Dear UBC Friends, my city, the city of Klaipeda, is just finalising Municipal Environmental Auditing (MEA). It took us a lot of work to carry out the process, but I believe that the results are worth it. We now have solid information of the environmental performance of our city, and pro- posals for improvements given by external experts. These recommendations will hopefully be useful for us when we plan further development and prioritise environmental investments.
The external experts, who evaluated the MEA information and gave the recommendations, came from the UBC, ECAT-Lithuania and our twin city Kotka. I would like to warmly Thank these partners and also the Nordic Minister Council which co-funded the project.
The voluntary expert work provided by our friends from Kotka was invalu- able. This is probably one of the best examples of how twin cities can do beneficial work together! I know that many other UBC cities will soon start MEA, and on behalf of my city I promise that we will do our best to help them with our experience.
As the Vice President of the Union, I also had this year the pleasure to participate in the Pan-European Sustainable Cities Conference in Hanover as one of the plenary speakers. In my speech I brought up the points of view of CEE cities and emphasised the benefits of local Agenda 21 processes. Among the 1500 participants were also many of you. I do believe that by engaging our cities in European co-operation we can together share and utilise experiences of the whole continent. European integration has many effects on cities, and cities must also have influence on its development. The co-operation of the UBC with the European Sustainable Cities and Towns Campaign has been very beneficial so far, and I am happy that a larger co-operation forum has been created this year for European networks on the initiative of the five networks currently co-ordinating the Campaign. As our organisation is explicitly committed to advancing sustainable development by both its Strategy and Local Agenda 21 Action Program, and more than 70% of our members are working on local Agenda 21, we have good reasons to be involved in developing the Campaign.
I wish all of you Bon Courage with your undertakings also for next year. Many positive developments are taking place in our region. It is the duty and the pleasure of the UBC to be part of the development of the Baltic Sea Region - and to contribute to making it sustainable.
Dr. Eugenijus Gentvilas
UBC Vice President, Mayor of Klaipeda