Cross-Border Cooperation Congress Lublin 2020
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. The Cross-Border Cooperation Congress Lublin 2020 (formerly known as Eastern Europe Initiatives Congress) focused on COVID-19 and the challenges faced by local communities across Europe during the pandemic.
The Congress was held on 6-9 October 2020 and its predominant theme was ‘Local Government of Tomorrow. Between openness and responsibility’.
Due to the current situation, the event was held in virtual space only, with simultaneous translation into Polish, English, and Russian.
The four days of the Cross-Border Cooperation Congress were 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 was attended by European mayors and city officials and focused on local government’s priorities in the new, post-pandemic reality. In the next days, we paid attention to cultural sector and cultural tourism under new conditions and discussed how to build a city branding through tourism. Then, we switched to the possibilities of sustainable economic development, the limitations of traditionally understood growth, as well as structural changes in a labour market. We looked at the new ‘wave’ of innovation, companies and sectors that have done well in these difficult circumstances. We also analysed social self-organization in the pandemic times, taking into account the situation of migrant communities.
As in previous years, the Congress was accompanied by Partners' Forum in order to facilitate more effective communication and exchange of experiences between organisations seeking international partners. City councillors were invited to a special on-line meeting, devoted to the functioning of local government during the pandemic, and cooperation prospects with partner cities in the future. Grants’ Fair, on the other hand, showcased the opportunities to obtain funds from the selected grant programmes. We also organised Best Practice Contest to promote the initiatives which worked best in local communities amid the pandemic.
The Cross-Border Cooperation Congress Lublin 2020 received a grant from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland under the programe ‘Public Diplomacy 2020 – New Dimension.’ It was held under the honorary patronage of the European Commission Representation Office in Poland. We are also glad that many new partners joined us last year, i.e.: the Association of Ukrainian Cities, the Belarusian organization ‘Twin Towns’ and the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. All Congress events were free of charge, after online registration.
The cultural events, which accompanied the event, were livestreamed on the Congress partners websites.