Environmental management systems

Viable Economies for Baltic Cities

A crucial factor for sustainable development in cities is the economy. At the same time, economic prosperity in longer term is only possible by strongly taking into account and cherishing the environmental and social basis.

This is one of the central ideas of local sustainable development work after Johannesburg. Following the Sustainable Development Summit, local governments all over the world are now putting emphasis on concrete actions for sustainable development. Local agendas are being turned into local actions, and one core theme for Local Action 21 is Viable local economies.

This is also very much the case in the Baltic Sea Region. As practically all UBC members already have their own Local Agenda 21 action program, it is now time to make the actions happen. Many of our cities already work extensively on economic aspects. Now the UBC is going to contribute more to this work. The UBC Agenda 21 Action Program 2004-2009 will be proposed to the General Conference in October in Klaipeda. Many projects of the new program have already been approved by our co-funders, and the total budget will be 6-8 million euros. The emphasis of many activities will be on the economic aspects. The largest project of the new program is the New Hansa of Sustainable Ports and Cities. This project aims at developing sustainable harbour policies with shared environmental standards and practices for all Baltic ports. Remarkable economic and environmental interests meet in ports - so the project will provide an interesting “test-ground” for the Local Action 21.

Baltic Cities are now co-operating on sustainable development more than ever before. However, there is still a long way to go before sustainable development is reached in our cities. On behalf of our secretariat I warmly welcome everyone to join in this shared effort. I also hope that you will enjoy reading this special theme edition on environmental management systems. In the future, every edition of Baltic Cities Environmental Bulletin will put emphasis on one important theme of sustainable urban development.

Risto Veivo
Head of Secretariat UBC Commission on Environment