Interreg has a lot to offer for cities in the region

Interreg has a lot to offer for cities in the region

Screenshot of the webinar participants

On 27 February 2024, our Secretariat had a pleasure of arranging a special edition of the UBC TAKLS webinar series – together with the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme! This webinar focused on funding for innovative and climate-smart cities, presenting the open call for funding and the thematic priorities of the Programme 2021-2027, which has put cities into the core of its activities.

Synergies between UBC members’ ambitions and the regional funding

This UBC TALKS webinar was organised in the light of the third call for funding open within the Interreg BSR Programme. The funding is available for applications tackling challenges under Priority 1 Innovative societies and Priority 3 Climate-neutral societies, and in principle, climate change is at the core of the current funding call.

While many types of organisations are eligible for applying for project funding, it is public authorities that are at the core of the Interreg BSR in the period 2021–2027 – particularly, local authorities.

"We have a specially designed thematic focus that meets even better the needs of public authorities. Our Programme addresses the issues that are of high relevance to all Baltic Sea cities: we want to make them more resilient, and we want to make them greener."
Ronald Lieske, Director of the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme MA/JS

The webinar started with a discussion between UBC and the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme, to highlight the common ground for the challenges that we see in the Baltic Sea Region. The discussion brought together the Interreg Managing Authority/Joint Secretariat with its director Mr Ronald Lieske, the Interreg BSR Monitoring Committee represented by Ms Monika Cholewczyńska-Dmitruk, Marshal’s office of Pomorskie Region, and from UBC SCC side, communications coordinator Mariia Andreeva moderated the discussion.

During this exchange, speakers pointed out the close aims of both organisations in terms of identified challenges. The UBC Sustainability Action Programme 2030 emphasizes 5 core topics to address (water, mobility, energy, biodiversity and resource efficiency) with a horizontal challenge of climate change. Simultaneously, Interreg BSR funding covers almost all of those topical sectors, providing also support for an innovative push and building of capacities.

"This is a long-term investment in the human capital in your organisation on the local level. You can test interesting investment solutions or people-to-people actions."
Monika Cholewczyńska-Dmitruk, Marshal’s office of Pomorskie Region, Monitoring Committee member from Poland

What can cities achieve with this funding?

The webinar offered more concrete guidance into the intricacies of the funding programme by the MA/JS team: Ekaterina Latysheva gave the introduction to the Interreg BSR Programme, and the details of the open funding call objectives were highlighted per topic: Towards More Innovative Cities in BSR by Laura Ligazzolo, and Towards More Climate-Neutral Cities in BSR by Orsolya Schulz.

The webinar also included two project pitches, offering more insights from the point of view of municipalities leading the project cooperation. First, Stine Keiding from the Odense Municipality showcased the Arts on Prescription project, which helps public authorities, cultural and health institutions engage people with mental health challenges in social and non-therapy art activities to improve their mental wellbeing.

Further, Ira Sibelius from UBC SCC/City of Turku shared the information about the SUMPs for BSR project, which helps smaller municipalities develop and apply sustainable urban mobility plans (SUMPs) to encourage shift towards people's active mobility and thus a healthier lifestyle while reducing traffic emissions at the same time.

The webinar was concluded with the details on open call for funding's key dates and upcoming info webinars, presented by Ekaterina Latysheva. Webinar participants were also invited to join the discussions on the future of the Interreg BSR Programme and participate in the ongoing online survey. The stakeholders with experiences of project cooperation are invited to share their feedback until 30 April 2024.

Watch the recording of the UBC TALKS about funding for innovative and climate-smart cities