Policy and advocacy

UBC strives to be an active and reliable network and cooperation partner on a Baltic Sea Region, European and global level, to foster the development of the sustainable and green Baltic Sea Region, promote its member cities on the European level, and follow the global policy developments to build a bridge between the global and local levels of governance.

For more effective advocacy of the UBC cities' interests and increasing the visibility of UBC among European institutions, the UBC Secretary General has established a UBC Antenna in Brussels. The UBC Antenna provides updates on relevant EU policies, assists in building strategic partnerships and improves visibility of UBC in the EU institutions.

Regional cooperation – for the sustainable Baltic Sea Region

The EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region is the guiding strategy for the regional activities and actions, mainstreaming climate change and cooperation with neighbouring non-EU countries as essential elements into all of their 14 policy areas. UBC actively liaises with these strategy policy areas coordinators as well as the communication partners providing the basis for cooperation and partnership. UBC has a long tradition of working closely with the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), the Baltic Sea States Sub-regional Cooperation (BSSSC), VASAB as well as the Nordic Council of Ministers. UBC also has an official observer status to the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM).

With some actors UBC actively collaborates in projects and activities, with others the partnerships are build more on a strategic policy level. At the core is regular exchange and communication, to shape our region together.

  • Council of the Baltic Sea States – CBSS

    CBSS is an intergovernmental political forum for regional cooperation. Consisting of 11 Member States and the European Union, it supports a regional perspective on global challenges. The CBSS functions as a coordinator of a multitude of regional actors in the areas of its three long-term priorities: Regional Identity, Sustainable & Prosperous Region, Safe & Secure Region. UBC SCC is a member of the Expert Group on Sustainable Development. Organisations keep close cooperation related to the project management, event planning and mutual support.

  • Vision and Strategies around the Baltic Sea – VASAB

    VASAB is intergovernmental multilateral co-operation of 10 countries of the Baltic Sea Region in spatial planning and development. It prepares policy options for the territorial development of the Baltic Sea Region and provides a forum for exchange of know-how on spatial planning and development between the Baltic Sea countries. UBC SCC has well-established cooperation with VASAB – working together on sustainability matters on both local (UBC) and transnational level (VASAB) across wide array of activities, such as environment, transport, education, culture, tourism, business development, youth issues, gender equality as well as urban planning.

  • Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission – HELCOM

    HELCOM is an intergovernmental organization and a regional sea convention in the Baltic Sea area, consisting of ten Contracting Parties, namely Denmark, Estonia, the European Union, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden. A platform for environmental policy making at the regional level, HELCOM was established about four decades ago to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution through intergovernmental cooperation. UBC SCC is in a close cooperation with HELCOM, having an observatory status with the body, contributing to the HELCOM work as well as cooperating in joint projects.

European cooperation – bridging the Baltic Sea Region with the rest of Europe

The EU is fighting climate change through ambitious policies at home and in close cooperation with international partners by implementing the ambitious European Green Deal climate action package, and by aiming to become the world’s first climate-neutral continent and a climate-resilient society by 2050. UBC is a respected partner also on European level, both in projects as well as on policy level. UBC actively cooperates with the European Commission and European city networks like Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), Eurocities, Energy Cities and Polis.

UBC is an active support partner for the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy Europe as well as for the Green City Accord and among other initiatives supports the implementation of the overarching EU policies, like the European Green Deal, New European Bauhaus and EU missions, in particular the EU Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities Mission Area.

  • Energy Cities

    Energy Cities is a European City network of over 1000 local governments in 30 countries defending a locally driven energy transition. UBC SCC has been a collective member since 2008 and has cooperated with Energy Cities in several projects.

  • Covenant of Mayors

    The EU Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy brings together thousands of local governments voluntarily committed to implementing EU climate and energy objectives. It was launched in 2008 in Europe with the ambition to gather local governments voluntarily committed to achieving and exceeding the EU climate and energy targets. UBC SCC has been a Covenant of Mayors supporter since 2010 and promoted the initiative actively to its member cities.

  • Green City Accord

    Green City Accord is a movement of European mayors committed to making cities cleaner and healthier. It aims to improve the quality of life for all Europeans and accelerate the implementation of relevant EU environmental laws, addressing five areas of environmental management: air, water, nature and biodiversity, circular economy and waste, and noise. UBC has a supporter status in the Green City Accord and encourages its member cities to join the initiative.

Global cooperation – local activities contributing to the global effort

UBC also follows global policy towards sustainable development: the global UN 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are guiding UBC activities. All UBC commissions take the SDGs into account in their work and a growing number of UBC member cities have engaged in bringing the SDGs into their city strategies and plans. Many UBC cities are also forerunners internationally by having joined the global movement of working with the 2030 Agenda and reviewing the progress of the SDGs on a local level through a Voluntary Local Review process. UBC encourages its member cities to join the movement and report on the progress of the UN 2030 Agenda.

In 2017, UBC started a strategic cooperation with the world’s leading organization on voluntary climate reporting, CDP, and several UBC member cities have shown climate leadership by disclosing their climate related data through CDP and thus contributing to a more sustainable future of the region.

  • CDP running the global disclosure system

    CDP is a not-for-profit charity that runs a global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states and regions to manage their environmental impacts. The strategic cooperation of the UBC – CDP is based on the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2016 and renewed in 2018. Currently, more than 150 cities, 50 states and regions, and 1800 companies in Europe use the system to report, share and take action on climate change every year. UBC and CDP aim to together increase the number of reporting cities in the Baltic Sea Region. In 2016, 6 UBC cities reported to CDP. The number increased to 20 UBC member cities in 2017, and to 28 UBC member cities in 2018. New UBC cities join the disclosure process every year.