Special Best City Practises Edition

The General Conference of the Union of the Baltic Cities made a very good decision:in Stockholm: it approved the UBC Local Agenda 21 Action Program. This decision means that work for sustainable development is among the highest priorities of our organisation.

The General Conference delegated the Executive Board to co-ordinate the implementation of the action program, and also officially founded the UBC Local Agenda 21 Working Group. This Working Group is in- tended for wide cross-sectoral participation. From the start with seven participants in the first (unofficial) meeting in 1998, the group has grown to more than 50 participants in the last (fourth) meeting that was organised in Riga in March this year.

The commissions on environment, and health and social affairs, as well as the Women’s Network have been some kind of predecessors in the work for Local Agenda 21 within the UBC. However, for the future success of the work, it is most important that also other commissions would get more actively involved. The working group is open for all commissions and member cities.

One of the most important approaches in the whole Local Agenda 21 Action Program is wide participation of member cities. The program con- tains 16 projects and project ideas, and almost each of these is co-ordinat- ed by a different UBC body or member city. For example, the City of Nacka is co-ordinating a project on Sustainable Demonstration Areas, the Women’s Network is co-ordinating a project on Gender Equality in Agenda 21 Processes, and several Lithuanian member cities have recently been most actively conducting municipal environmental audits (MEAs). UBC member cities are very well motivated to work for Local Agenda 21. According to the results of the UBC LA 21 Survey (1998), over 70% of our members are actively involved in their own Local Agenda 21 process. This number is constantly increasing, and there is a full reason to believe that surprisingly soon almost every single member city may be involved in Local Agenda 21 work.

In these circumstances, it is a real pleasure to work with these cities and with all the active people who are involved. There is a strong feeling that this work is our common interest and the spirit of co-operation is very good. There is so much to be done - and together we also can do a great deal.

Risto Veivo
UBC Environmental Co-ordinator