6-9 October 2020

ONLINE edition

Thank you for participating in the Congress.
See you next year!

A public task co-funded by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
as part of "Public Diplomacy 2020 – a new dimension" competition

For ten consecutive years in the autumn, Lublin has been a meeting place of cross-border cooperation practitioners from the EU and Eastern Partnership countries.

This year, the Cross-Border Cooperation Congress Lublin 2020 (formerly known as Eastern Europe Initiatives Congress) will focus on COVID-19 and the challenges faced by local communities across Europe during the pandemic.

The Congress will be held on 6-9 October 2020 and its predominant theme is ‘Local Government of Tomorrow. Between openness and responsibility’. Due to the current situation, the event will be held in virtual space only, with simultaneous translation into Polish, English, and Russian.

The four days of the Cross-Border Cooperation Congress will be filled with expert panel discussions and workshops with the participation of eminent European experts such as Charles Landry (Great Britain), Rasmus Wiinstedt Tscherning (Denmark), Marharyta Zhenchuk (Ukraine), Prof. Aleksander Sogomonov (Russia), Krzysztof Czyżewski (Poland). The opening debate will be attended by European mayors and city officials and will focus on local government’s priorities in the new, post-pandemic reality. In the following days, we will pay attention to cultural sector and cultural tourism under new conditions and we will think how to build city branding through tourism. Then, we will discuss the possibilities of sustainable economic development, the limitations of traditionally understood growth, as well as structural changes in the labour market. We will look at the new ‘wave’ of innovation, companies and sectors that have done well in these difficult circumstances. We will also discuss social self-organization in pandemic times taking into account the situation of migrant communities.

As ever, the Congress will be accompanied by Partners' Forum in order to facilitate more effective communication and exchange of experiences between organisations seeking international partners. City councillors are invited to a special on-line meeting devoted to the functioning of local government during the pandemic and cooperation prospects with partner cities in future. Grants’ Fair will showcase opportunities to obtain funds from selected grant programmes. Best Practice Contest will feature solutions that work best when undertaking initiatives to the benefit of local communities and cross-border cooperation in Europe and Eastern Partnership countries amid pandemic. The Congress will be accompanied by livestreamed cultural events.

The Cross-Border Cooperation Congress Lublin 2020 received a grant from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland under ‘Public Diplomacy 2020 – New Dimension’ programme. We are pleased to announce that Cross-Border Cooperation Congress Lublin 2020 will be held under the honorary patronage of The European Commission Representation Office in Poland. We are also glad that many new partners have joined us this year, i.e.: the Association of Ukrainian Cities, the Belarusian organization ‘Twin Towns’ and the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.

All Congress events are free of charge after registration that will be available on the Congress on-line platform. Cultural events will be livestreamed on Congress partners websites.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

For 10 years now, Lublin has been an annual meeting place for cross-border cooperation practitioners from Poland and Europe. When, at the beginning of this year, we started to prepare for the next edition of Cross-Border Cooperation Congress and think about its formula, nobody at that time had imagined that our lives would change so drastically. Just within few weeks we found ourselves in a completely new reality, unknown until now. Covid-19 pandemic has not only fundamentally changed the way we live, work and spend free time but it has also revealed, and sometimes accelerated, numerous processes and changes in the socio-economic situation around us.

Faced with the new circumstances, we have decided not to give up discussing what challenges we will have to face in a world that is changing so dynamically. And this is precisely why we will meet again this year.

I invite you to participate in the Cross-Border Cooperation Congress Lublin 2020. The new and unique edition of this year's event will be held entirely online. The main theme of the Congress is the Local Government of Tomorrow. Between openness and responsibility. During online meetings, panels and workshops we will discuss the most important challenges posed by the current situation to local communities across Europe. We will consider how to maintain the path of development with shrinking resources and a changing climate, how to take into account new conditions for key sectors of city development: business, tourism and culture. We will look at how the changing reality is affecting the social life of both our local communities and our cross-border relationships.

I hope that participation in this unique edition of the Congress will bring you a lot of inspiration and positive impressions. The experience gained and the contacts established will certainly contribute to the strengthening of relations in building and shaping European cooperation both in virtual space and in undertaking joint initiatives and international projects.

Krzysztof Żuk, Ph.D.
Mayor of Lublin

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We stand together at a threshold of transformation. COVID-19 pandemic has thoroughly accelerated and gave those changes new dynamics. Today, we might describe present situation in four words: volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. This is how we feel – this is the reality we have to live in. We wonder what will happen to the economy (how to build it without the necessity of constant growth and without the exploitation of manpower?). How to live in symbiosis with the environment during the climate crisis? How to build inter-human relations in the spirit of solidarity, sensitivity, especially when we want to be together but have to self-isolate? What systems (legal, tax) need to be introduced to stop inequalities? What about work? What about new technologies? What about artificial intelligence? How have local governments coped with the new challenges? What about social solidarity – what kind of citizens have we turned out to be in the face of difficult challenges?

We face such dilemmas. We want to talk about them here in Lublin. As we have done so, for the past 10 years among practitioners of cross-border cooperation. But this year will be a bit different. There will be no personal get-togethers, no shaking hands, no evening walks in the Old Town. But there will be no shortage of fantastic intellectual journeys. This has always been a showcase of Cross-border Cooperation Congress.

Paweł Prokop
Organisation and Programming Committee Chairman, CBCC
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