The Union of Polish Metropolises (UMP) was created on October 11, 1990 by the declaration of Mayors of Gdańsk, Kraków, Poznań, Warszawa and Wrocław as a solidarity forum for metropolitan authorities for endeavours aiming at the creation of network connections of the post-communist cities with democratic cities of Europe and the World, basing on the project No state without the city, launched by the Institute of City.
Initially, the UMP worked as an informal city mayors’ forum. In 1993, the Union of Polish Metropolises was registered as a foundation of member cities and as such was one of the promoters of launching the Joint Committee of the Central Government and Territorial Governments.
At the moment, within the framework of the Union of Polish Metropolises jointly act twelve cities: Białystok, Bydgoszcz, Gdańsk, Katowice, Kraków, Lublin, Łódz, Poznań, Rzeszów, Szczecin, Warszawa and Wrocław.
The Foundation Council comprises the Mayors of Member Cities. The Council appoints the six-person Board with the President, Treasurer and Secretary. The UMP is a forum for the co-operation of mayors, vice-mayors, treasurers, directors of departments, councillors and experts from the twelve Member Cities. Currently, the Chair of the Council is Mrs. Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, Mayor of the Capital City of Warsaw – and the President of the Board is Mr. Rafał Dutkiewicz, Mayor of Wrocław.
The statutory goals of the UMP include:
- supporting the development of territorial and economic self-government;
- building the civic society;
- promoting initiatives and actions aimed at building regional and local structures, especially those emerging in metropolitan areas;
- solving jointly specific problems of large cities;
- cooperating with government agencies and national, foreign and international organisations to enhance the role of metropolises in nation state
- and in the process of European integration.
The representatives of Member Cities work in the twelve committees: Finance, Urban Planning, Environment, Social Care, Education, Culture and Sport, Public Administration, European Funds, Housing, Business and Knowledge, Security and Crisis Management, Civil Society. The Committees prepare positions and statements for the Council and the Board concerning the issues which are most important for self-governing authorities of Polish metropolitan areas. The Union of Polish Metropolises organises seminars, workshops and debates attended by politicians and experts, prepares analyses and studies and publishes materials. In the constant dialogue with the central government and in the co-operation with other Polish national organisations of local and regional authorities, the UMP publishes its opinions on the draft legislation and its representatives take part in the work of parliamentary committees.
The UMP Member Cities co-operate with other European local and regional authorities. Hanna Zdanowska (Mayor of Łódź) represents UMP in the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE) in Strasbourg, and Tadeusz Truskolaski (Mayor of Białystok) represents the UMP in the Committee of the Regions.