Dear UBC colleagues,
The start of the year 2022 has been very turbulent. Our cities have demonstrated their resilience and flexible reaction towards the changing situation with the COVID-19 as the world went into the third year of the pandemic, and we thought that the daily regional life is finally changing back to the better. That was before the 24th of February. Now, we follow the dramatic events of the Russian war in Ukraine, and our thoughts are with the victims of this brutal and unprovoked aggression. In these tragic circumstances, our cities once again demonstrate the empowering solidarity and empathy, standing together against the aggression, and organising support for the refugees.
Cooperation for sustainability in these times is still very important. The climate crisis will not wait for better times but continue exacerbating existing threats to the well-being of our citizens. The impacts of the climate change are far-reaching, but solutions exist, and we need to utilise them better. Developing energy-efficient systems, securing water infrastructures, managing natural resources more efficiently – all these factors remain on the agendas of local authorities, and so are listed in the UBC Sustainability Action Programme 2030. The achievements and progress in local climate actions can already be found in the recently published UBC-CDP report 2021 – and we are happy to invite all our cities to partake in the next reporting round opening already this month for the year 2022. We hope that more UBC member cities join this globally recognised reporting system and benefit form collected data and advice.
In the end of April, we are planning our Commission meeting, finally a face-to-face event. Organised with the hosting City of Greifswald, the event covers several important themes, in which many UBC cities will share their success stories and achievements as well as discuss important projects and new local initiatives on energy-smart solutions in urban construction, sustainable mobility and climate adaptation. The event will also collect new ideas for future projects supporting ambitious sustainability targets set by our cities in the Action Programme 2030. In times of reduced resources for cooperation, the need to reinforce collaborative efforts between cities is greater than ever and so we hope that the meeting in Greifswald will provide an opportunity to initiate many new connections and joint initiatives.
Wishing you interesting reading, a lot of positive energy and a sense of togetherness for the approaching Easter season.
Acting Head of Secretariat
Union of the Baltic Cities Sustainable Cities Commission