Sustainable Cities Commission gathered in the Baltic Sea coast city Klaipeda, Lithuania for the annual commission meeting! This year’s meeting on sustainable urban mobility gathered representatives from 16 different UBC cities.

IWAMA Workshop in Gdansk

The IWAMA project organized its last capacity development workshop on “Constructional and operational challenges” in wastewater treatment sector. The event was held in Gdańsk, Poland, on 19–21 September 2018, attracting more than 70 participants from the water sector in the Baltic Sea Region.

We are pleased to introduce to you some new additions to our staff.