Sustainable Cities Bulletin 3/2018

Dear UBC colleagues,

last week IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change came out with an alarming report on the impacts of global warming. The report puts us all in a situation where we need to demand and pursue for urgent changes for sustaining our conditions all over the globe.

For our UBC cities, this is a decisive moment. Urban areas all over the world are key players with respect to climate change. Also majority of our countries inhabitants live in cities that will be with no doubt affected by climate change impacts such as urban and river floods after heavy rain events or heat stress, decreasingly in the future. Climate change is already here, it’s influencing our everyday life. Now it’s time to act in our Baltic Sea Region. What can we do to further increase our ambitions and mitigate more? How do we get the political will?

In the political field we are in the middle of interesting election season. In September Sweden had both local and national elections and in the beginning of October Latvia voted in national elections. The local elections in Poland are held in October-November and Estonia, Lithuania and Finland are preparing for parliamentary elections that will take place in March 2019. EU elections are also coming up in May 2019.

The European Elections are crucial as we are deciding on the direction of EU politics as well as the EU budget. As the EU is stepping into a new programme and funding period, it is important that we and our actions are heard and seen. When it comes to the possibilities to cooperate and build our common future, EU funding is vital for our region. EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and EU funding instruments have also been guiding and supporting the strong development we have in the Baltic Sea Region and in our cities, and we want to keep this improvement continuous.

When it comes to the good development, again several projects and cities have gained great progress. I have witnessed considerable evolution with new tools and methods that support smart urban development. Behind these results, we have skillful and ambitious people working in several cities. Forerunner cities like Riga, Tallinn, Norrtälje, Rostock, Tartu and Turku have allocated a lot of resources for joint ventures and they are in many ways great examples of high level cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region. Let’s keep this spirit up for the future as well!

In addition, I would like to thank the city of Klaipeda for hosting our successful UBC Commission meeting in September. Next time we meet in May 2019 in Jurmala!

Björn Grönholm
Head of Secretariat
Union of the Baltic Cities – Sustainable Cities Commission