In the Union of the Baltic Cities, we have worked together for more than a decade now. During that time, the amount of our members has more than tripled: from 32 founding cities in 1991 to the current number of 101 member cities. There are good reasons for this great interest.
One important factor is, that in our work practical cooperation aiming at mutual benefit has always been essential. We have carried out plenty of projects on exchange of experiences and learnt a lot from each other. We do believe that best solutions can best be learnt from others.
In the Best City Practices (BCP) Project this principle was developed into an art! In good co-operation, five city couples made a benchmarking exercise on good practices, guided by the EnvCom Secretariat. The whole process was carried out with relatively small financial resources. Still the results were excellent and the active input of the participants stunning and invaluable.
Parallelly with the benchmarking activities, we have also run the Best Environmental Practice in Baltic Cities Award. This award has aimed at promotion of good environmental work in the member cities, and at inspiring cities to learn from each other. The other BCP activities have then provided the cities with the possibility to take the next steps by starting practical guided work with each other.
The financial resources for the project, in addition to the participants and the UBC, were provided by the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM). The co-funding of the NCM played a critical role in enabling the project. In addition, the award grants have been funded by the Per Aarsleff A/S Company. I am sure that all participants share the gratitude for these important contributions.
In this report, the results of the BCP benchmarking exercises will be presented, as well as the good practices that took part in the latest Best Environmental Practice in Baltic Cities Award. I hope that the report will be inspiring reading for you.