Active Stakeholder involvement in UBC Cities

Publication date:
April, 2009

It is our great privilege to live here, in the Baltic Sea Region. However, we are living in a very unique and fragile ecosystem and this privilege entails us to manage here in a responsible and sustainable manner.

The initiative to elaborate a European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) is an outstanding challenge for all of us. The Baltic Sea Region is rich in long-term and fruitful co-operation traditions between cities; different networks of local authorities, and well-functioning exchange of best practices are also of considerable value we can be proud of. As one aim of the BSR Strategy is to improve the already existing co-operation, our achievements can contribute directly towards the European Union’s overall development and all other Member States will benefit from this new kind of experience.

Development of the EU Baltic Sea Region Strategy requires a transparent spirit of co-operation, openness and smoothly working schemes for involvement of all interested parties. It is important to strengthen the sense of ownership towards our common regional goals in all participating Governments as well as other stakeholders. When initiating the Strategy, well-functioning local level networks of the region were actively involved in team-work with their ideas and proposals. I would like to stress that collaboration with local authorities and other interested parties already in the compilation process is a key for implementation of the Strategy - only a multi-stakeholder and open approach in all phases of elaboration is the bases for real success in the future actions.

Sustainable development is the main driving force for the region and therefore I would emphasize the cross-sectoral approach of the Strategy. Efficient use of innovative environmental technologies, sustainable use of natural recourses as well as sustainable lifestyle and changes in our

daily behavior towards more sustainable production and consumption patterns could also be effectively supported through the implementation of the Strategy. Estonia’s own experience proves that economic growth and environmentally sustainable path of development can be achieved if relevant economic and fiscal measures are applied both at national as well as local levels. I do believe that well co-ordinated actions and goal-oriented implementation of the widely agreed targets are supporting national efforts and sending a positive signal to the regional level, and at the same time giving added value to the European Union sustainable development process.

Jaanus Tamkivi
Minister for Environment of Estonia