BACKGROUND: THE COOPERATION BETWEEN UBC AND CDP
Seeing as a key focus of the Union of the Baltic Cities (UBC) work is helping to turn the Baltic cities into climate-smart global leaders, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between CDP and UBC in November 2016. UBC Sustainable Cities Commission has been co-ordinating the cooperation with CDP. CDP is interested in the climate leadership that is found in the Baltic region, wishes to gain new insights, and to expand the coverage of their reporting system. The UBC, on the other hand, has an extensive network of cities looking to take action against climate change and wishes to use the state-of-the-art reporting tool provided by the CDP to gain more qualitative and comparable data for use as the basis of its work. As a result of their co-operation, both organisations, therefore, stand to gain, making it possible to achieve results that they could not achieve on their own.
Our cooperation started in the beginning of 2017 with many meetings in order to define how we were about to reach our UBC member cities and how the final report of our cities would look like. More than 570 cities reported publicly to the CDP in 2017. 128 of these cities are situated in Europe, with 57 from Northern Europe (UBC countries). In 2017, a total of 20 UBC cities, from all UBC countries, reported through the CDP reporting tool. Aarhus from Denmark. Hiiu, Jõhvi, Pärnu, Tartu from Estonia. Espoo, Helsinki, Lahti, Turku from Finland. Greifswald from Germany. Jelgava, Riga from Latvia. Siauliai from Lithuania. Arendal, Kristiansand from Norway. Gdansk, Gdynia from Poland. Malmö, Umeå, Visby from Sweden. In terms of their basic descriptors, the reporting UBC cities vary a lot in terms of profiles (size, geography etc.). The smallest city with a population around 9500 and the largest city with a population around 640 000. Among the cities there are both coastal and non-coastal cities and cities with different circumstances as it comes to closeness to water higher-altitude (126m) and lower (3m).
As the result of the reporting of these 20 active UBC cities, UBC Sustainable Cities Commission created the "Climate Leadership in the Baltic Sea Region Cities" report that was publicly launched during the XIV UBC General Conference in Växjö on 25 October 2017.
In 2018, the ambitious goal was to get up to 50 UBC cities to report to CDP. In order to reach this goal, we at the UBC Sustainable Cities Commission were spreading the word and encouraged our member cities to join the climate efforts - that matched well with UBC's Resolution on United Nations Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development Goals, and especially with the goal of making the Baltic Sea Region more sustainable, attractive and more resilient to challenges in our environment. Sustainability elaborated through active co-operation between cities and innovative companies, third sector and citizens. We did not achieve our goal of 50 UBC cities, yet we grew the number from 20 active cities to 28 active reporting UBC cities. In October 2018, a new agreement for cooperation between UBC and CDP was made for 2019-2021.
The reporting process has been made quicker and easier for the cities who are also reporting via Covenant of Mayors, C40 and/or ICLEI's disclosure platforms. We are delighted that the reporting process has been smoother and more convenient for our member cities. In 2019, our goal was to increase the number of UBC member cities reporting their environmental data via CDP's platform and the quality of responses submitted by our member cities. After the disclosure period, CDP shared the responses by UBC cities with us for further analysis and the report "UBC cities' adaptation actions to extreme weather events" which explored the actions that cities take on a more local perspective. Concrete example have been presented as well as some sources of inspiration. In 2019, we kept the number of reporting cities stable, with 26 UBC cities disclosing their environmental data via CDP.
The year 2020 will be remembered by the fast-spreading Covid-19 virus and the disruption of established everyday routines. Despite the difficult situation, we are happy to announce that the number of disclosing cities not only did not plunge but 2020 disclosure year brought newcomers to the list of disclosing cities (Bergen, Porvoo, Tallinn). This year 7 UBC cities have been able to get into the CDP A-list cities. These cities were awarded for their ambitious work and best results in tackling the impacts of climate change.
2020 became a year of opportunities for the climate action and adaptation related work, which we tried to convey through our new “Scaling up for the next decade – UBC cities leading the way to climate neutrality” report. Considering the success of the previous report we let the cities speak of their actions, ambitions, and initiatives themselves.
We would like to express our gratitude to all 23 UBC cities that stayed committed to reporting their climate action. Being only five years since the historic Paris agreement we are already witnessing great efforts made by cities, and we want to encourage them to keep up the good pace and ramp up their ambitions for the years to come.
#UBCCDP2020 disclosure campaign proved to be successful and we will be looking into the ways to improve our assistance, motivation, and guidance strategies for the upcoming disclosure period this year.
CDP Cities - Europe team offers all the disclosing cities an oportunity to have one-on-one feedback call to benefit the city's next year's disclosure and discuss the possibilities to enhance the responses for the coming disclosure years, if you are interested please contact CDP Cities - Europe team through: citiesEMEA [at] cdp.net . Don't miss this great opportunity.
INSPIRATION AND RESOURCES SUPPORTING OUR MEMBER CITIES THROUGHOUT THE YEARS