Regional representatives from EU-counties signed declaration in Umeå for social sustainability in EU

The 16-17 of September the first EU Social Progress Cities summit took place in Umeå. Region Västerbotten, together with Umeå municipality participate in EU's pilot project SPI Social Progress Index. The purpose is to develop an alternate way of measuring development in comparison to BNP-growth, which is meant to work as a tool for the European Commission. During the conference, a declaration for social sustainability was signed by representatives from different cities and regions.

The project SPI Social Progress Index
Region Västerbotten and Umeå municipality are participating in the European Commission's pilot project working with an index regarding social issues that are to complement traditional measurements of economic development that is normally measured with BNP-growth, employment, or income. It follows the overarching idea of the global social success index, Global Social Progress Index and based on 50 indicators, primarily from Eurostat. 

In 2019 the index was presented as a draft version, and Region Västerbotten and Umeå municipality take part in the project to develop a useful index for social issues for the use of the European Commission. Upper Norrland is the region that performs highest in the EU: s index of social sustainability.

Social Progress Cities Summit in Umeå
North Sweden European office, the European Commission and representatives from cities and regions from multiple EU-countries participated. Janet Ågren, second vice president in Umeå, opened the conference.

- By signing the declarations, we want to influence the EU decision makers to instate an award for the “EU capital of social sustainability”. Social sustainability must be integrated into all political decisions, and should be high on the agenda.

Culture is very important for social development
The importance of diversity of culture and inclusion of citizens to identify needs of cultural activities has been important for the development work in Umeå municipality throughout the years. Partially in the work of becoming culture capital in 2014, but also in the cities continued work in fulfilling the social needs of the municipality inhabitants in order to make Umeå a more attractive location.

During the conference, a declaration of social development was signed by representatives from several European Regions and cities. A growing social development is a process that is most effective and connected with the needs of the citizens on regional and local levels, not on a national level.

Read the declaration here.

Read more on the SPI Social Progress Index on the EU-commission website and see what variables that are a part of the index.

Here you can compare social development between counties with the help of the SPI-index.

/Julia Hanson

North Sweden in the EU

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